23 February 2017
Islington Green Party held a public meeting on 22nd February to discuss the highly topical and important issue of air pollution. The event was held to hear from residents about their experiences of air pollution in Islington and to also hear about possible local solutions. The meeting also helped people of all ages to get involved with measuring the air pollution levels in their neighbourhoods by distributing pollution measuring devices.
The first step to tackling the issue of air pollution is to understand where the pollution ‘hotspots’ are. The task then is to fix them through, amongst other things, the rerouting of traffic; temporarily closing roads for so-called Play Streets to protect children’s lungs; and to properly enforce the borough’s anti-idling policy so vehicles are not stationary with their engines needlessly running and polluting the air.
Speaking at the event were Professor Andreas Sella from University College London, environmental campaigner Rod Gongrrijp who has been leading ‘citizen science’ across Islington to check pollution levels, Deb Hermer who spoke about closing roads to allow Play Streets to happen and Kate Calvert from the Better Archway Forum.
No matter where we live in Islington, the air we all breathe is now heavily polluted. Children, old people and those with existing medical conditions such as asthma are especially at risk from getting ill. In fact, it is estimated that thousands of people die prematurely each year in Britain due to factors connected to our dirty air.
Simple measuring devices called Diffusion Tubes are now being installed by local residents around Islington to measure nitrogen dioxide levels. Citizen science allows all of us to understand more about the air we breathe so we can all work together to do something about it.
Only a few weeks ago, the EU issued the UK with a final warning to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels or face the European courts. Our government must do more but also so must all of Islington.
We are encouraging residents to come forward and volunteer to sponsor and install pollution tubes in their area and help us improve the air we all breathe. Get in touch if you would like to get involved.