Air pollution is a problem in most metropolitan cities.

The city will be in the spotlight next year as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games, but right now, London is receiving negative press because of its mediocre efforts to improve their air quality.

In a recent report by green groups ranking 17 European cities for their efforts to improve air quality, London got a failing grade for a what some experts call an “embarrassing” performance.

European SootFreeCities Ranking was developed by the German BUND e.V. and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and measured the cities’ efforts in the following areas (among others):

  • Traffic management
  • Technical measures and efforts
  • Public information and awareness


London’s efforts “below average”

London was ranked “below average” after Paris, Glasgow, Amsterdam and Zurich.

The best grades went to Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm and at the very bottom sat Dusseldorf, Milan and Rome.

The cities were judged on their actions since 2005, when EU limits on particulate matter (PM10) came into force.

While London has tightened its low-emission zone for heavy goods vehicles and promoted cycling and walking, the report pointed out many other areas where London’s efforts did not measure up when compared to other cities.

For example, plans for new hybrid buses have been scaled back and public transport has experienced sharp fare increases.


Air pollution called the worst public health crisis since Great Smog

The authors of the report called air pollution in cities “the worst public health crisis since the Great Smog of 1952”.

It affects many residents and can cause or aggravate respiratory diseases as well as other serious health conditions.

Bad air quality is a major problem for many European cities, and it’s also an expensive one: The estimated cost was between €277bn and €790bn a year in 2000.

Source: Business Green

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