© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


Dirty London: face mask reveals how much pollution we breathe in each day

Posted at 1:15 pm, December 8, 2014 in News

air pollution ©david holt
© David Holt

Grab your face masks, people. Cyclist John Lenehan has just released a picture revealing the amount of dirt that accumulated in his mask filters after cycling to work and taking the Underground, and it’s disgusting.


See all that black stuff on those pads up there. That my friends is the amount of dirty pollution we’re breathing in on our daily commutes. We’d heard about the air on Oxford street being toxic, but this is pretty shocking.

After developing a nasty cough and irritable throat John decided to get himself kitted up with a face mask to see if it made any difference. The anti-pollution mask is designed to filter pollutants so you just breathe in clean air. He cycled in to work wearing the mask for just four hours and found the filters blackened by trapped dirt.

Understandably this made him reassess his commute so he decided to take the train instead. But did that make things better? Oh no, the similarly blackened face pad in the middle is the result of taking the Underground for three hours. A lose-lose situation, then.

There are new plans to drastically improve our air quality, but will they be good enough? Bojo has confirmed a plan to tackle this serious problem with £330 million of funding to help create an ultra-low emission zone (by 2020), deliver 2,400 new hybrid buses and 300 new electric buses (by 2020), and support black cab drivers affected by a new ten-year age limit proposed for non-zero emission capable taxis (in force from 2018).

We’ve got a while to wait though so maybe invest in an a couple of office plants for now to even things out.

air pollution  ©Señor Codo

© Señor Codo

Take a look at the TfL plans here.

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