I haven't been to London for a long time, and I wasn't planning to go again any time soon - however my boyfriend wanted to go and see the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena and, as we are both good at tennis and he is an avid Roger Federer fan, we decided to go. He was, of course, devastated that his hero was due to retire from the sport and so we began the journey and headed down for a short break - feeling lucky to just be in time for last minute seats at the arena.
Instead of reciting the whole match - I wish to mention the environmental factors I had witnessed.
Now I live in the middle of countryside in Shropshire where there is a thick and heavy but 'fresh' type of air of which can make you drowsy and tired quite quickly - I call it the 'agricultural whiff' - but I was reawakened, quite literally, to the perceptual reminder of the other types of 'air quality' as we headed through Crewe and then on to London.
Sharp and condensed molecules of oxygen intermingled with a whole host of other VOC's and, within the walls of the underground, it smelt like a musky barrier of heat and sweat as we made our way from station to station. Dust made me choke and plumes of exhaust by London Bridge and The Shard made me want to reach for a glass of water every time. It was an experience of which, having come from 'fresher' air out in the open countryside - to finding myself enclosed in a toxic- smelling cyclic air repetition within the city, I am trying to recover from.
I have heard they are working on this - however, given the sheer scale of London - this certainly seems like a mammoth task to just a wee tourist (and we only hit Greenwich, London Bridge and Euston!). I have set myself a mission to investigate and discover how the Government and Local Councils are working to tackle poor air quality, in London and beyond.
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