Parents take action against air pollution in Lewisham with weekly protests

Parents protest by the Lewisham Way war memorial pic: @MyattAir Twitter

Concerned Lewisham parents are staging weekly 10-minute protests on Lewisham Way in a bid to raise awareness about their fight for cleaner air in the borough.

The parent’s group Cleaner Air Lewisham want what they describe as small acts of agitation to register their protest against increasing levels of toxic air within South London.

Martin, a campaigner and parent, said pollutants were really impacting the community.

He added: “I cannot believe nor accept that we are destroying our planet on so many levels; carbon dioxide emissions, methane emissions, depletion of drinkable water, loss of topsoil, deforestation, plastic pollution are just some of the issues we face in this day and age.

“The convenience of driving a car in London comes at a cost of between 25 and 180 people per day dying prematurely in our city from illnesses linked to air pollution.”

Fellow campaigners Marie and Patty also said they noticed the poor air quality during their daily school runs. 

The 10-minute protests are designed to get people engaged pic: @MyattAir Twitter

Marie, a mother of two who previously lived on Lewisham Way, said: “My son began suffocating and wheezing at the age of two.

“The effects of living on a busy road were obviously clear to see. Most of us (parents/carers) walk our children every day to school. We are concerned about their health and the poor air quality they have to endure. It’s not a choice, it is something we have to live with at the moment.” 

Patty added: “You cannot breathe walking on Lewisham Way. We had seen enough statistics and numbers, we decided to take direct action to make the problem more visible in real life.

“Ten minutes a week to protest is nothing in comparison to our children’s health. Lewisham is considered to have one of the highest levels of air pollution in the UK. This is due to its location. “

Protesters say doing the school run has become a trial pic: @MyattAir Twitter

Statistics released in January 2020 issued by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggested that East and central London were the worst areas hit by high levels of persisting pollution. During this period DEFRA recommended that children and adults suffering from respiratory or heart-related conditions, restrained from physical or strenuous activities that could have worsened their symptoms. 

Larger cities and towns were also places noted to have been affected by increasing levels of unclean air. According to new studies, pollutants are still the most harmful risk to public health, with more than forty thousand deaths attributed to air pollution per year alone. 

It is said that 5.8 million vehicles travel through London a day, with cars emitting the most harmful pollutants made up of rubber and metal particles. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, announced his commitment to making buses zero-emission by 2030 on Friday, this comes as concerns on health and links to premature deaths have notably been increasing over the last couple of years.

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