The picturesque city of London has recorded its 36th "bad air" day this year after monitoring equipment detected dangerous levels of minute airborne particles. EU guidelines allow just 35 "bad air" days, so reaching this unfortunate level by the sixth month of the year means that London is in violation of the law and faces stiff fines and numerous court cases. Also, London's air pollution is now considered to be the worst in all of Europe.

The city's government has asked the EU for an exemption from air quality guidelines until 2011 as it desperately tries to clean up its act in time for the 2012 Olympics, but the EU is none too pleased with London's lack of action to address air quality problems in the past. London has been in breach of air quality guidelines since 2005 and has yet to fully address the problems, and many critics have come down hard on the city's failures. London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:
This latest breach is yet another wake-up call for the mayor of London and the government. Research has shown that airborne pollution in London could be responsible for up to thousands of premature deaths a year: this is an invisible public health emergency.
European Commissioner Janez Potocnik remarked:
Air pollution is bad for our health. It reduces human life expectancy by more than eight months on average and by more than two years in the most polluted cities and regions.
London's days of nonconformity appear limited. Public sentiment is against any more extensions or exemptions and, with the Olympics rolling in just two years from now, it's time for the city to take action to clean up its act. Hat tip to Andy!

[Source: Guardian | Image: Iain Buchanan - C.C. License 2.0]

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