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Marilyn

Health effects of air pollution

Marilyn's story

9 March 2020

Marilyn is a retired art teacher who lives in Brixton with her husband and three grown-up children. As a teenager she was treated for TB and, following the recent death of her brother, has become even more concerned about her health.

Meet Marilyn

Marilyn is a retired art teacher who lives in Brixton with her husband and three grown-up children. As a teenager she was treated for TB and, following the recent death of her brother, has become even more concerned about her health.

Marilyn’s regular walking route includes Brixton high street. In 2017 Brixton Road had 75 hours of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations above the 200 ug/m3 levels. The legal limit is 18 hours a year.

  • Local park – low levels of air pollution (28 ug/m3)
  • Trips to two refuse centres – low level of air pollution (34 ug/m3)
Marilyn standing
Marilyn pottering

Marilyn's experience

Now I’d rather sit here than sit on the streets having a coffee – although I like watching people go by.

I sometimes cover my mouth when I’m out, and I don’t tend to sit outside because I feel that there are too many fumes around. 

We still have a car, but we’re discussing whether to keep it. That’s also to do with air quality. So I only take the car when we go recycling.

I thought ULEZ was incredible. The mayor is actually trying to get ahead of the game.

Marilyn

My assumption is air pollution is worse now – just think the number of cars. Cars that are idling, vans that are idling. But is it evidence-based? It may be a psychological thing.

I’ve noticed breathing issues, especially chest infections, even if you’re not aware of what you’re breathing, the sense of it is there. I feel it.