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London Becomes First City to Use Pollution Charge Zone: Report

London's famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020, according to the mayor's office

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Environmental campaigners from the direct action group Rebellion demonstrate on Westminster Bridge in central London, Britain. VOA

London is the first city in the world to implement a 24-hour, seven day a week Ultra Low Emission Zone, inside which vehicles will have to meet tough emissions standards or face a charge, media reported.

Monday’s introduction of the zone, known as the ULEZ, aims to reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health, according to a press release from the office of Sadiq Khan, mayor of London.

Vehicles are responsible for around half of harmful nitrogen oxide air emissions in the British capital, contributing to a toxic air health crisis that increases the risk of asthma, cancer and dementia as well as causing thousands of premature deaths every year, the release says.

“This is a landmark day for our city. Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation,” Khan said in the statement.

“The ULEZ is the centerpiece of our plans to clean up London’s air — the boldest plans of any city on the planet, and the eyes of the world are on us.”

According to a CNN Business report, under new rules introduced April 8, polluting vehicles will be discouraged from entering the ULEZ thanks to a daily charge of £12.50 (around $16) for some cars, vans and motorbikes and £100 ($130) for trucks, buses and coaches.

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A Facebook billboard advertisement can be seen at Earls Court underground station in London, July 28, 2018. (VOA)

The zone will cover the same area as the existing Congestion Charge — collected from drivers in the city center — until 2021, when it will be expanded to cover the area between the major orbital roads known as the North and South Circular, it added.

Drivers can check whether their vehicle meets ULEZ emission standards using an online tool provided by travel authority Transport for London.

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The ULEZ is the next stage in a plan to clean up London’s air, which started with the so-called T-charge — an extra charge for highly polluting vehicles in the city center — introduced in February 2017.

Since then, the number of vehicles entering the zone has fallen by around 11,000 per day, according to official figures, and there has been a 55 per cent increase in emissions-compliant vehicles in the zone.

London’s famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020, according to the mayor’s office. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Find New Method to Track Pollution from Cooking

There is growing evidence that exposure to cooking oil fumes is linked to lung cancer, the study said

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FILE - A woman adjusts the charcoal in a stove next to cooking pots at a village about 30 km (19 miles) south of South Sudan's capital Juba, June 21, 2013. VOA

Researchers have found that black carbon is a good tracer to separate cooking organic aerosol from traffic-related pollution, paving the way for a new method to track pollution from cooking.

Cooking organic aerosol is one of the most important primary sources of pollution in urban environments.

By applying the black carbon tracer method to several data sets in mega cities of Beijing and Nanjing, the researchers found that cooking organic aerosol contributed 15-27 per cent to total organic aerosol in summer.

The findings published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters suggest that air quality improvements in developing countries could benefit substantially from the reduction of cooking emissions.

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Death toll due to air pollution rises in India. Pexel

There is growing evidence that exposure to cooking oil fumes is linked to lung cancer, the study said.

A new method to separate cooking organic aerosol from traffic-related pollution is needed as it is often challenging to separate cooking organic aerosol from traffic-related organic aerosol due to the similarity of their unit mass resolution spectra.

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“Considering that aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM) has been increasingly deployed worldwide for routine measurements of aerosol particle composition, our study might have significant implications for better source apportionment of OA ( organic aerosol) and exposure studies in the future,” said Yele Sun, Professor from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Science. (IANS)