Environmental group Ealing Friends of the Earth write of their concern that pollution levels in Ealing are rising and the actions they support to tackle it.
“Is your throat sore or your asthma worse? If so, you don’t need to look far for the culprit. The Mayor of London issued an air pollution alert on Saturday as the number of the toxic fine particles in our air, soared over the weekend. The World Health Organisation (WHO), recently adjusted down the ‘safe’ limit for these particles (known as PM2.5) from 10ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) to 5. So what were the levels in Ealing? One of our supporters decided to find out.
“I bought a PM2.5 meter some years back after being diagnosed with asthma, which the consultant told me was almost certainly caused by London’s bad air.
When the air felt so bad on Sunday, I stepped outside with the meter and immediately got readings of over 60ug/m3 everywhere I went.
I checked again in the evening and it was even worse: 124. I’ve never seen it so high: it was an ‘air-pocalypse’. Today [Tuesday] it’s back down to a more normal level of 22.”
“The readings taken by our supporter are fairly consistent with reports from professional monitoring services, one of which was giving the PM2.5 level as 89ug/m3 on Sunday evening. We’ve been breathing air 10 or 20 times over the WHO limit. Even today’s ‘normal’ is more than 4 times over.
“The PM2.5 pollution comes mainly from traffic. Log and coal fires add to the toxic brew. The particles are so small that they penetrate deep into the body, causing a range of serious diseases.
“For this reason Ealing Friends of the Earth believe it’s in the interests of Ealing residents to support the plans to expand the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone): even though it’s trouble and expense to change a car, it is doable and there’s a scrappage scheme. Sadly there’s no scrappage scheme for our hearts or lungs, unless you count the undertaker.
“Similarly we are backing local measures by Ealing Council to limit traffic around schools and encourage drivers to switch off engines when stationary. And if you are thinking of installing a log fire, please don’t think twice, think once, keep your cash, and don’t do it! Wood smoke may smell nice but is just as bad for our lungs as tobacco smoke and probably worse.
“There is an Ealing Council consultation on air quality which ends on 30 January 2023. To participate, click here.
“There is also information about air quality on the national UK Friends of the Earth website.”