People living in London’s most deprived boroughs are up to twice as likely to die of lung cancer, asthma and other lung diseases than those in wealthier areas.
New figures from the British Lung Foundation show residents of Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking and Dagenham are especially at risk.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has vowed to take action in the wake of the report, which showed the capital failed to meet the legal requirements for pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).
It revealed almost 10,000 Londoners die every year because of polluted air.
The figures given are based on data covering 2008-2012 and assume an average risk of death from lung diseases is 1.
In Tower Hamlets the risk was 1.292, with Newham and Greenwich recording risks of 1.205 and 1.162 respectively.
However, residents of the adjacent City of London had a less than average risk of 0.7281.
A few miles away in some of London’s wealthiest boroughs the risk was 0.6969 in Westminster and 0.6424 in Kensington and Chelsea.
Sadiq said: “This deeply concerning report shines a light on the huge health inequalities in London as well as how poor air quality is a ticking time-bomb for our health, particularly for Londoners in the most deprived parts of the city.
“I am determined to get to grips with health inequalities in harder-to-reach groups and in London’s most vulnerable communities – something the previous Mayor dismally failed to do.
“One of the best ways to do this is to tackle London’s dangerously polluted air and make sure that breathing clean air is a right, not a privilege.”
Last month, the Sadiq said his predecessor Boris Johnson had failed to publish a major report that demonstrated 433 schools in the capital were located in areas that exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution and that four-fifths of those were in deprived areas.
The report showed that between 2003-2012 residents of Newham were the Londoners most likely to die from asthma with a relative risk of 1.498 and those in Tower Hamlets were the most likely to die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the second most likely to die from lung cancer.
Both boroughs fared better in the risk of deaths from mesothelioma and pneumonia.
The report found the average prevalence of COPD had increased by a third across London between 2004 to 2013, rising from 1,443 cases per 100,000 people to 1,925 cases.
Following the report the Mayor has announced plans to clean up London’s air by and will launch a formal policy consultation in the next few weeks.
Proposals include extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road, possibly before 2020, making drivers of the most polluting vehicles pay an extra congestion charge from 2017 and introducing ULEZ standards for heavy vehicles London-wide from 2020.
He also wants to give the go-ahead for Transport for London to draw up plans for a diesel scrappage scheme as part of a wider national Government scheme and will lobby Westminster to tackle air pollution.
He has also joined ClientEarth’s High Court challenge of the Government’s air pollution plans as an Interested Party.
Chief executive of the British Lung Foundation Dr Penny Woods said: “We know air pollution can have a detrimental effect on the health of our most vulnerable citizens both today and tomorrow and could cause lasting damage. We are pleased to see that the Mayor is taking action to reduce pollution in London.”
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