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Tower Hamlets residents call for their streets to be reclaimed from toxic air

The Clean Air Café was an event held by Friends of the Earth Hackney and Tower Hamlets, Our Air Our Health and Poplar HARCA, where the groups asked residents to vote on the most effective measures to tackle air pollution locally. Presented with campaigns on a ‘car free day’, cycling, addressing business air pollution impacts and transforming streets through pedestrianisation, voters overwhelmingly chose the last option to ‘reclaim the streets’.

Kate Hand, from Friends of the Earth Hackney and Tower Hamlets, said: ‘We know that Tower Hamlets has some of the most polluted air in the UK, largely caused by motor traffic, and it’s damaging the health of residents, particularly children, the elderly and those who already have respiratory problems.’

Nick Martin, Environmental Innovation Coordinator at Poplar HARCA said ‘We’re excited to be working collaboratively with these passionate organisations and local residents to address this public health threat. In partnership with Tower Hamlets Council we plan to make improvements to local air quality that will set an example across London and beyond’.

Alexandra Moore from Our Air Our Health said, ‘Over 60% of schools and colleges in Tower Hamlets are exposed to illegal levels of NO2, which is having a detrimental effect on the health of children in the Borough. To tackle this, we need proactive measures put in place in our communities to significantly reduce levels of air pollution.’

Following the Clean Air Café, the three organisations will be welcoming residents to discuss how to take the campaign forward, and how to fight for clean air for all at Bow Brew Café, St Paul’s Way on Thursday 12th October from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.