Health effects of air pollution

Why are air pollution levels in London so high?

25 March 2022
2 min read

For the first time since August 2020, a high pollution warning has been issued for London. We explore what the major causes of air pollution are in London.

Air pollution in London is constantly higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended limits. Our programme addresses the health effects of poor air quality on people whose health is most affected by air pollution.

But, this week, the Government issued ‘high’ and ‘very high’ pollution warnings in five regions across the UK. In London, air pollution levels – particularly particulate matter 2.5 – drastically increased.

Everyone’s health is affected by air pollution, but children, older people, people with lung and heart conditions, and those living in areas of social deprivation are particularly at risk. The health effects of air pollution are disproportionate and those who are most affected by poor air quality often contribute the least to the problem. Put simply, air pollution is a social justice issue.

But what are the sources of air pollution in London? Browse our interactive visualisation to see which sources contribute the most to particulate matters 2.5 and 10 (PM2.5 and PM10) and to nitrogen oxide levels.