Lewisham mother demands investigation into pollution

Pic: David Holt / Flickr

Pic: David Holt / Flickr

A Lewisham mother wants an investigation opened to determine whether her daughter’s death was caused by London’s polluted air.

Ella Kissi-Debrah, aged nine, from Hither Green died in February 2013 from an asthma attack.

Three years later, her mother, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, plans to take Lewisham council and the mayor of London’s office to court for failing to keep air pollution at safe levels near their Lewisham home.

She is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to children — including her son Robert — whose lives “remain at risk”.

Jocelyn Cockburn, a human rights lawyer working with the family, said: “Article 2 of the Human Rights Act requires government bodies to take reasonable steps to protect those such as Ella from the effects of air pollution if they are aware, or should be, that it poses a real and immediate risk to their lives.”

Tower Hamlets was recently ranked one of the most polluted boroughs in London. The average pollution levels were found to be 70 percent higher than limits set down by European Union regulation.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has vowed to take action after reports show that people living in London’s most deprived areas are twice as likely to die of lung cancer, asthma and other lung diseases than those in wealthier areas.

He said: “I would like to extend my condolences to Ella’s friends and family. Her death is truly tragic.

“I am determined to get to grips with air quality, something that has not been a high enough priority until now. I was elected with a mandate to tackle London’s dangerously polluted air and make sure that breathing clean air is a right, not a privilege.”

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