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I've just seen this article from The Grauniad:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/revealed-every-londoner-breathing-dangerous-levels-of-toxic-air-particle

Consider this a call to arms (or should that be legs?).

11 comments

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macrophotofly [288 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

We focus on cars but it seems the majority of the polution is coming from other sources and there has been a call to ban those nice trandy log-burning stoves so many wealthy Londoners are currently installing.

Before anyone gets aggitated, this ban has been done before with open fires in London to reduce the smog in the mid-20th C.

Sadly it seems the Guardian isn't so keen on that idea (NIMBY?)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/29/ban-wood-burning-stoves-sadiq-khan-london-polluted-air-hygge

And here is the background on the previously mentioned Open Fires ban (Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968) if anyone is interested -

https://www.fireplaceproducts.co.uk/blog/should-we-ban-the-open-fire/

(from a website that sells Fireplace items to keep it balanced!)

 

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hawkinspeter [1029 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

@macrophotofly - I think we tend to concentrate on vehicle emissions as that's probably easiest to control/reduce. However, with the huge levels of particulates from burning wood, I wonder if some kind of chimney fitted catalyst would be more effective.

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Simon E [3121 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Compare the number of wood-burning stoves with the number of vehicles on the streets of London and I don't think it will be difficult to work out which is worse for public health.

And stoves don't run amok and kill 1,700 people every year.

hawkinspeter wrote:

@macrophotofly - I think we tend to concentrate on vehicle emissions as that's probably easiest to control/reduce.

I don't think it is, otherwise London and other towns and cities wouldn't be choked with polluting traffic as that problem would have been fixed long ago.

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dougie_c [36 posts] 1 month ago
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I believe about 90% of air pollution in *London* comes from vehicular sources. It's certainly most of it since the first Clean Air Act (1956 et seq). As for non-smokeless fuel being used in fireplaces and stoves,  this is already illegal in pretty much every city, so if it's really becoming a major contributor to air pollution again, then enforcement should be stepped up.

It does tend to piss off the neighbours, and it is rather an easy crime to detect…

There are lots of less polluting choices for room heating; rather fewer for the tremendous energy density embodied in a tank of petrol…

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hawkinspeter [1029 posts] 1 month ago
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@dougie_c - it's complicated to figure out the causes of different air pollutants. Vehicles are the main cause of NOx pollution (especially diesel) whereas particulates are more commonly from fires.

It's tricky to tease out the health impacts of different types of pollution so I think it makes sense to reduce all pollution as much as possible or feasible. However, the majority would rather carry on driving round the corner to the shops rather than walking etc. and increasing emissions tax is rarely popular.

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ktache [627 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Lots of need for open fires and log buring stoves in summer, which is probably why there is never any pollution during the warmer months.

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cyclisto [306 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I will be 100% ownest, I am not worried about vehicular traffic not even close as much as air pollution. I have felt sometimes unsafe, I have even fell half of dozen of times as an adult commuter, but my sore throat and my big reduction in smell makes me worry that I am really slowly killing myself while cycling in urban areas. Unfortunately poor air quality hits first of all cyclists as we need lots of air when cycling and we are at the worst possible position when we cycle, just behind vehicle exhausts. This is absurd really when we can both easily ban both diesel motor engines and stoves. Never underestimate the importance of this problem!

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hawkinspeter [1029 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
cyclisto wrote:

I will be 100% ownest, I am not worried about vehicular traffic not even close as much as air pollution. I have felt sometimes unsafe, I have even fell half of dozen of times as an adult commuter, but my sore throat and my big reduction in smell makes me worry that I am really slowly killing myself while cycling in urban areas. Unfortunately poor air quality hits first of all cyclists as we need lots of air when cycling and we are at the worst possible position when we cycle, just behind vehicle exhausts. This is absurd really when we can both easily ban both diesel motor engines and stoves. Never underestimate the importance of this problem!

Although you may think that cyclists are in the worst position, car passengers actually get a bigger dose of exhaust fumes as air intakes tend to be close to the exhaust of the vehicle in front.

http://road.cc/content/news/218655-air-pollution-worse-drivers-cyclists-same-bath-road

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cyclisto [306 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

@hawkinspeter

The theory that car drivers are more affected from air pollution than bicycle riders is often mentioned. And it is true that if you put a meter at a car passenger seat with open windows and one at a bicycle helmet, the one of the car may show higher readings.

However nowadays modern cars have better air insulation and HEPA filters at their air intakes. So with proper care a, car driver may have a less polluted environment than a rider.

But the big difference is that bicycle riders have greater air consumption compared to drivers. On a under minute google search I found out that a sitting guy may consume up to 5 time less air than the running guy or the driver and rider https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/resnotes/notes/94-11.htm . But really, lets not bury our heads in the sand trying to avoid the problem, anyone who has ridden next to a stationary traffic, can feel all the shitty air in his/her lungs. Bear in mind that with every ride at place with contaminated air, your smell weakens, so you slightly get used to this as the problem exists but you cannot feel it. Just like desensitized smokers, only that other people smoke for our own lungs!

So I insist again the worst thing we can do is to pretend that the problem doesn't exist. This thing has to be solved and as the main stakeholders, us cyclist will have to lobby way more.

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dougie_c [36 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

@dougie_c - it's complicated to figure out the causes of different air pollutants. Vehicles are the main cause of NOx pollution (especially diesel) whereas particulates are more commonly from fires.

It's tricky to tease out the health impacts of different types of pollution so I think it makes sense to reduce all pollution as much as possible or feasible. However, the majority would rather carry on driving round the corner to the shops rather than walking etc. and increasing emissions tax is rarely popular.

It's true that it's complicated, but the fine particulates (PM10/PM5/PM2.5) that are most damaging for health are, in the urban environment, mostly of transport origin, not just exhaust gases, but also from brake and tyre wear. The harmful effects of these particulates are not doubted, nor is there any safe lower dose; the targets are merely based on political expedience. It is interesting to note that US Federal standards are about twice as strict as those of the EU for example.

I'm not sure the majority are as complacent as you make out: disease and premature death tend to be unpopular also.

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Simon E wrote:

And stoves don't run amok and kill 1,700 people every year.

We had one that went bad.  Barking I think, or possibily a split personality.  In the end I managed to snatch the child from its doors and beat it to death with a poker while it wailed "I'll kill and kill again"......