Air quality in Newham

Air quality and your health

The damage to our health from air pollution can start as early as birth right the way through to old age. It’s estimated that the equivalent of 40,000 lives are lost each year in the UK and five million across the world due to air pollution. 

Our physical and psychological wellbeing is affected differently by the kind of air pollution we are exposed to causing potential health problems such as: 

  • Respiratory diseases 
  • Cardiovascular damage 
  • Fatigue, headaches and anxiety 
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat 
  • Damage to reproductive organs 
  • Harm to the liver, spleen and blood 
  • Mental health issues 
  • Dementia  
  • Low birth weight leading to premature birth and pregnancy loss. 

What you can do to protect yourself at home

We spend 90% of our time inside so it’s essential that we are breathing clean air. Indoor air pollution comes from many sources and it’s hard to spot, so many people don’t realise they are at risk.

The causes:

  • Heating and cooking
  • Burning items such as solid fuels in stoves, open fires and candles
  • Harmful chemical content in building products, for example paints and varnishes, chipboard furniture, carpets and sofas
  • Fumes from cleaning and personal care products
  • Mould found on your walls and windows.

What you can do:

  • Ventilate your home - Open windows and use extractor fans when cooking or using cleaning products, but close windows near busy roads during rush hours
  • Use fragrance-free milder cleaning products
  • Only burn dry, well-seasoned wood or smokeless fuel on your stove, open fire or barbeque
  • Choose paints and varnishes that are labelled low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

What you can do to protect yourself outside of the home 

Many of us are more aware of the pollution we experience when we are outside but not all of us know how to reduce the exposure or avoid it.

The causes:

  • Vehicles, especially diesel vehicles
  • Cars not being well maintained and tyres not being properly inflated
  • Emissions from deliveries

What you can do:

  • Give your car a day off – walk, cycle or take public transport to work or school, or work from home if you can
  • Discover the side streets – use quieter streets when you’re on a bike or on foot to avoid polluted main roads
  • Go electric – there are lots of ways you can travel electric. Hire an electric car, taxi or test drive an electric vehicle today.
  • Don’t idle – if you drive, turn off your engine when your vehicle is stationary, and it is safe to do so.
  • Use Click and Collect to receive parcels and reduce thea mount of travelling delivery vehicles make.

Report dust, smoke or other nuisances

For complaints about pollution and odour from large industry:


If you think you smell gas, call The National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999

To learn more about air pollution, please visit Air Aware website: For actions Newham are taking to tackle air pollution in the borough, refer to Newham’s Air Quality Action Plan progress and delivery.