A group of vigilante mums are so annoyed about toxic air pollution they’ve taken to the streets with their kids to protest.
A pavement art campaign has been launched by clean air campaign group Mums for Lungs in areas of London with harmful levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO 2 ).
The stencils, which read ‘illegal air pollution recorded here’, point to 15 air quality monitors that recorded illegal levels of NO 2 in 2020 – a pollutant mainly from diesel vehicles that can trigger asthma attacks and cause reduced lung function in children.
The represent the group’s latest response to repeated Government failures in reducing pollution below legal limits – targets that were set in 2000 with a goal of being met in 2005.
The Government has aimed to combat air pollution in the capital with the introduction of the ULEZ Zone – an area of London where the capital’s most polluting vehicles are charged a fee to drive.
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The zone currently only occupies areas of Central London but is set to expand to much of London’s inner city by October 25.
In spite of this, Mum for Lungs say that the expansion will still exclude some of the most highly polluted areas such as Kingston and Merton and so are calling on the Government to abide by set targets and ‘protect children’s lungs’.
“Illegal levels of air pollution are a huge health concern, and the new ULEZ will split Ealing in half,” said Kate Crossland, a local parent and palliative care doctor living near the illegally polluted Hanger Lane Gyratory site in Ealing.
“It can’t be right that some children will be protected and some won’t. We need our politicians to act to protect all our children.”
The group have also highlighted racial inequalities surrounding the issue as previous research shows that NO 2 pollution is on average 24-31% higher in areas where people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds are most likely to live.
“Without further action, there is a great risk that some London communities will be left behind”, said Elizabeth Fonseca, Senior Air Quality Manager for Environmental Defense Fund Europe.
“London still fails to meet legal levels of NO 2 air pollution, meaning children are continuing to grow up breathing toxic air.
“Data at these individual monitoring sites only provides a tiny part of the wider picture. Modelling clearly shows that many areas across London are continuing to exceed legal limits, including those outside the bounds of the ULEZ expansion.”
Transport for London did report a reduction in pollution levels during the pandemic last year, however it also noted that the levels quickly began to bounce back toward the latter half of the year.
Mums for Lungs is determined to spread the information to other Londoners and remain poised to continue actions into the year.