Air in Lewisham contains 0.8 per cent more nitrogen dioxide than required by the Government’s Air Quality Strategy according to figures released by the London Air Quality network this year.
Increased levels of this pollutant can cause devastating effects to resident’s health, with children and those with pre-existent health conditions like asthma being some of the most effected. Effects of long term exposure can include decreased lung-function and high-susceptibility to acute bronchitis, coughs and bringing up phlegm.
With 690,000 asthma sufferers in London, many people are calling for urgent action from the government to improve the quality of air in the borough.
A research project led by Goldsmiths University’s Citizen Sense group last year revealed that toxic particle levels in south-east London are six times higher than world limits.
Matthew Robinson, an asthma sufferer living in New Cross, explained his experience with worsening health due to the pollution levels: “Since moving to London from Coventry I have noticed my breathing significantly worsening.”
“I feel myself using my inhaler more and becoming out of breath more rapidly when walking or running long distances” says Matthew.
Last year, Mayor Sadiq Khan said high temperatures combined with the capital’s “toxic air, a lack of cloud cover and emissions travelling from the continent” meant pollution would hit high levels.
Vulnerable citizens were advised to avoid strenuous physical exercise, a hard ask in the fast-paced capital.
With previous research from charity Asthma UK finding that there has been a 20 per cent increase in deaths due to the condition in five years, air pollution being linked to 40,000 of those.