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London To Hold Its Largest Car-Free Day To Date To Tackle Air Pollution

London will hold its biggest car-free day event in September in a bid to encourage people to walk, cycle, and use public transport as the UK capital fights air pollution.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan announced on Thursday that the biggest car-free day event in the city so far will be held on Sunday, September 22.

The event will close to autos 20 kilometers (12 miles) of roads around Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and the City of London and is part of the mayor’s work to encourage Londoners and visitors to cycle, walk, and use public transport to help curb air pollution by reducing car emissions, the office of the Mayor of London said in a statement today.

According to the mayor’s office, two million Londoners—out of a population of more than 8 million—live in areas that exceed legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), including more than 400,000 children under the age of 18.

According to the mayor’s office and to Transport for London (TfL), the local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, more than 50 percent of the toxic air in London is due to pollution coming from vehicles.

“Almost half of Londoners think that road vehicles are not the main cause of air pollution. In fact, driving polluting vehicles is the single biggest cause, contributing to around half of London’s air pollution,” the authorities say.

Yet, three out of four Londoners are worried about the impact of air pollution on their health. Moreover, more than half of Londoners think you can always see when pollution is bad, while actually many pollutants are invisible to the naked eye and can be present in air that looks ‘clean’.

London’s efforts to tackle air pollution come as a panel urged the UK government last month to urgently adopt new policies for anything from eating habits to energy consumption to avert the worst effects of climate change.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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