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Ying

Health effects of air pollution

Ying's story

9 March 2020

Ying lives with her husband and child in Bermondsey. Being environmentally aware and a mother, she would like to know more about air pollution and how it affects our health.

Meet Ying

Ying lives with her husband and child in Bermondsey. Being environmentally aware and a mother, she would like to know more about air pollution and how it affects our health.

Ying regularly walks her daughter around busy high streets in Camberwell and Peckham but also makes sure she gets off the main roads into parks such as Burgess Park:

  • Local park – low levels of air pollution (37 ug/m3)
  • Local libraries (for baby groups) – one is low levels of air pollution (37 ug/m3) and one is low/moderate levels of air pollution (40 ug/m3)
  • Docklands (for baby group) – low/moderate levels of air pollution (40 ug/m3)

Ying's experience

I love to walk and being pregnant has never stopped me. If my journey is an hour or less, I’ll do it on foot. I try to be outdoors as much as I can, and with Burgess Park virtually on my doorstep and Southwark Park nearby, I get a bit of green space most days. 

I grew up in Australia and spent some of my childhood in Hong Kong. I think this make me very aware of how different the air can feel in different places. Hong Kong is extremely polluted, whereas Australia less so. Often, I think, when you leave London, you feel, ‘Oh, the air is so fresh here.’

I moved to Bermondsey in 2018 and enjoy the multicultural aspect of the area – and the location near to the river and central London.

Where possible we try and be environmentally friendly – buying locally and seasonally, cutting down on plastic, recycling. I don’t think is because I think it will affect our air quality directly, but we are kind of conscious that it affects global output of carbon emissions.

I don’t know exactly how air quality and climate change marry up, but I’m sure there is some crossover

Ying

Ideally, we would have bought an electric car, because of the environment, but they are still outside of our budget.

I’m aware of the traffic round here and I know it has an effect on air quality. This has not stopped me spending time outdoors, but I’d like to know more about local pollution.

When we are in the middle of the park, for example, it feels less polluted than when we’re by the side of Old Kent Road. But I don’t actually know if the air quality is any better or worse in the middle of the park.

Ying with her child
Ying pushing a pram

This pram is very popular. But someone told me in one of the iterations it’s lower to the ground and it’s kind of the same height as where the car exhausts are.

I think the council should be providing advice as to what the air quality actually is in the borough, and then what residents can do to improve it.

She's not a newborn anymore but when all your organs are still developing, then obviously I think it matters, the environment that you're taking in, in terms of your development.