Air Quality: What CCRA has been doing

The quality of the air that we breathe is increasingly recognised as an important issue, and CCRA has been active in raising awareness of the situation in our area.  As we reported in Grapevine 31 (Nov 2015), prolonged exposure to air pollution causes respiratory problems and can lead to cancer. It can affect the development of children’s lungs and elderly people are likely to be adversely affected. In many parts of Charlton (and Greenwich) air quality does not meet the levels considered safe under European law.

Air Quality Survey, Feb 2015

CCRA conducted its first air quality survey in February 2015, funded by donations from local residents.  We put up 15 NO2 diffusion tubes to test air quality by measuring nitrogen oxide.  The tubes remained in place for a month and were then taken down and sent off for analysis.  The results were mixed: the highest levels (over 50 mcg of NO2 per m2) were on the CCRA area’s periphery (outside Fossdene School, junctions of Delafield and Charlton Church Lane/Inverine and Victoria Way); others inside the area were between 21 and 38: significant because the legal EU limit is 40 and levels are rising. Our survey shows a rise of around 13% outside the school and 36% at the Delafield and Church Lane junction over a similar survey conducted by the No to Silvertown group  in January 2014.

Speaker at our AGM, Oct 2015

For our AGM in October, we attanged for a national authority on the subject of air quality, Dr. Ian Mudway, to talk to us on the impact of air pollution in London. He commended CCRA for undertaking its own survey within our area and said the impact of pollution from traffic shortens everyone’s life. A recent report in a national newspaper suggested that high levels of air pollution could increase the risk of brain damage and small stroke, linked to dementia. The greatest effect is on young children because their lung capacity is smaller than that of adults and thus the proportion of polluted air in their bodies is greater. Dr. Mudway’s recent research involving 2,400 London school children shows that traffic pollution stops children’s lungs growing properly. By 8-9 years old, children from the most polluted areas have 5 to 10 per cent less lung capacity that may never be regained.

Second Air Quality Survey, Feb 2016

A second survey was undertaken in February 2016, funded by donations from residents and a raffle at our January Quiz Night.  This time we increased the number of tubes to 20. Results will be published in Grapevine and we will be looking to see if levels have risen since last year, and particularly whether any breach the EU 40 mcg limit. In the short term we hope to highlight roads that are less polluted and where it is safer for you to walk. Longer term, we will be bringing our results to the attention of local councillors and our MP, Matthew Pennycook, who is hoping to establish an all party committee on the issue.

Third Air Quality Survey, Feb 2017

Our third survey took place in February 2017, within similar parameters.