Pollution levels and air quality in London has been a long-standing issue and the topic of various government policies over recent years, but the problem may be hitting closer to home as statistics of pollution levels in Redbridge unveil a worrying cause for concern and need for immediate action.

According to London Air, a website developed by King’s College London providing annual and live statistics of pollution levels throughout London, Garner Close in Redbridge has failed to achieve objectives set by Air Quality Strategy (AQS) for 2017. The area, along with all of London, is expected to maintain an annual Nitrogen Dioxide emission target of 40ug/m³ or below, however according to the site Garner Close has emitted a reported 44ug/m³. This may appear to be an insignificant margin of failure but it contributes to the unsatisfactory state of London’s air quality which has potential to be detrimental to health.

According to London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, Ilford High Road also fails to meet annual mean pollution objectives, emitting 70+ug/ms³ of Nitrogen Dioxide annually based on 2013 measurements. King’s College London have also reported that 9,416 early deaths in 2010 were caused in London as a result of pollutants nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 (a form of atmospheric particulate matter), I asked residents of Redbridge whether they had any immediate concerns for their health. Joyce, 51 responded, “I didn’t realise that the area I live in exceeds set standards and that so many were killed each year by these sorts of issues. I guess in that sense I am now more concerned and will continue to make use of public transport and other methods that can reduce the negative impact I have on my area and hopefully benefit my health in the process”.

If Redbridge stand any chance of reducing our negative environmental practices, action needs to be taken now as Air Quality Index statistics showed that concentration of particulate matter on January 23rd of this year exceeded that of the notoriously polluted Beijing’s by 7 micrograms per m³. It’s time to either change our practices for the purpose of our health or start gearing up and sporting pollution masks.

Serena Roberts Lawson, Ursuline Academy Ilford