London’s plan to charge drivers of polluting cars sparks protests and stirs political passions
Associated Press writer Jill Lawless reports that London’s traffic cameras are under attack. Police say hundreds of license-plate reading cameras have been damaged, disconnected or stolen by opponents of an anti-pollution charge on older vehicles that comes into force across the metropolis on Tuesday.
In a nutshell:
The Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion aims to reduce air pollution responsible for thousands of annual deaths but has triggered strong emotions among citizens. Critics argue that it unfairly burdens suburban residents reliant on their cars for work and essential travel. The issue has become a political flashpoint, with the Conservative government clashing with London's mayor, making it a potential theme for the upcoming national election.
“The cameras are going to keep coming down,” predicted Nick Arlett, who has organized protests against the clean-air charge and says he neither condones nor condemns the sabotage “People are angry.”
The big picture:
Air pollution is linked to approximately 4,000 annual deaths in London. Prolonged exposure to pollutants like nitrogen oxides and particulate matter poses a significant risk to respiratory health, increasing the prevalence of conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and cardiovascular diseases. Failure to manage emissions pollution exacerbates these health risks, particularly for vulnerable populations. It also places added strain on healthcare systems and incurs substantial economic costs related to healthcare expenditures and lost productivity.
Read the article at the Associated Press.
Why is it important to manage pollution? Here's just one example, from Brian Bienkowski: Walking is great exercise —getting air into the lungs and the blood pumping. But for adults over 60, walking in cities with heavy air pollution counters the health benefits.