Feature

London mayor, Sadiq Khan: how cities can act on air pollution

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2842 (Published 14 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2842

Sadiq Khan, talks to Fiona Godlee, The BMJ’s editor in chief, about why air pollution is a key policy objective for his administration

Health professionals describe air pollution as a public health emergency, but you don’t often hear this message from politicians. Why did you choose to make it a key priority?

Everyone should have the right to breathe clean air, wherever they live. You may not be able to see air pollution in London, but it affects each and every one of us and is responsible for the premature deaths of more than 9000 people in London every year. I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health. I was diagnosed with asthma only a few years ago. Air pollution disproportionately affects the most vulnerable people in London, including those living in poorer areas, babies, children, older people, and those with long term illness. Filthy air is linked to conditions like asthma, heart disease, and COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]. Yet air pollution is a problem we can fix. Cleaning up London’s air will be good for our health. It will also be good for the NHS, business, and society as a whole. …

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