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What we are monitoring and why

Air pollution in the UK is a national crisis that causes between 28,000 and 36,000 premature deaths per year (COMEAP). Approximately 9,500 of these are in London (reference). Tower Hamlets has the fifth worst air quality of any London borough.

Air pollution disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society, such as the poor, the old, the very young, and those with respiratory illnesses.

Ultimately, every Londoner is exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution (reference). As a result, the lung development of children in Tower Hamlets is affected, causing them to have up to 10% less lung capacity than the national average (Wood et al., 2015). This capacity never grows back once it is lost. Exposure to air pollution has also been linked to lung cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a number of other illnesses.

You can find out more about air pollution and public health on the governments website.

The primary pollutants of concern for Tower Hamlets are Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). Our monitoring data indicates that level NO2 in much of the borough exceeds National Air Quality Objective standards and World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline values principally next to major roads.

(Table showing the National Air Quality Objectives: Source)

For any questions or concerns, please email: Environmental.Protection@towerhamlets.gov.uk