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Action Plan to Battle London’s Toxic Air Unveiled by Sadiq Khan

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London Congestion Charge via mariordo59 via Flickr

On the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, Sadiq Khan has announced plans to tackle the worst polluting vehicles in London. It is the biggest crackdown by any major city around the world.

A £10 charge for the most polluting vehicles and an extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone will be part of a major public consultation launched today.

With around 9,500 Londoners dying from long-term exposure to air pollution every year and latest research revealing over 443 schools in the capital are in areas exceeding safe legal pollution levels, Sadiq Khan wants to take urgent action to help end London’s ‘public health emergency’ and clean up the capital’s filthy air.

From new charges for the oldest most polluting vehicles, to improved alerts for high-pollution episodes, the Mayor is today asking Londoners for their views on his Clean Air Action plan. The public have until Friday 29th July 2016 to feed back on the first round of the consultation, further more detailed consultation will take place later this year and some measures could be implemented as early as 2017.

Key proposals include:

  • Implementing a £10 Emissions Surcharge (dubbed the ‘T-charge’) on the most polluting vehicles entering central London from 2017. The charge would apply to all vehicles with pre-Euro 4 emission standards (broadly speaking those registered before 2005) and will cost an extra £10 per day on top of the existing Congestion Charge.
  • Introducing the central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone one year earlier in 2019
  • Extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (‘ULEZ’) beyond central London from 2020: for motorcycles, cars and vans, to the North and South Circular; and for lorries, buses and coaches London-wide
  • Developing a detailed proposal for a national diesel scrappage scheme for Government to implement
  • Bringing forward the requirement for all double–deck buses to be ULEZ-compliant in central London from 2020 to 2019
  • Implementing clean bus corridors – tackling the worst pollution hotspots by delivering cleaner buses on the dirtiest routes

The Emissions Surcharge in 2017, followed by an expanded ULEZ in 2020, would be the toughest crackdown on the most polluting vehicles by any major city around the world.

On the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, ‎the Mayor delivered a keynote speech at the consultation launch and visited a Great Ormond Street Hospital specialist ward caring for children with a variety of respiratory conditions which are all adversely affected by poor air quality.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “With nearly 10,000 people dying early every year in London due to exposure to air pollution, cleaning up London’s toxic air is now an issue of life and death.

“It is the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act of 1956, which was passed following the great London smogs of the 1950s. The legislation made a huge difference to life in London and saved countless lives. British politicians at the time did an amazing thing and responded on the scale that was required. Today we face another pollution public health emergency in London and now it’s our turn to act for the good of Londoners and for future generations to come.

“Just as in the 1950s, air pollution in London today is literally killing Londoners.

But unlike the smoky pollution of the past, today’s pollution is a hidden killer.

“The scale of the failure to tackle the problem is demonstrated by the failure of the Government and the previous Mayor to meet legal pollution limits. Urgent action is now needed to ensure Londoners no longer have to fear the very air we breathe.

“That’s why I’m launching a hard-hitting plan of action to clean up our filthy air. Tough challenges call for tough measures, so I’m proposing a new £10 charge for the most polluting vehicles in central London from 2017, followed by an even stronger crackdown on vehicles pumping out hazardous pollutants.

“This is just a small part of the wider measures I’m consulting on to protect the health of Londoners. And I urge everyone to respond and share their views and ideas to help tackle this public health emergency.

“I am also calling on the Government to work with me and to take more action to tackle air pollution. We can’t do this alone in London. The Government should seize the spirit of the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act and pass new legislation fit for the 21st century. This needs to provide new powers and legal protections to ensure that the existing legal limits for air pollutants are retained following Brexit.”

At Great Ormond Street Hospital the Mayor met Dr Colin Wallis, Consultant in Respiratory Paediatrics, who told him that many young patients live with respiratory conditions exacerbated by poor air quality conditions. To help address this the hospital has brought in a clean-air zone around the hospital’s vicinity encouraging staff, patients and families not to let their car engines idle, and to use low emission taxis and minicabs or walk or cycle wherever possible.

Dr Peter Steer, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH), said:“The Mayor’s drive to clean up the capital’s air is fantastic news for our patients and staff. Children living in highly polluted areas are four times more likely to have reduced lung function in adulthood, yet improving air quality has been shown to halt and reverse this effect. When the UK’s most seriously ill children come to GOSH for our world class care, we want to ensure that they are not exposed to high levels of harmful pollution and so we are pleased improving London’s air quality is a priority for the Mayor.”

Environment

How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener

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green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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