TOXford Circus. The circus you wouldn't want to go to.
- 12 Posts
The road many Londoners have now dubbed TOXford Street, is in the limelight for having the highest levels of pollution in Europe and possibly the world.
London's (in)famous shopping district popular with locals and tourist alike has unacceptably high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide.
And it's not hard to see why, take a stroll down Oxford Street (albeit whilst holding your breath) and you'll notice the endless streams of red busses, broken only by the odd black cab.
As the summer holidays approach many young people may pay a visit to Oxford Street, and that leads me to question, is it safe for young people to visit Oxford Street?
It's unlikely that the levels of pollution will be fatal immediately. But on a long-term basis, they could have tragic consequences for whoever inhales them. Whether that be in 20 years or 50 years makes no difference.
Unfortunately for traders in and around Oxford Street, I therefore have chosen to avoid the smog-strewn streets. And have instead decided that I will visit Europe's largest shopping Westfield, and I'm sure many others will do the same. After all, it's more convenient. It's got more to offer. But most importantly it's pollution free.
The question is though, how do I get to TOXford Street or if I'm avoiding the dirty air, Westfield? Well the tube of course. It's quick. It's reliable. It's everything you want an underground system to be. Well expect for the rats. And the gusts of winds. And the lack of empty seats. And the POLLUTION. Yes, you read rightly the tube is a hotspot for pollution. In fact 20 minutes on the Northern line is the equivalent to 1 cigarette, according to research undergone by UCL in 2002. That's your average journey from Archway to Bank, passing through 9 stops. Perhaps the tube should come with a health warning, I mean it isn't seeming that safe after all..
What can be done to stop pollution in and under London?
Ideally the busiest areas such as Oxford Street would be made car-free to avoid dangerous levels of pollution for your average pedestrian. And in regards to the tube, well ideally an improved ventilation system would be instated, removing all the unclean air. Such a system would cost billions. But realistically this just isn't going to happen so instead I advise:
- Walk on the inside of the pavement, as far away from the
traffic as possible, to avoid breathing in nasty air
- Take the bus if you can, as it probably has a higher air quality than the tube, (it's also cheaper).
- Avoid busy roads, take the slightly less scenic route through back-streets, and avoid the rush, and unnecessary air pollution.
If you can think of any more ways to avoid pollution, feel free to comment below.