According to the World Health Organization, 9 in 10 citizens around the world breathe dirty air.
The UK is on track to miss a whole range of environmental targets in the early 2020s, including many that are legally binding and come from the EU, with air pollution being the most prominent failure, according to an analysis by Unearthed and the Financial Times.
However, there is increased support from the British public for the introduction of legally binding air pollution targets, which match WHO guidelines. According to a YouGov survey by ClientEarth, two-thirds of those surveyed want to see this happen.
An increased awareness of this issue along with multiple initiatives across the UK give hope for cleaner air in 2020 and beyond.
London is also part of a global initiative, the C40, a network of cities that have pledged to transition to fossil-fuel-free streets by procuring with their partners zero-emission buses by 2025 and ensuring a vast area of their cities are zero emission zones by 2030.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said: “In London, we have launched the world’s first ultra-low emission zone, expanded our air quality monitoring network and taken ambitious steps to electrify and expand public transport. After the first four months of ULEZ, more than 75 per cent of vehicles in central London now meet these tough standards”.
According to one report nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in London have been cut by a third.
And Breathe London, is a year-long, multi-partner project funded by C40 cities and The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, combining state-of-the-art technology with new data analytics to better understand Londoners’ exposure to air pollution.
They measure harmful pollution at locations across the city and informs data-driven solutions to clean up dirty air with a network of 100 sensor pods throughout London, constantly measuring air quality.
Dr Gary Fuller from King’s College said: “London has been at the cutting edge of air pollution research in the UK for over two decades, new Euro VI buses have already eroded the massive concentrations seen along some roads. On London’s Brixton Road nitrogen dioxide has reduced by a third. It’s a similar picture on Putney High Street and the once infamous Oxford Street. Improvements were also registered in Brighton’s low emission zone.”
And central government is also making steps. The new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will ensure the UK government will maintain green credentials once we leave the EU, scrutinising all government policy in order to help the government reduce UK emissions and implement its Road to Zero strategy.
The post was published at standard.co.uk