Tuesday, 20 March 2012

How to get my vote

It seemed that half of tonight's evening standard was dedicated to the mayoral race kicking off this week in London and it got me thinking about what the mayor could do for London from a health perspective.

Interestingly my brother in law also sent me this link on how some scientists have theorized that air pollution could cause obesity by increasing appetite.

It's an interesting article and worth a read, but it's not the only reason why pollution can make you overweight - the body stores toxins in fat cells when it can't process them so if you are exposed to a lot of pollutants it may encourage your body to store more fat. This can also be why someone can hit a weight loss plateau where they can't shift the last six pounds because the body doesn't want to release the toxins stored in the fat cells.

Now I'm not suggesting the mayoral candidates encourage us all to do a detox to shift our spare pounds, but there is lots within their power that they could do to reduce exposure.

- encourage individuals onto public transport by cutting fares

- add new cycle lanes and walking routes that aren't alongside roads to reduce toxin inhalation and encourage the less confident cyclists who don't want to risk it with lorries

- plant more trees across the capital and add mini gardens throughout the city for localised CO2 uptake

- encourage the city's businesses to explore environmentally friendly working practices such as letting employees work from home two days a week, using video conferencing for internal meetings rather than flying in colleagues from other offices and running bike to work schemes to buy discounted bicycles

- have regular green days where sections of London are temporarily pedestrianised/made car free zones

- introduce trams to replace some bus routes and have some of these routes restricted to electric vehicles only

- start active monitoring of pollutants and pedestrian traffic by area focussing measures on the most polluted routes with the most pedestrian/bicycle traffic on it

- introduce tougher New York Style smoking laws banning smoking from public outdoor spaces such as parks and squares

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