London’s toxic air led to over 1,700 asthma hospitalisations in two years

New analysis from Imperial College London shows that poor air quality in London led to over 1,700 hospital admissions for asthma and serious lung conditions between 2017 and 2019.

Over the same period, air pollution was responsible for 7% of all asthma admissions of children in the city.

The researchers also found evidence that improved air quality has reduced the number of people admitted to hospital for these diseases by 30%, falling from 2,450 admissions between 2014-2016.

The analysis adds to the growing body of evidence that bold action is required to reduce air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut congestion in the capital.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called today’s analysis ‘a stark reminder’ that the health of Londoners is being damaged by air pollution.

silhouette of buildings during sunset

Mr Khan said: ‘London’s toxic air is damaging people’s health, which is leading to many hospitalisations. This new analysis is another stark reminder that air pollution is damaging the health of Londoners right across our city, and that we must do everything possible to protect children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions from our filthy air.

‘We have already made great progress in London in cutting air pollution and carbon emissions, but there’s clearly a long way to go and we can’t put off further action to protect the health of Londoners.’

Dr Heather Walton, Senior Author of the report, from Imperial’s Environmental Research Group, added: ‘Air pollution continues to contribute to many hospital admissions for asthma and COPD in London, but it is good to see that these hospital admissions have decreased from 2016 to 2019 as a result of air pollution reductions in London.  More policies to reduce air pollution in London should reduce these numbers further and reduce other health impacts of air pollution as well.’

Ruth Fitzharris, mother and campaigner with Mums for Lungs, commented: ‘London’s children deserve better. My son like thousands of children in London is significantly affected by air pollution. He’s been admitted to hospital repeatedly with severe wheezing. These episodes are so frightening: no child or adult should suffer as a result of breathing dirty air. We urge policymakers to come together, to build on the improvements to air quality that have been made in London so far, and ensure that air pollution becomes a thing of the past.’

The full report can be viewed here.

Photo by Ana Paula Grimaldi


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