Grey plaques mimicking the blue ones installed by English Heritage have been popping around London – to highlight areas in the capital where high pollution levels threaten public health.
The campaign installing the plaques is called ‘London’s Choking’ and is putting them onto streets and houses where pollution is at its highest and NO2 levels regularly reach levels that are dangerous to human health. NO2 levels are predominantly thought to come from diesel traffic.
Joe Dennett and Rob Donaldson are the men behind the idea, and say they’re looking to raise awareness of the ‘invisible threat’ with the public, saying: “It is an issue which Londoners are becoming more aware of, and which we have become increasingly concerned about. But we realised a lot of people were not aware of where pollution levels are high because you cannot see the pollution, it’s quite nebulous. We wanted to try and create awareness and anger about it at grass roots and to come up with something that would identify the air pollution.”
The first of the plaques was installed on Brixton Road and featured a skull and crossbones. Brixton Road has such severe pollution that by January 4th it had already breached the annual legal limit for NO2. Since then, plaques have also been erected in Putney High Street, Farringdon Street and Oxford Street.
Plaques are also now being installed at schools throughout the capital – and as its currently estimated over 800 schools sit within dangerously highly-polluted areas, London’s Choking have a lot of them to get up!
Of course, cutting down on single occupancy vehicles can help decrease pollution levels hugely – so remember to offer out your spare seats on Liftshare!
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Toxic air causes more than 9,000 early deaths every year in London, as well as stunting the growth of children’s lungs, causing dementia and strokes. Londoners are understandably concerned about the possible damage to their health of living in high pollution areas and want to make informed choices. That’s why I’m writing a new London plan with policies in place to make sure pollution levels are considered when deciding where to build new homes and schools in London, as well as a whole host of other measures to make our air cleaner.”
Have you spotted a London’s Choking plaque around the capital? Let us know in the comments below!
Author Lex Barber