One in four of London's green spaces breaches air quality safety limits

phys.org | 4/8/2019 | Staff
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More than one quarter of London's parks, playground, and open spaces exceed international safety limits for air quality.

The researchers warn this could potentially put thousands of children and vulnerable Londoners at risk.

Analysis - Air - Quality - Levels - Spaces

In an analysis of the annual air quality levels in green spaces across the capital's 33 boroughs, researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Leicester used nitrogen dioxide (NO2) estimates, comparing them against safety limits set by the European Union and World Health Organisation.

They found that 24 percent of play spaces and 27 percent of public parks had NO2 limits exceeding safety standards, with 67 percent of private parks failing to keep within safe levels. The closest play space for 250,000 children under the age of 16 (14 percent of the city's children) had NO2 concentration averages exceeding European Union limits, with the majority of children affected living in the most deprived areas of the city.

Response - Findings - Team - Website - People

In response to the findings, the team is launching an interactive website which lets people check their local green spaces to get information about average annual NO2 levels.

"Dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide are a genuine concern for people living in the capital, especially for those with children, the elderly and those with poor health," said Dr. Daniela Fecht, from the MRC Centre for Environment and Health within Imperial's School of Public Health.

Hundreds - Schools - Nurseries - Areas - Safety

"We know already that hundreds of primary schools and nurseries are located within, or very close to, areas that exceed legal safety limits for NO2, potentially putting children's long-term health at risk, but we may think our green spaces are clean. Our research shows this is often not the case, with a large number of public and private parks in the capital exceeding legal limits for harmful air pollutants."

The findings, published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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