The Junction ward is one of Islington’s worst for toxic nitrogen dioxide, with annual levels far in excess of EU permitted levels, according to King’s College London (KCL).
Thousands of people die prematurely every year in London from air pollution, according to KCL, and residents of Islington Junction say they fear heavy traffic in the area is making them particularly vulnerable.
Andrew Grieve, an Air Quality Analyst at KCL says that people are right to be worried, with around 9,000 premature deaths in the city due to air pollution each year.
“You can smell it, the pollution,” Hassan Mustafa, who works forty hours a week at a kiosk at the busy intersection of Junction Road and Holloway Road said. “When I’m away on holiday, I feel much better than when I’m at this corner and same with the weekends when I’m not here,” he said.
Mustafa says he often hears customers complaining about the area’s air pollution, and Sylvia, a Jehovah’s Witness preacher agrees. “I do find I get a throat when I’ve been here, you can hear it’s a bit husky now,” she said.
It’s impossible to say how many people die early in a particular ward, according to Grieve. “But with so many dying each year, it’s likely some at least will be from this area,” he said.
Next year some parts of London will gain some relief from the capital’s dangerous levels of pollution, because of the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone in April, but Archway won’t benefit until it’s extended beyond central London in late 2021.