Today's high levels of pollution are caused by cold air trapping traffic and other emissions that are normally dispersed. Those with heart and lung problems and older people have been warned to avoid strenuous activity but even people without obvious health problems should be careful if they start to cough or get a sore throat.
Levels in the centre of London are expected to hit 10, a high not seen since March 2018. It is expected to fall tomorrow
More about the level meanings here
Air pollution levels can be checked via postcode here
Thanks for the warning Liz.
I'm a bit puzzled though as the two links show very differently coloured/graded pollution maps.
For me - and probably many others on HoL - this problem seems to link with a wider refusal to take air - and lungs damage -more seriously.
The first link shows the map on the day of the air pollution crisis on Jan 14th and the second is the situation today which shows air pollution to be at level 3 (which some might say isn't exactly comforting). The second link allows you to check daily what the levels are, however, it should be said that the monitors aren't near roads (there is one in Priory Park, for example) so levels near main roads like Green Lanes, Tottenham High Road, Seven Sisters are likely to be much higher than indicated.
The problem of air pollution is a very large public health issue in London. It shortens the lives of Londoners, leading to up to 9,400 extra deaths per year (source: London Air). It is invisible and linked to our comfortable lifestyles (car emissions, wood burners, charcoal burning restaurants, even the seemingly harmless things in our households like air fresheners, fireworks) so we don't feel any urgent need to address them, since it means giving up things that we enjoy. Winter often gives people a false sense of security since you can often see summer smogs but not winter ones, yet the combination of emissions, cold weather and the prevalence of respiratory illnesses in winter make them just as dangerous.
As philosopher David Abram says:
It does seem to me that one very interesting way of looking at climate change is to recognize that climate change is the simple consequence of forgetting the holiness of the invisible medium and beginning to treat it as just empty space. Because it’s invisible, we have in the modern context come to assume that there’s nothing very meaningful there. We can’t see it, so it’s just a void. And so, it’s a perfect place to toss everything we want to avoid. All the toxic by-products of our industries—we can just toss them into the invisible air. And whatever dissipates as smoke and dissolves into the invisible—we think “out of sight, out of mind.” We’ve been treating the air as a convenient dumpsite or an open sewer for our industrial wastes.
What are the council doing about wood burning stoves? These are an air pollution crime IMO in our borough and easy to ban. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/17/wood-burners-ur...
As with insulation regs, there seems to be a shortfall in standards, and there is no time to give a 'a nice warm glowing fireplace' the benefit of the doubt while we cough outside.
Haringey should ban wood burners until there is evidence to show they are not polluting.
As for the point on climate change. This is a red herring for air pollution sometimes. Carbon drove the diesel car subsidies at the expense of local air quality. I see the same with wood burners but worse.
First, thanks Liz. My eyes aren't so good these days.
Second may I please suggest, Dan, that if you haven't already done so, you also send your comments on air pollution directly to all councillors. Some may read HoL regularly. My suspicion is that most do not.
In addition you may consider amending your councillor email lists to add the new candidates - as and when we get to hear who they are.
The advice I got when I became a councillor (last century) was that it takes up to two years to get up-to-speed on how things work. Whether that's now better (or maybe worse?) plainly there are some urgent issues where we haven't got any time to waste. Damage to health being one of them. Making the invisible "real" is another.
So the earlier the better for residents to get to know and try to persuade existing councillors and those newly elected in May.