In the leadup to the election of London’s newest mayor, Sadiq Khan, air pollution became a major topic amongst the candidates. Now, the first Muslim leader elected to head a major European capital is looking to make London one of the greenest cities in existence.
Khan told one source that he believes London has what it takes to become the front runner in the world’s present fight against climate change, and that he’s looking to continue the dream of his predecessor Boris Johnson, who planned to institute a “clean energy revolution” that would have London running entirely on green energy by the year 2050.
Khan is also stating his own ideas for the future. Thus far, the Mayor has pledged to ban fracking in London, plant two million trees, provide more electric buses, expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and phase out the city’s remaining investments in fossil fuels. Khan explained:
“It’s the right thing to do for our planet, for our health, and for the long-term future of our economy… Green issues aren’t just some add-on to the things we do as a city – they must run through the way we manage our transport system, build new homes and generate the city’s energy. I want London eventually to be a zero-carbon city.”
Khan’s primary focus will be air quality. As many as 10,000 people die each year in London due to the quality of its air, which breached its annual pollution limit for 2016 just one week into the new year. The pollution is also purported to stunt the lungs of children, which are still in development, and the city’s public is calling for the removal of taxis and buses that run on diesel fuel. Khan is aiming to complete this goal by the year 2020. He is also implementing new “clean buses” for areas with the most polluted streets.
Furthermore, the city’s new mayor has divulged plans to increase the city’s recycling and waste reduction efforts. If Khan is successful, London will hit a 65 percent recycling mark by the year 2030.
Regarding Khan’s abilities to get the job done, the Healthy Air Campaign expressed confidently, “Sadiq Khan…is doing the right thing by stepping in to protect the health of local people. Air pollution is an invisible killer, causing heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease… Children living near busy roads have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs, and that’s not acceptable.”