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Mums for Lungs highlights kids hospitalised in London with breathing difficulties

Image by Dan Jones from Pixabay

More than 15,000 children under the age of five were admitted to London hospitals with breathing difficulties last year.

Campaign group Mums for Lungs obtained statistics from the National Health Service (NHS) showing what appears to be a very concerning situation in one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities.

Lisa, a mother from the Stoke Newington district, described what it was like seeing her daughter have to be sent to hospital by her doctor after suffering an asthma attack.

“It’s really scary to see a little child struggle to breathe, also you feel immense guilt. When we saw the GP, the GP was saying ‘look at her neck, you can see that she’s really struggling to breathe, and it’s dipping in’.

“Also you start to feel guilty about where you live, because we know that our address is in the top one per cent most polluted addresses in the country,” she added.

Campaigners point to research showing that particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, both of which are contained in vehicle emissions, are particularly harmful for health.

Dr Anna Moore, a London-based respiratory specialist, said: “It’s very clear, it’s incontrovertible – there is no doubt that the levels of pollution we’re seeing now are causing asthma in children.”

Speaking in an interview for BBC News, she added: “They cause a lot of other problems as well, but there are clear indications that this is causing such severe respiratory (problems), such as serious numbers of severe respiratory disease in children that we’ve got to do something about the air pollution that children are exposed to in our city.”

Mums for Lungs said that while the expansion last summer of London’s Low Emissions Zoine (LEZ) had been a welcome development, more was still needed in order to make a real difference.

Jemima Hartshorn of Mums for Lungs said: “One thing is certain; air pollution in London is far too high. Starting from central London, we need more action on reducing driving, especially diesel vehicles. We will need to be looking at vans, we need to look at fleets, we need to look at deliveries and we need to look at school runs too.

Although it’s not clear how many of the hospital admissions are directly linked to pollution, Mums for Lungs is keen to drive home the message that cleaner air is better not just for the lungs of youngsters but everyone.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London, said that since the introduction of the LEZ, more than 70,000 fewer non-compliant vehicles had been seen on London’s roads, and that the Mayor was ‘committed’ to ensuring the city remains ‘at the forefront of action to tackle air pollution’.

Click here for more information about harmful vehicle emissions.

Source: Mums for Lungs & BBC News

Author: Simon Weedy

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