East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Pollution in East Dulwich today

I was sitting at my desk with the windows closed and started coughing. Then I became aware of a strong smoky smell.

I have just been outside, and it is really strong.

I am in the North Cross Road area. Does anybody know what it is? Is it connected to building work going on round here, or is it right across East Dulwich?

I have asthma, which is normally completely under control, and this - whatever it is - is really affecting it sad smiley
I have asthma and have been very poorly with it since Sunday...
I use Vicks or even just Vaseline in my nostrils and it helps a bit. Walking well away from the road and standing back as far as possible when waiting at crossings or for the bus helps and dusting/vacuuming/boil-washing sheets and towels often is a help.
Pollution is bad and I am glad that more people are aware of it. Mind, when I very politely asked a man to turn off his idling, diesel engine as he enjoyed a cigar (with all windows closed - must like smoke a lot) he told me to ask the same of all the people who were in their cars but not stationary, ie. driving. Lovely!
I'm beginning to think building work is a bigger polluter than many of us imagine. Don't know if things like building dust, asbestos etc can be measured in same way as car fumes but there is an awful lot of demolition and building work taking place all the time and it seems many more people with respiratory issues.
Might be dust/grinder debris from the Tribeca development on CPR.
I live near North Cross Road and have a pollution particulate monitor - (particles so small they can directly enter the blood system found in diesel fumes and dust. You can get Foobot/Egg particle monitors on Amazon).

On Wednesday morning the particulate level was 16 (it was this level all night. Lowish for Dulwich but not great), but at 9am the level shot up rapidly. By 9.15 it was 95! This is really high. It stayed around this level until around midday then went down to the 30s where it has been ever since (double what it was before).

I am guessing a some grinding was going on on a building site and they didn't bother to follow regulations. I don't think the air will clear fully until it rains.
I don't know if there's generally a problem right now but I've really noticed it recently on my commute. Can really taste it in the air, right across London. I think I might invest in one of the masks for cycling.

Does anyone have any experience with them and do they actually work?
I used to have a cycle mask - I'm sure they do work, but I found it very uncomfortable to wear and it made my skin quite blotchy so I stopped using it!
Interesting. I developed a cough / cold last Sunday. On Wednesday, I was coughing so hard I experienced an episode of temporary memory loss and confusion which the doctors believe was caused by lack of oxygen to the brain as a result of the excessive coughing. Never experienced anything like it before. Extremely unhappy if this was caused by excessive pollution caused by bad practice on building sites.
Bickers Wrote:

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> I used to have a cycle mask - I'm sure they do
> work, but I found it very uncomfortable to wear
> and it made my skin quite blotchy so I stopped
> using it!

On bad days I use a pollution scarf like this: [www.wiggle.co.uk] - much more comfortable than a sealed mask. I assume it's less effective but a good compromise.
BBC report on the So I Can Breathe output online and it said masks don't work, at least the ones that are generally available here. The best we can do is to avoid idling cars, walk well away from the road and stand back whilst waiting for a bus or for the green man at a crossing, etc.
It is a problem that has been getting increasing recognition, which is good. Whether or not anyone will use the power they have in their hands - reducing car journeys, turning off engines when not in use, making sure their fires are using the right kind of fuel, etc = remains to be seen.
Nigello Wrote:

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> BBC report on the So I Can Breathe output online
> and it said masks don't work, at least the ones
> that are generally available here.

That was referring to simple masks - surgical or anti-dust ones, and they are useless against pollution. Proper cycling masks with replacable particulate filters do work (as they said) - the filters get absolutely filthy quite swiftly, it's scary to think how much of that crap has been going into one's lungs.
If you are near a 'building site' (i.e. a development of any size where there are construction workers coming in and out rather than DIY projects) then there are strict rules that apply as regards dust and pollution which is why some of them have mesh up. However in my experience many of the houses being redeveloped around here do not comply. You can inform the council who will send people round- but be aware that the council will tell the builders who complained and you may get harassed.....
be aware that the council will tell the builders who complained and you may get harassed.....
I would find that shocking. Has it happened to you?
You can always report such concern via me and my name been the frame.

uncleglen Wrote:

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> If you are near a 'building site' (i.e. a
> development of any size where there are
> construction workers coming in and out rather than
> DIY projects) then there are strict rules that
> apply as regards dust and pollution which is why
> some of them have mesh up. However in my
> experience many of the houses being redeveloped
> around here do not comply. You can inform the
> council who will send people round- but be aware
> that the council will tell the builders who
> complained and you may get harassed.....

--------------------
Regards cllrjamesbarber@gmail.com
07900 227366
Liberal Democrat Councillor for East Dulwich Ward
Skype cllrjamesbarber
[www.jamesbarber.org.uk]
[twitter.com]
Yes, unfortunately Nigello, it did happen to me -even though on both occasions (2 separate incidents) the council representatives caught the people in the act. It was a few years ago but it has resulted in the whole family never considering complaining about anything ever again
Thank you James for your offer.
> be aware that the council will tell the builders who complained and you may get harassed.....

That was personal information which it would be unlawful for a council to release, and public servants should be habitually aware of their duty not to disclose it. See for example two other councils' assurances to potential complainants about confidentiality: [cms.walsall.gov.uk] and [www.ambervalley.gov.uk]. It's also information that is exempt from an FoI request, as shown in this failure of a person complained about to obtain the information via an FoI request: [www.whatdotheyknow.com].

If a complainant subsequently appears as a witness in court, that's a different matter, and outside the control of the council.

Was it a Southwark officer that you believe released your identity?
nxjen Wrote:

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> Interesting. I developed a cough / cold last
> Sunday. On Wednesday, I was coughing so hard I
> experienced an episode of temporary memory loss
> and confusion which the doctors believe was caused
> by lack of oxygen to the brain as a result of the
> excessive coughing. Never experienced anything
> like it before. Extremely unhappy if this was
> caused by excessive pollution caused by bad
> practice on building sites.


I think it was.

I was going to wander around to see if I could pin down the source, but didn't want to expose myself to the fumes more than I already had been, and it was really really bad out in the street.

If builders (and there are a lot round here at the moment) are flouting regulations, then that is appalling.

Apart from people with existing chest conditions, what about all the babies and young children round here with undeveloped lungs who are breathing in this muck?

Are there fines if builders are caught? If so, are they high enough to be a deterrent?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 12, 11:19am by Sue.

As we enter tree pollen time a number of people will also become impacted by that - I found as I got older that my allergy to grass pollens segued into tree pollens - sadly as well as, not instead of... Whilst in no way 'pollution' this also impacts breathing and general health. At least starting anti-histamines early can partly address this. But, at a time of general poor air quality, it does, for some of us, pile Pelion on Ossa.
Yeh, I'm allergic to some tree pollens.

But I think that is different to having your lungs affected sad smiley
Different, yes, but contributory to both discomfort and (as asthma always can be) possibly life threatening in the very young, the elderly and those already ill. I should have said perhaps that tree-pollen allergies can stimulate both asthma and hay-fever symptoms.
Sue there have been builders for the last few weeks on your road, a few doors down from Foxy, building a loft extension.

I do not know if the builders have a board outside saying who they are and contact details as I have no reason to walk down there but perhaps I will on Monday and take a look.
There has been considerable dust, although I have no idea what they have been cutting/grinding through, just that it seemed to go on for hours.
We have been
keeping doors and windows at the rear tightly closed, and the vents where possible, and not hanging washing out
which is a real nuisance. I could taste something like cement dust in my mouth last week, and sneezing and
sore eyes.

It was possible to see the spread of the dust cascading over gardens : of course as the works are high, a greater dispersement was achieved.
From our upstairs, on CPR, we can see 5 loft conversions in progress. There must be old brick dust, soot, pointing, cement, paint, and cobwebs floating away. In damp heavy air conditions this detritus is bound to linger in the air.

We need heavy rain to keep the dust down.
Elphinstone's Army, there have been loads of builders at loads of houses in the street, and believe me I am well aware of them all big grin
I've developed my first ever lung condition in the past month and been told it's a mild form of asthma. I've never had this before but it coincides with some awful air pollution readings recently in London. Can't understand why this isn't getting more media coverage. This post is being written from the Highlands where I can see hanging lichen on all of the trees....a sign of air purity. I've not had any asthma since being here either. Coincidence?
Weirdly, or not so weirdly, as I'm an asthmatic too, my breathing has been in tip top fettle of late. But then I'm over the hill, on the downlands of Sydenham.
I've started getting a tight chest this winter. It's the first time in my life I've had any sensation like it. I'm hope I'm not getting asthma. I've been following the air pollution readings this winter and they have been terrible. Also I bought an air pollution monitor, and it has just confirmed how bad things are. I used to think the air in leafy Dulwich wouldn't be too bad.... I was so wrong. We are surrounded by pollution hotspots from where it blows over. For example, New Cross seems to have one of the worst particulate (pm2.5) levels in London (even higher than Marylebone Rd!). But it really doesn't help matters at all that in an already badly polluted area so many people burn wood on open fires or stoves. My road has been smelling of woodsmoke all winter.
DovertheRoad Wrote:

of course it isn't coincidence = when we drive back from our house in south west France, where at the edge of our land we have sloes covered in lichen, the closer we arrive to ED the more tense my sinuses become, 'bunged up' and hard to breathe.
After a while we become acclimatised, although we are always aware, as anyone who has been on Primrose HILL or any point north, looking across to Crystal Palace would tell you, that we are in a dip, air flows over us, and mist, fog pollution lingers.

Rain clears the air.


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> I've developed my first ever lung condition in the
> past month and been told it's a mild form of
> asthma. I've never had this before but it
> coincides with some awful air pollution readings
> recently in London. Can't understand why this
> isn't getting more media coverage. This post is
> being written from the Highlands where I can see
> hanging lichen on all of the trees....a sign of
> air purity. I've not had any asthma since being
> here either. Coincidence?
Sue Wrote:

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> Elphinstone's Army, there have been loads of
> builders at loads of houses in the street, and
> believe me I am well aware of them all big grin

ok! hope you soon feel better !
Interesting - there is TFL air quality monitoring going on outside flats on Nine Elms Lane / Battersea Park where there is load of building of towers going on preceeded by lots of concrete crushing on the other side of their road which is oten filled by idling heavy diesel vehicles - local residents there coughing like crazy
The wood burning stove popularity has more to answer for than traffic and building work. The latter two have been part of our local environment for many years, the wood burning stove fashion is new. Can you use smokeless fuel in a wood burning stove? Years ago everyone was very anti burning anything at home that polluted the air - now people do not seem to care.

pinkladybird Wrote:

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> I've started getting a tight chest this winter.
> It's the first time in my life I've had any
> sensation like it. I'm hope I'm not getting
> asthma. I've been following the air pollution
> readings this winter and they have been terrible.
> Also I bought an air pollution monitor, and it has
> just confirmed how bad things are. I used to think
> the air in leafy Dulwich wouldn't be too bad.... I
> was so wrong. We are surrounded by pollution
> hotspots from where it blows over. For example,
> New Cross seems to have one of the worst
> particulate (pm2.5) levels in London (even higher
> than Marylebone Rd!). But it really doesn't help
> matters at all that in an already badly polluted
> area so many people burn wood on open fires or
> stoves. My road has been smelling of woodsmoke all
> winter.

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