London's pollution problem is hardly a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The evidence is right there in our smoggy streets, and in every central London jog that ends with a blackened tissue sneeze. January has been a catastrophic month for the city's pollution levels. Just five days into 2017, the city had breached its annual air pollution limits. This news was swiftly followed by a three-day London toxic air alert from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who deemed the situation a ‘public health emergency’.
Now you can see this reality for yourself using the AirView app, launched by Swedish air purification experts Blueair. Just type in your postcode, and you can track the levels of sulphur dioxide, emission particles and industrial pollutants that you’re breathing in each day.
The app uses monitoring stations across the city to capture results and assess the air quality in each borough. According to AirView, Oxford Street – which was listed on Labour’s ‘Toxic Twenty’ list of high-pollution areas – shows an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 55. Though this rating is ‘moderate’ the pollution level can still pose a risk to sensitive groups: children, the elderly and those with lung diseases.
Here's hoping Sadiq’s pledge of £875 million to help combat London’s air pollution will help us breathe a little easier, because right now the app makes London's pollution problem look pretty bleak.
On the plus side, Sadiq Khan is creating 'green zones' for buses to reduce pollution.