London exceeds legal air pollution limit for all of 2018 in 1st month of year

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
February 09, 2018, 1:49:29 PM EST

London exceeded its legal smog limit for the entire year in the first month of 2018 alone.

While on the surface the limit date sounds early, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that it was the nearly first January in 18 years to go without hitting the limit.

Pollution levels in London have been considered toxic and illegal since 2010.

According to The Guardian, hourly measurements of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) cannot exceed 200 micograms per cubic metre more than 18 times during the entire year.

london pollution smog

People are reflected in a window as pollution is seen over the Canary Wharf business district from a viewing area of the 95-storey skyscraper The Shard, the tallest building in Britain at 309.6 metres, in London, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

London air quality levels are measured every hour. The London Air Quality Network uses equipment at breathing height from various points around the capital. The data is downloaded at King's College and distributed to the public.

Brixton Road in south-central London was the site to hit the legal limit first on 30 January.

Mayor Khan has made an effort to improve air quality across London during his term.

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He issued a tax for older, dirtier cars operating in central London and issued low emission bus zones, targeting the most polluted routes first.

However, he called on the government to assist, saying he "can't tackle London's killer air" on his own.

Just a week before hitting the legal limit, Mayor Khan issued a "very high" pollution alert for the first time as part of a new alert system.

Warnings are now seen at bus stops, road signs and underground stations.

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