Living in London and calling it an ‘experience’ would be an understatement. From its distinct architecture all the way to its multicultural society, it’s a place like no other. You don’t truly appreciate the beauty of London until you sit down in a rooftop bar at night and watch the building lights glimmer from afar. It’s moments like this when you overlook the whole city of London and realise the potential it has in transforming itself (a decade or so down the line) into one of the world’s most hi-tech ‘smart cities’.
Don’t get me wrong not everything is daisies and roses, just like any other overpopulated city around the world, it has its flaws too. I’m not talking about its cramped and sweaty underground tubes, I’m referring to the supposed ‘air’ we breathe within the city. It’s obvious that London suffers from air pollution, and it’s no surprise why as the effects of global warming have become more apparent than ever before. But as a city, what are we actually doing to tackle the issue?
Take some inspiration
Let’s take China for example, a nation that suffers from extreme levels of air pollution, but at the same is actually taking initiatives to counteract the problem. In 2015 it unveiled plans for its ‘Liuzhou Forest City’, a smog-eating metropolis designed by an Italian firm Stefano Boeri. That’s right, a whole forest city set to be built in southern China by 2020. The 342-acre city will comprise of buildings for citizens such as homes, schools and hospitals — however all of them will be covered with 40,000 trees and up to one million plants. That means a whopping 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of other pollutants are expected to be absorbed, and 900 tons of oxygen produced throughout the city per year. Did I forget to mention, it also takes advantage of geothermal energy, and employs thousands of solar panels to provide renewable energy around the city? The whole concept just screams vegan, right?
Now imagine if we were to implement ideas such as these into the city of London? Just think how beneficial it would be not just for the environment, but also for the livelihood of its citizens. Did you know air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year? This cost the NHS almost £157 million last year alone, and is predicted to skyrocket up to £18.6 billion by 2035 should we continue on our current path. I’m no good at maths but I know that’s a lot of money, money that could be better spent elsewhere for the betterment of our environment.
We’re living in a strange time, we all know global warming exists. But, instead of facing it head on as a majority, we sit back and go about our lives completely oblivious to what we’re doing to our planet.
Let’s be honest, we all have the capability to progress towards an environmentally friendly future.
So whilst our city waits for a knight in shining armour who will happily provide millions of pounds for the technological enhancements needed for improving our environment, let’s all make a conscious effort to do our bit. Whether that’s reducing our carbon footprint by biking to work or recycling more of our rubbish, let’s all ensure we’re looking after our planet… whilst it’s still around.