Taking a side street route when walking through a city cuts a person’s air pollution exposure by half, according to a new study.
Signposting these clean air routes and providing online maps would keep people away from heavily polluted main streets and would benefit their health, the researchers said. In fact the UK group behind the research have developed a new interactive map of London that allows people to put in any route and be shown a low-pollution walking option.
Air pollution is the “world’s largest single environmental health risk”, according to the World Health Organisation, with 80% of the world’s urban population now living in cities that exceed WHO standards for pollution.
The new research was conducted in London, which has illegally high levels of toxic air. The team from King’s College London analysed seven popular routes through the city, with different researchers simultaneously walking along main road and backstreet routes while carrying pollution measuring equipment.