Green Energy

Is London Officially More Polluted than Beijing?

Feb 10 2017 Read 825 Times

It’s easy to look at big problems in the world and assume they are isolated to certain countries. That’s exactly the case with pollution. In Britain, we watch in shock as clips of the Beijing smog are shown on the news. But not so many people realise that closer to home, London is also heavily polluted. How polluted? Read on to see how London compares to Beijing when it comes to air pollution.

Something in the air

Levels of air pollution in the British capital have been rising much like the rest of the world. World leaders pledge to reduce emissions but nothing drastic has been done to stop the flow of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter into public spaces. As a result, London has become a festival of filthy air, which is significantly impacting on the health of residents.

So how does it compare to the typical pollution culprit that is Beijing? Some readings suggest it is actually worse. At 3pm on Monday 23rd January, pollution readings across London were worse than those in the Chinese capital. Measuring micrograms of particular matter per cubic metre, London reached a peak of 197, while Beijing summited at 190 – still dangerous for the public.

Pollution alert

Figures like this are hardly a good sign for the capital. It prompted Sadiq Khan to issue the highest air pollution alert. But what has pushed it quite so high? Air pollution has been increasing generally because of industrial emissions as well as those from London’s heavy flow of traffic. However, the way we heat our homes may also have something to do with it.

Research from King’s College London found that wood burning over the winter has reached levels higher than any years previous. Over a million British homes have a wood burner and 175,000 are newly installed each year. They are beneficial to homeowners, saving them money on energy bills, but they are noticeably impacting the environment.

“Although the apparent carbon neutrality of wood-burning may make it seem environmentally friendly, there is growing evidence of adverse health effects from wood smoke,” explained lead researcher, Dr Gary Fuller.

Solving the problem

As well as reducing household emissions, there is the much bigger problem of industrial emissions that needs to be dealt with. Alternative energy sources can go some way to solving the problem, as can any methods of increasing energy efficiency. The article ‘Venturi Orifice Steam Traps Reduce Energy Costs and CO2 Emissions’ explores new steam system possibilities that can help companies incorporate cleaner energy as well as cutting their fuel bill.

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