Dementia and Dioxides: The Double Whammy

, 09 January 2017, Tags:

 

The new year has brought two shocking news stories to heighten health worries over London’s air pollution. One study suggests a link between heavy traffic and dementia, while the city’s pollution has been shown to be worsening, breaching annual legal limits only five days into 2017 – three days earlier than last year.

Research findings suggesting that people living near busy roads have an increased dementia risk have stirred concerns over pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulates. Experts have not yet found the precise dementia link, but earlier studies showed air pollution can penetrate brain tissue.

Meanwhile, the nitrogen dioxide limit for the whole year was broken in Brixton Road, Lambeth, on January 5. Monitoring stations are allowed to exceed EU hourly limits 18 times a year. Brixton Road’s monitor soon reached 19 breaches. Several other London roads are not far behind.

Residents of Waltham Forest and Redbridge – criss-crossed with busy highways, including the A12, M11 and North Circular – will also be rightly alarmed, as the North Circular was named London's most polluted road in a study carried out for the previous mayor, with the Walthamstow section of the road coming top in 4 out of 5 pollutants measured.

London’s mayor promises a clean-up and is considering bringing in an expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone before 2020. Many people say this is not enough. We need a much quicker widening of the ULEZ, preferably across the whole metropolis, a ban on highly polluting diesel engines, a scrappage scheme for dirty vehicles, more green energy incentives and a new Clean Air Act to clamp down on 21st century grime.

Glyn Roberts
Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party

 

 

 

 

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