For the first time in British legal history a court in the UK has listed air pollution as a reason for death.
Speaking in the case of a nine-year-old girl from south London’s Lewisham neighbourhood, Coroner Phillip Barlow said the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah eight years ago was caused by air pollution which had “made a material contribution” to her death.
He went on to say that said there is “no safe level of particulate matter” in the environment with a recommendation that British limits on so-called acceptable levels of air pollution limits be slashed.
Mr. Barlow’s initial ruling in the case was made last year making Ella the first person in UK history to have officially died as a result of air pollution poisoning.
Rosamund Adoo- Kissi-Debrah, the mother of Ella, also said that “children are dying unnecessarily because the government is not doing enough to combat air pollution”.
“As the parent of a child suffering from severe asthma, I should have been given this information (about air pollution in the UK) but this did not happen,” she added.
“Because of a lack of information I did not take the steps to reduce Ella’s exposure to air pollution that might have saved her life. I will always live with this regret. But it is not too late for other children.”
Ella’s mother was referring to the coroner’s recommendation that more information about the dangers of air pollution be made available to the public.
The inquest into Ella’s death had discovered levels of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) near her home in Lewisham exceeded both WHO and EU guidelines.
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