Last week’s tragedy at Grenfell Tower has irrevocably scarred North Kensington. Without weighing in on the social and political questions arising from this event, this blog takes a brief look at some environmental elements that Green Westway feels are important.
Air pollution monitoring
Air pollution is a major cause for concern. The potential levels of asbestos and dioxins relating to the Grenfell Tower debris, not to mention the impact of any future dismantling, mean that the local air quality requires immediate monitoring.
While a recent Kings College London report derived from routine ambient monitoring did not pick anything unusual up during the blaze (the potential groundings in Brent that can be in contextualised here ), this does not account for asbestos, dioxins, or other non-traffic noxious emissions that could have emanated from the fire.
After an email exchange with Kings College, we were put in touch with BRE, who might be able to collect samples to for analysis in a specialist laboratory, and they have subsequently passed our query on to Public Health England – we have not yet received a response.
Current Council recommendations are here – https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/newsroom/all-council-statements/public-health-advice-following-grenfell-tower-fire
If anyone can help monitor please be in touch
Indoor air quality
The concern about air pollution will be most strongly felt by those living immediately around the Tower – Lancaster West Estate, Silchester Estate, Bramley House, and the surrounding roads. Indoor air quality in these homes could be compromised by the Tower debris.
Although planting is no silver bullet for reducing air pollution, local people need to have access to plants that can help mitigate it. We are still awaiting responses from local plant nurseries to help. In the interim we propose a plant giveaway for these homes, if you can help provide plants (from this NASA research list), please be in touch.
Public realm planting
In the medium to long term we feel that there is a need promote planting around the site as a natural memorial to the tragedy that can improve local health and quality of life in the long term. We hope to plant one tree for every flat in the tower around the area, and have been in touch with a number of organisations to try to push this forward. Please be in touch if you can help.