Despite campaigning by the Mayor and other groups, young Londoners in the congestion zone are not completely aware of air pollution.
Air pollution is the significant cause of the premature death of nearly 9500 Londoners every year, according to a study published by King’s College London in 2015.
Luke Gillham, 18, Eltham, admitted that air pollution is not really a big issue for him. He then added: “but obviously for certain people it is.” He said: “I’m threatened by it, but it’s not something I think about it. I don’t worry about air pollution which probably could be an issue itself. I’m not fully aware or anything like that.”
He emphasised that it is not “that much issue” for him currently. However, Luke concluded that in case it gets worse, and is widely televised triggering the concerns of most people, it probably would increase the depth of the issue in regard to him. “On British television, it’s not publicised like the staff of the Mayor says or the Mayor says,” he said, “I don’t think that it is publicised as a big issue.”
The Stop Killing Londoners campaign group called for a protest on Thursday 23rd November against “the criminal levels of air pollution” across London. The activists wanted “urgent and immediate action” to tackle the problem.
The Mayor has recently launched his new plan to reduce air pollution in Central London by imposing a £10 charge on petrol and diesel cars registered before 2016. The T-Charge is one of a series of measures he intends to take to save the lives of Londoners, including children at schools in the most polluted zone in the Capital.
Joay, 29, Brixton, also admitted that she does not know much about the problem although she supports taking action to solve it.
Abdul, 25, Euston, agreed with what Luke said about air pollution: that it is not a big issue on television. He said: “This has to be on the television. I haven’t seen it on the television or on the news; I only see other countries’ wars.”
Abdul admitted that he does not know much about it. However, he stressed the fact that it is “quite significant” and that “a lot will be required to tackle this issue”. He added: “I am only aware that ten pounds have been charged on registration 2007 or 2005 and below. Apart from that, I know it (traffic) contributes to air pollution.”
Abdul mentioned the T-charge as a way to tackle the air pollution problem. He emphasised the lack of information about the issue. “I’ve only seen that increase of ten pounds and that’s it, nothing else. They didn’t say if it is enough, if this would resolve the issue, if we need to do more, nothing.”
Eva, 22, Essex, suggested preventing using cars in London, particularly in peak times.
Paul, 38, Victoria, stressed reducing the amount of traffic in London as the best solution to improve the air quality. He said: “There is not much industry in London, so I think most of pollution is due to traffic.” He also said: “Public transport is very good, so people can use public transport.”
Viacheslav, 34, London (from Ukraine), said that Amsterdam can be a good example of success in tackling air pollution.
(Sub-edited By Zahida Rizvi)