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Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a London pollution monitor

Danielle Goldstein

...according to Gary Fuller, 52.

Leaving London could lengthen your life

‘At King’s College London we estimate that air pollution in the capital is responsible for around 9,500 extra deaths per year. The average Londoner, exposed to the pollution we have now, would lose about nine months from particle pollution and up to 16 months from nitrogen dioxide. That’s four-and-a-half hours of life loss for each week you live in the capital!’

Woodburners are a dangerous trend

‘Watch an episode of “Grand Designs” and you’ll see a woodburner somewhere. It’s a lifestyle thing that’s making a large contribution to air pollution in towns throughout the UK, especially London. Even the most modern, eco-based woodburner would still be equivalent to running six heavy goods vehicles up and down your road.’

Zone 1 isn’t necessarily the worst

‘Some of the most polluted areas we’ve had in recent years aren’t where people might have thought they’d be. Putney High Street and Brixton Road, for instance, have had real problems with nitrogen dioxide. They’re on arterial routes, with lots of buses and heavy goods vehicles and high-sided buildings, so the pollution can’t escape.’

A face mask won’t protect you

‘There’s not much evidence that masks work. Even if the filter material is good, putting it loosely on your face will do very little to reduce your exposure. But should we be wearing masks to reduce the bad air we breathe? No. We should be taking action to persuade the people who produce the pollution to produce less of it.’

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