The new Breathe Better Together web pages are full of information about the sources of air pollution, the effect it can have your health and how to keep up to date with the latest air quality information.
Air pollution in London
Around half of London’s air pollution is caused by road traffic. The most dangerous pollutants are small particles (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) produced when burning fossil fuels. Diesel vehicles are by far the worst emitters but petrol vehicles and gas in our boilers and cookers cause them too.
London’s air has improved in recent years. However, we’re still breaching EU legal limits for NO2 in many places, and levels of particulate matter are above World Health Organisation recommended limits in some places.
What can you do to protect yourself?
There are some really simple ways to reduce your exposure to pollution:
- Walk or cycle short journeys. You’ll help to reduce London’s pollution, and studies show you’ll reduce your own exposure too, as pollution is worse in a car.
- Always switch off your engine when stationary. It’s better for the environment and saves fuel.
- Use backstreets when you walk or cycle if possible – this can reduce your exposure to pollution by up to 50 per cent. You can find suitable route options on Google Maps and the walk4life website.
- Use the side of the pavement furthest from the kerb if you’re walking on a busy road. It can significantly reduce your exposure.
Sign up for free alerts on high pollution days
Between three and eight times a year, London’s air pollution is particularly high. On these days, you can protect yourself and others by avoiding the car and using backstreets to walk and cycle instead. Simply fill in the online form to receive updates by email, text or voice message.
For more information, visit the Breathe Better Together webpages.