Society

High London Pollution Levels May Be Harmful To Babies

| by Sam Gravity

London parents were advised to “take care” when taking their babies outside on Dec. 1 due to toxic levels of air pollution.

The warning came from urban environment forecaster Plume Labs, which predicted the level of air pollution to be “high” on Dec. 1 based on World Health Organization limits, according to The Evening Standard.

Monitoring hourly “high” readings, Plume Labs’ advised parents to “take care” when bringing infants outside in London or participating in outdoor sports and to “take it easy” when cycling or eating outdoors. Plume’s chief executive, Romain Lacombe, said in a statement:

”We are not saying that you should not go out with your baby … We are advising to avoid major roads and high traffic areas.”

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Londoners without breathing difficulties or not engaging in strenuous activity were instructed to ”enjoy your usual outdoor activities.”

London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has chosen to put up warnings for pollution levels throughout London: displaying alerts at bus stops, Tube stations, and road signs with instructions for cars to switch engines off when stationary to reduce emissions, The Sun reports.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said the warning is expected to come to a close on Dec. 2, though the issue will be ”under close review.”

Jenny Bates, a Friends Of The Earth air pollution campaigner, has said the Mayor’s response to fog is unfair to London’s citizens, and ”the first step (in a solution to smog) should be restricting traffic, not people.”

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“It’s outrageous that those with vulnerable lungs, including children and the elderly, are told to stay at home when the air is bad” Bates reported. “Everyone should be able to go about their business, without being afraid of their air they breathe.”

Environmentalists in the UK have expressed concerns that after Brexit, the government may abandon EU pollution limits reducing smog. But Transport Secretary Chris Grayling rejected environmental fears at the Commons environmental audit committee, anticipating ministers will not “water down” air quality rules.

“I cannot conceive of this Government or a successor government wanting to water down air quality standards.” Grayling said. “We all now recognize that there is a very real issue.”

Almost 9,500 people in London die from overexposure to pollution per year, according to the Guardian, more than twice as previously thought.

The smog warning on Dec. 1 occurred the same day Nice, the UK government’s independent health advisers, proposed that councils in England should be given powers to set up clean-air zones.

Sources: The Evening Standard, The SunThe Guardian / Photo credit: Neil Lancefield/The Mirror

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