On the 27th of July, we took to the streets of the capital with a performance aimed to raise awareness about air quality in London. We moved from Oxford Circus to Piccadily Circus, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Stratford Station. These parts of London are some of the most polluted in the city. We talked to the people, spread information and made friends.
Why? Because we read in a recent study by King’s College London that Oxford Street was, at one point in 2013, the most polluted street in the world in terms of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)!1
ESC said: what?! And we began to do a bit of research out there. What we found is more than worrying.
Pollutants contribute to 29,000 deaths in the UK a year 2 exacerbating underlying health problems, including respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular conditions.
The British citizen has their life expectancy shortened by six months because of long-term exposure to pollutants caused by car exhausts, industry and domestic energy use, according to Public Health England. 2
How bad is the situation? The UK government faces potential fines of £300 million a year for exceeding the EU’s nitrogen dioxide pollution limit since 2010 (European Commission – IP/14/154 20/02/2014). 3 And we will continue to exceed it until 2030, according to government figures! 4
The UK Supreme Court has declared that air pollution limits are regularly exceeded in 16 zones across the UK. The areas affected are Greater London, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Teesside, the Potteries, Hull, Southampton, Glasgow, the East, the South East, the East Midlands, Merseyside, Yorkshire & Humberside, the West Midlands, and the North East. 3
Do you know the beautiful red colour of our sunset? Well, that is the colour of pollution: the redder the sunset, the more nitrogen dioxide in the air!
So what do we do? Do we accept it? Do we move? Or do we take action?
You can take action!
- Write to your MP at www.writetothem.com.
- Tweet to Boris Johnson @MayorOfLondon and #askBoris to take action!
After all, we cannot buy clean air in a bottle!
Here is the video
… and here the photos from our event.