Every boiler in London releases pollution into the air and (nearly) every vehicle is a mobile pollution source. With the right conditions (e.g. low wind and congested roads) this smog increases in density until it is dangerous and the official advice is to stay indoors. All this would be deeply troubling were it not for the fact that we understand, very clearly, what the solutions are. The means and technology exist and are ready for action; all we need to do is implement. So what are we waiting for?
Instead of having millions of little boilers spread all around London we should have combined heat and power plants that deliver both electricity and heat to homes. The plants can be outside the city limits so the pollution isn’t near densely populated habitations. This is far less polluting and up to 75% more efficient so why doesn’t the government back this rather than CCS or nuclear; both of which still just spew ‘waste’ heat into the atmosphere (more on this in This is not a chimney)?
Instead of filling our gorgeous, bustling metropolis with heavy, metal machines which release poison gas, and crush you if you get in their way, we could have… space. Space claimed back from the minority of Londoners who own cars and given to the majority who have grown used to having to squeeze past them and breathe their fumes.
By removing 98% of private cars we could have city farms and play areas and markets and pedestrian hang outs and bike lanes and trees and clean air… suddenly the city is looking way healthier, way more sustainable and way more fun.
What starts as a toxic time bomb, a new worry for us all, can become the impetus to boldly move towards the clean, sustainable future we all want. Why do we allow our cities to be full of cars? It doesn’t make sense.
SUMMARY OF SOLUTIONS
- Phase out individual home boilers and move to CHP
- A modal shift away from the private car
- Reduced road space allocation for the private car
- Phase out taxi’s with internal combustion engines (check the new electric ready NYC fleet)
- Boost the total area of green roofs
- Increased road space allocation for positive public use e.g.
- Increasing pedestrianization
- More trees
- Urban farms
- Activity zones for young people
- Bike lanes
- More space for culture and the arts
- A report on London pollution for business is here.
- Cities That Could Easily Be Car “Lite” or Car Free
- Houston Hive to be a Sustainable Village Made from 500 Shipping Containers
- Urban Air Pollution in Developing Country Megacities – Michael P. Walsh (presentation)
- Low carbon, sustainable communities makes for friendlier neighbourhoods
- World Carfree Network
- A Critical Mass of dissent… on wheels