Healthy air for the great urban outdoors
This Saturday the Healthy Air London team were at The Urban Outdoors Festival with designer and campaigner, Vivienne Westwood, her Climate Revolution team, and Camden Council. This community festival was a chance to celebrate our great urban outdoors and encourage sustainable and healthy lifestyles to help protect it.
Speaking at the event, Camden Councillor, Sally Gimson, highlighted the damaging levels of air pollution in Camden and across London. She added that, while the Council has to act locally, more needs to be done at the national and regional level to get to grips with the problem of air pollution. Vivienne Westwood summarised the need to tackle the environmental issues that threaten our communities with “what’s good for the planet is good for the people, and good for the economy.”
Families, friends and cycling campaigners joined Vivienne on the Clean Air Bike Ride to enjoy some low pollution cycle routes around Camden. The Healthy Air Campaign’s clean air bike, Gertrude, was a success, not only with surprise guest singer/songwriter Duffy (with whom we almost had to fight to get our bike back) but also with all the people we passed along the way. Even car drivers who had to wait for us to pass couldn’t help but smile as Gertrude went by.
The bike was fitted with an AQMesh monitor so that we could monitor levels of nitrogen dioxide along the bike ride but due to the short monitoring period it’s difficult to make conclusions on the concentration levels recorded. The most interesting thing to look at is the shape of the graph and in particular how levels drop during the cycle ride as we got off the road and went through Hampstead Heath. The cycle ride is also the only time during the festival that levels went below the annual mean limit: pollution levels on the quiet back roads were lower than on the green space by Castlehaven Community Centre where the festival was held, which was just round the corner from the busy roads around Camden Market. These results highlight how you can reduce your exposure to air pollution by taking quieter routes and getting away from busy traffic.
Castlehaven Community Centre have asked us to go back to talk to their community group about air pollution issues in the capital. If you’d like us to visit your community group in London then get in touch.