Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

London Marathon Leads to 89% Drop in Air Pollution

Health + Wellness
London Marathon Leads to 89% Drop in Air Pollution
The 2018 London Marathon dropped air pollution on one street along its route by 89 percent. Kleon3 / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

Global Action Plan, a non-profit organization dedicated to tackling "throw away culture" and the impact it has on humans and the planet, discovered an unexpected health benefit to running marathons.


The group looked at data from air quality monitoring stations along Upper Thames Street, part of the route of the London Marathon, which took place Sunday and causes street closures and traffic reduction as cars make way for runners.

Comparing the data from the marathon with data from the previous three Sundays, the group found an 89 percent drop in air pollution the day of the marathon, Huffington Post UK reported Monday.

"Taking collective action to tackle air pollution every day can make a massive difference, as shown at the London Marathon 2018," Global Action Plan Head of Health Larissa Lockwood told The Huffington Post UK.

The air quality monitor Global Action Plan looked at is part of a larger set of monitors called the London Air Quality Network, which is managed by Kings College London. Global Action Plan looked at air quality from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the days it focused on.

"With traffic free streets pollution levels dropped by 89%. Imagine if more people left the car at home every day. We would suffer far fewer health problems from air pollution," Lockwood said.

Her organization is using these findings to renew calls for a "car free day" in London on June 21, The Evening Standard reported Monday.

The news comes amidst growing concern about air pollution both in the UK and worldwide.

A joint inquiry from four parliamentary committees published in March called air pollution in the UK, which kills 40,000 people annually, a "national health emergency."

And the most recent State of Global Air report, published this April by the Health Effects Institute, found that 95 percent of humans breathe unsafe air. There is increasing evidence from the scientific community that exposure to particulate matter doesn't just cause circulatory and respiratory illness, but also harms brain development in children, leading University of Rochester environmental medicine Prof. Deborah Cory-Slechta to call it "the next lead."

The UK's efforts to combat climate change could have an added benefit of solving its air pollution woes. Currently, the country has plans to ban the sale of new diesel and gas cars by 2040, The Guardian reported.

But on April 17, Environment Minister Claire Perry announced the country would review its climate goals with the intention of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Bringing forward the diesel-and-gas-new-sales ban could help the country reach that goal. And, as the London Marathon data indicates, it would help its capital breathe easier as well.
Plastic waste is bulldozed at a landfill. Needpix

The plastic recycling model was never economically viable, but oil and gas companies still touted it as a magic solution to waste, selling the American public a lie so the companies could keep pushing new plastic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less
In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch