Recent findings from Merton Council reveal alarming levels of air pollution in Wimbledon.
Air pollution can have a serious effect on our health and well-being. Certainly, breathing in tiny particles of dust, soot (particulate matter) and nitrogen dioxide can contribute to issues with lung function and even reduce life expectancy.
How much air pollution is there in Wimbledon?
Merton Council monitored the air across 50 locations within the borough in 2018, and the results were alarming.
Firstly, levels of nitrogen dioxide went beyond the target limit in Colliers Wood, Morden, Tooting and South Wimbledon.
Secondly, the very worst polluted place was Merton Road, South Wimbledon.
In response to this, Merton Council has declared a Climate Change Emergency. Furthermore, they have pledged to step up their commitment to fighting carbon emissions and rising temperatures.
Consequently, Environment Councillor Tobin Byers says: “We’ve had a fantastic response from the community to our climate change emergency declaration, and many highly committed people with a vast amount of professional expertise have now come forward to be in our Climate Action Working Group.”
As a result, the council plans to make Merton carbon neutral by 2050, which mirrors the Mayor of London’s ambitions.
The council’s plan to fight air pollution
How is the council going to meet this ambitious target? For starters, the council has been working to reduce its own emissions. They have cut them 35% since 2009.
Now it plans to reduce the energy used in its transport, contracted-out services, and 340 buildings. The council aims to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.
But the council only has direct control over less than 5% of the borough’s emissions.
So what can we do?
Air pollution is caused primarily by road transport and domestic and non-domestic energy use.
Therefore, the only way of meeting the target is to get local residents and businesses on board.
Of course, the usual advice of drive less, use more energy efficient methods of power, eat less meat etc., are valid and correct. But there’s actually more help out there then we may think or know.
A great example of this is Kagoo’s Carbon Emissions Calculator. It can help you improve the energy use of your home or business, appliance by appliance. Granted, it may look as laborious as counting calories, but it could be an eye-opener that initiates positive change. And if you’re looking to buy a new washing machine, for example, there are helpful lists of the best low-carbon appliances.
To find out more about Merton Council’s plans, see https://www.merton.gov.uk/planning-and-buildings/sustainability-and-climate-change/