Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, called for an Air Quality Action Plan in Tower Hamlets today after a recent visit to the borough’s air pollution hotspots.
Lambert said: “Tower Hamlets urgently needs an Air Quality Action Plan.” In the last year 71 people have died from air pollution in Tower Hamlets alone and 4,000 deaths were recorded as caused by the issue over London as a whole, a figure that experts argue is absolutely preventable.
Lambert believes that a lack of public understanding of the risks is a large part of the problem that causes such a high number of tragic deaths. “People are surprised to learn that just last month the World Health Organisation classified air pollution as a significant cause of lung cancer”, she explained, “every one of these 71 victims was somebody’s father, mother, son or daughter.”
In September, Green Party member Jenny Jones presented data to the London Assembly showing Tower Hamlets to be 97% over the European Limit for air pollution. Lambert believes that Major of London Boris Johnson, rather than trying to solve the problem, is trying to cover it up.
“He has sought to water down EU safety legislation” she says “The Government insists that London cannot meet NO2 safety limits until 2025, but is failing to properly fund and implement necessary anti-pollution measures.”
Lambert insists that immediate local change could however make a big difference to the problem. Through the implementation of Air Quality Action Plans and viewing air pollution as a public health issue she believes that we can fight against the “silent killer” and “bring the number of these tragic cases down”.
Read here ELL’s reports on the Green Party calling for air pollution masks to be worn by children in Tower Hamlets and high pollution levels during the Olympics.