Air Quality Guidelines Breached at ALL London Hospitals, Medical Centres and Care Homes


City Hall reports all hospitals, medical centres and care homes in London suffer air quality that breaches World Health Organisation guidelines. 

Data from Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington backs up this claim.

We need action now to clean up our air.

 

All 291 hospitals and medical centres, and 322 care homes were found to be in areas with air pollution exceeding annual guidelines.

In Bromley, we have data available from Princess Royal University Hospital via the Breathe London network. Looking at the provided charts and downloading the raw data over the last few months, we can see that the annual guideline levels for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) will be exceeded.

What can we do about this problem? How can we clean up our air and make our environment healthy? We are calling for action on air quality. We need to:

  • Vastly increase the number of air monitors to monitor air pollution across the Borough effectively - we need good data to know where problems are and can make tailored solutions to reduce pollution in the worst affected areas.

  • Encourage cycling and walking across our borough to reduce car use. We need to make it easier and safer for residents to make the choice to cycle or walk instead of taking the car. If we increase active travel rates it will be better for our health, and better for the environment. The current council is not doing anywhere near enough.

  • Reduce emissions by improving public transport provision and improving electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Bromley is falling behind on this with only half as many EV charging points per 100,000 people compared to all other outer London boroughs - read our report here.

 

What are the guidelines and why do they matter?

The World Health Organisation states that annual levels of NO₂ should not exceed 10 μg/m³ and particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (known as PM2.5) should not exceed 5 μg/m³.

One of the most harmful pollutants is PM2.5. It can pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and affect other organs. The WHO have classified these particles as a danger to health even at very low concentrations – indeed no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed. Therefore, the WHO Global guideline limits aimed to achieve the lowest concentrations possible.

With regards to NO2, studies have shown that symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children increase with long-term exposure and lung function development is impacted too.

 


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