Quantcast

London Marathon Leads to 89% Drop in Air Pollution

Health + Wellness
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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Ketura Persellin

Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kaitlyn Berkheiser

While enjoying an occasional alcoholic beverage is unlikely to harm your health, drinking in excess can have substantial negative effects on your body and well-being.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
MStudioImages / E+ / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Backpacking is an exciting way to explore the wilderness or travel to foreign countries on a budget.

Read More Show Less
Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less