Pic: Illegal pollution in the UK (c) Pexels
As of January 30, the city of London reached its annual limits for air pollution – which raises the concern the UK is not taking climate change seriously enough, reports Jacob Dickinson
The limits are set by the European Commission, and are put in place to attempt to tackle climate change and the premature deaths of European residents. An estimated 50k Brits die annually in the UK alone as a direct result of air pollution.
The poor air quality resulting from the pollutants (such as carbon dioxide) have been linked to deadly health conditions such as: aggravated cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, links to cancer and heart disease.
However, this is not the first time London has exceeded its air pollution limits within a month – it’s actually somewhat of a tradition – this is the 8th consecutive year in a row London has reached its maximum legal amount of harmful emissions within a month.
As a result of the UK’s constant violation of the EU’s legislation, the European commission issued a ‘final warning’ to the UK and has threatened that if the government cannot prove serious action is being taken to reduce emissions within 2 months, the UK could be summoned to the European court of justice and be forced to pay millions of pounds in fines.
The British government estimates that the U.K. will not be able to comply with the suggested levels of nitrogen dioxide until 2026.
However, the committee on climate change in the UK reports that the UK’s “emissions were 42% below 1990s levels in 2016.” It continues to explain how the U.K. is currently on track to outperform this figure in the next carbon budget (2018 – 2022) but is not on track to outperform that figure in the carbon budget of 2023 – 2027.
A member of the public, Mohammad Habob said: “We are in a good position to start cutting our emissions, there’s lots of emphasis on using public transport, recycling and reusing.
“Something else that really puts us in a strong position to battle emissions is the that the younger generations learn extensively about climate change in school – so they are growing up more conscious about how their actions impact the environment.”
However, another member of the public, Sarah Reale said: “There’s all this information available, but I just feel like the UK is lacking. We are in the 21st century, so why are we still using technology from the 19th century? (The first petrol car was manufactured in 1886) But somethings the government are working towards are encouraging such as attempting to outlaw fossil fuel powered cars by 2040. Which is good news for the environment.”
JLDN reporter Sidney Stanford explored ways we can all reduce our carbon footprint