After a landmark inquest, nine-year-old Lewisham local Ella Kissi-Debrah became the first person in the UK to have air pollution ruled as her cause of death. The girl had been exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution for all of her short life, and with her are millions of other Londoners. Ella was the first, but unless action is taken, she will likely not be the last.
The UK has had a problem with air pollution ever since the industrial revolution. The current government called it “the biggest environmental threat” they face, with between 28,000 and 36,000 of UK deaths attributable to long-term exposure to dangerous levels of pollution. While emissions have been decreasing over the past years, they are still way too high. In early March 2021, the EU court ruled that Britain had “systemically and persistently” failed to tackle nitrogen dioxide emissions across the country. It’s time for the UK to take action and ensure all their citizens breathe in clean air.
This week, EastLondonLines investigates the air quality in your borough. We interview local residents about their concerns; we meet the campaigners who are fighting for cleaner air; check what your councils are doing and explore how each of us can make a difference.
Wednesday, 14 April
Air pollution: your questions answered
This is your simplified guide to understanding air pollution and is everything you need to know before embarking on our series.
How clean is the air in your borough?
Millions of Londoners are being exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. What is your borough doing to improve air quality and is it enough?
Thursday, 15 April
Mother Earth: the parents fighting air pollution in London
Sick of smog-filled school commutes and coughing children, these parents-turned-activists are taking matters into their own hands.
Why access to clean air is a social justice issue
People from low socioeconomic backgrounds and people of colour are unequally exposed to air pollution in London. Meet the local activists fighting for health equality.
Friday, 16 April
Eight ways to fight air pollution from your doorstep
Want to lower your carbon contribution to the planet, but not sure how? Here is a list of easy ways to combat air pollution in your daily life and local area.