Thursday, April 04, 2019

London's Dangerous Air

A new London Air Quality map reveals that anyone who lives or works in central London is breathing air which is dangerous to their health. The map visualizes the most recent London wide modelling of air pollution undertaken in 2016 and reveals a very worrying picture about the quality of the air being breathed in the nation's capital.

The European Union's air quality directive (2008/EC/50) states that the annual NO2 mean value may not exceed 40 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3). The London Air Quality map reveals that nowhere in central London was below that level in 2016. On the map the pale yellow color indicates where the annual mean value of NO2 rises over 40 micrograms per cubic metre. In other words only the areas colored in green recorded a level that met the EU's annual limit values for the protection of human health. None of those areas are in central London.

The London Air Quality map also includes information on some of the measures being introduced by the Mayor's office, which are designed to improve the quality of London's air. These measures include the Low Emission Zone, introduced this month, and its planned expansion in 2012. Parents may be particularly interested in the map layer which shows the schools & nurseries exceeding the NO2 legal limit. Even many schools outside that permanently dangerous inner-London zone have recorded NO2 levels above the legal limit.

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