London at the center of alarming pollution report

World Today

A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) says pollution poses a greater global threat than Ebola or HIV.

The U.N. body blames air pollution and contaminated water for the deaths of one-in-four children under the age of five.

CGTN’s Richard Bestic reports on the challenges facing one of Europe’s busiest cities.

London at the center of alarming pollution report

A new report by the World Health Organization says pollution poses a greater global threat than Ebola or HIV. A King’s College study found more than 9,000 people in London die prematurely every year due to air pollution.

A deadly haze is the cost consequence the U.K. capital suffers in its role as Britain’s paramount political and financial center.

It’s down at ground level that people pay the price. A King’s College study found more than 9,000 people in London die prematurely every year due to air pollution.

According to Client Earth, an environmental lobby group, London’s air often breaches international law.

“Air pollution is impacting our lives throughout our life term. So, from when we’re in the womb it can cause premature births. As we’re growing up, children are growing up with smaller lung capacity, which is going to affect their health into adulthood and then as we’re adults and older people, there’s an increased risk of developing things like cancer and also the problems with respiratory and heart conditions,” Andrea Lee, Client Earth Clean Air Campaigner said.

According to figures from City Hall, toxic air exceeds legal limits at more than 400 schools across London.

In large part, drivers and their vehicles on the capital’s congested roads is the cause of what’s described as London’s air pollution crisis.

The boss of a local firm making protective masks says London traffic is never ending. “London is a medieval city with a 21st century challenge and that requires a lot of work from government, civil society and NGO’s working together to solve the problem,” Chris Dobbin, Chief Executive of Cambridge Mask Co said.

Later this year, London mayor Sadiq Khan plans a new $15 dollar penalty for every polluting vehicle that enters the city.
He’s calling it a ‘T-charge’ or ‘toxicity charge,’ to raise an estimated three million dollars per month.

It’s the dirty diesel that’ll be hit by the mayor’s tax, but even Khan admits his T-charge won’t be enough. He’s calling on central government to introduce new ‘clean air’ laws, which he says would save people from what he calls an “air quality crisis.”