|Clean Air Campaign Focuses on Putney|
Poster on Upper Richmond Road will change colour due to pollution
A poster campaign to raise awareness of poor air quality is focusing its efforts on Putney.
With billboards saying, ‘Putney, you’re breathing dirtier air than most of London’, Mums for Lungs is aiming to encourage the capital’s mayoral candidates to take action on poisonous emission from traffic.
The poster showing the impact of air pollution on lungs is near the Upper Richmond Road. The lungs start off white but will change colour as they become more polluted.
Spokesperson and Putney father David Nicholson, 55, said, “Every day I smell the diesel from the road, the exhaust fumes and it smells horrible. Putney is one of the most polluted parts of the country and my family are being exposed to it every day.
“It’s like if you went to the cinema and someone started lighting up cigarettes next to you. In ten years’ time we will be amazed that people were allowed to drive dirty polluting cars on the road. It should not be acceptable.”
“Air pollution damages every cell in human body including shrinking children’s lungs. Our children may not notice now but when they are older they will feel the impact significantly. We must take action now. “
Campaigners have demanded action after a study from the Environmental Defence Fund Europe (EDF Europe) showed nearly 50,000 primary school children in London are being exposed to what they describe as dangerous pollution levels from major roads.
In areas of the capital including Wandsworth borough as many as one in five primary schools are by major roads.
Mums for Lungs was started in Brixton but has since expanded across the capital. Parents from Mums for Lungs want an overhaul of the Red Route roads and guarantees to safeguard the expansion of the ULEZ congestion zone.
Founder of Mums for Lungs Jemima Hartshorn, 38, Herne Hill, said, “We really need more awareness of the impact air pollution is having on our health and our children’s health.
“So many trips in London are short and could be walked or cycled. If people knew the damage it was doing they would take more proactive steps. This poster is all about raising awareness.
“The lungs of young children are being damaged; it is casing and triggering asthma. I’m so worried about my children and other people’s children."
They are working with youth activist from Choked Up, a group of teenagers whose friend died of toxic fumes aged just 9.
Nyeleti Brauer-Maxaeia, a 17-year-old co-founder of Choked Up, said, “We took action so that lawmakers, decision makers and politicians finally take this climate and air quality crisis seriously, for everyone’s sake.
“The next Mayor of London needs to expand the ULEZ and rethink TFL's Red Routes so make sure everyone in the city can breathe clean air.”
The initiative is supported by scientists at international charity EDF Europe. Oliver Lord, Head of Policy and Campaigns at EDF Europe, said, “Kids in London have been breathing illegal levels of air pollution far too long, and not just in the city centre.
“Exposure to air pollution at a young age can irreversibly stunt children’s lungs and create health problems for the rest of their lives.”