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London is the 18th most polluted city in the world

Sadiq says we need to take ‘urgent action’ to improve the capital’s air quality

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence

There’s even more bad news for the greatest city in the world. On top of a renting crisis, continual rail/bus/tube/tram strikes and the encroaching doom of widespread gentrification, our air is also incredibly polluted. In fact, London has just been ranked the eighteenth most polluted city in the world.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: ‘London has been ranked the 18th most polluted city in the world based on air quality, light pollution & traffic congestion. That’s nothing to be proud of, and we need to act.

‘We’ve had amazing success in reducing the harmful impacts of air pollution in inner London. However, thousands of people in outer London continue to breathe toxic air. Urgent action is still required to protect families. We need to go further and much faster.’

Under Sadiq’s current plans for improving air quality, the goal is to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the capital by 2030. A major part of this plan is the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), as well as the somewhat divisive Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). Sadiq announced in March his plans to expand the ULEZ to cover all of Greater London by the end of 2023.

A study has revealed this week that toxic city air disproportionately affects people of colour and those from low-income backgrounds. Research by Friends of the Earth, using government data, found that minority ethnic people are three times more likely to live in high-air-pollution neighbourhoods, of which London has many. The study took into account areas where average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or small particulate matter (PM2.5) were double World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

In 2020, nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah from Lewisham, who died back in 2013, became the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.

Let’s hope Sadiq’s measures start to drastically improve air quality before we all have to move to Mars. Or 

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