British Lung Foundation collage

Time for action on air pollution

25 July 2016

Amanda Redman
Actress Amanda Redman is a supporter of the British Lung Foundation. She tells us why it’s time we all took action on air pollution…

Breathing is something most of us take for granted. Did you know that every day we each breathe over 8,000 litres of air?

That’s enough to fill a small delivery van.

Have you ever thought about the quality of the air you are breathing? Are we being delivered a van full of poison instead?

Unfortunately it seems that way. Scientists across the country have shown that the air we breathe has a huge impact on our health.

Dirty particles of dust and poisonous gases in the air are able to travel straight into our lungs and in some cases get into our bloodstream.

This irritates our lungs, it can make conditions like asthma worse and increase all our chances of getting lung cancer.

Pollution also stops our children’s lungs developing as well as they should.

This year, London broke its annual target on air pollution in just one week. Not only is this unsafe for our health, it’s often also illegal. If our water supply was this dirty, there would be uproar.

I have lived in London for many years. Whilst I love being part of such a vibrant city, I can’t help but worry about the amount of pollution that now lingers in the air.

You may remember or know someone who remembers London’s ‘pea-souper’ smogs. Needless to say, things have changed a lot in the last 50 years.

The days of girdles and beehives are long gone. Chart-toppers, Buddy Holly and Pat Boone are probably strangers to many of today’s millennials and the internet is now at the touch of our fingertips.

Likewise, our travel choices are very different, we now use our cars three times as much as we did in the 1950s.

Emissions from vehicles now make up the majority of the pollution on our roads.

The good news: there’s an answer and we’ve all got the power in our hands to be part of the solution. We can make sure the next car we buy is less polluting, we can cycle more, we can walk more and we can take public transport.

As a supporter of the British Lung Foundation, I am urging you to take part in the Mayor’s air quality consultation.

We know that it isn’t always easy to take these cleaner options - that’s why I’d encourage you all to raise your voice and make sure the Mayor knows your views.

We need the cleanest options to work for everyone, then we will be able to deliver the change we urgently need.

For your own health and your family’s, it is time to take action.

Take the air quality survey

The Mayor wants to hear Londoners’ views about his plans to tackle air pollution. Take part in the air quality survey to have your say.