Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Protestors At LCY Send A Clear Message

Left: Photo courtesy of Mike Russell.

Protestors from Plane Stupid and Fight the Flights sent a clear message to London City Airport today: to stop polluting the air, damaging the environment and making the poorest people pay for the rich.

Whilst LCY and BA celebrated the introduction of a ludricously polluting flight to New York each day, it was highlighted that those 32 people in the A318 are the same number of people who will die in London from air pollution in the time it takes for the return journey.

Protestors laid down three doll corpses with posters highlighting the number of premature deaths in London each year from air pollution.

Aviation fuel has a number of additives which are harmful to human life. Benzene is one, and is connected with childhood leukeamia. Pollution from London City Airport is estimated to travel as far as 20 miles downwind of the runway affecting some of the most densely populated residential areas in the UK. PM10s are small particulate matter which are present in the air from emissions and these are also harmful to human health, and are linked to a variety of diseases, including asthma. Newham has the highest mortality rates in under 30's with asthma in the whole of the country. Residents in Beckton have expressed their concern at what they state are the high level of incidents of childhood leukeamia in their communities.

We're sure that the 32 passengers on the A318 today didn't spend a moment thinking about how their choice to fly in a disproportionately polluting aircraft would affect the children at Drew Road Primary School, or indeed any of the schools beneath the low level flight path, nor some of the poorest and most socially deprived communities in the country. But it's about time they did.

British Airways is very good at spinning environmental greenwash and rhetoric, but in reality it appears that it is not worth the paper it is written on and todays launch is no better evidence of that.

Perhaps British Airways should speak to a few of the residents beneath their flight path in East London that are forced to use ventolin each day as a result of poor air quality and with awareness that the air above London City Airport is already exceeding EU recommended levels by 50%. It is quite shameful.

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