Doctors and other health professionals have urged the Mayor of London to ban diesel vehicles from the capital due to fears over air pollution.
Doctors Against Diesel, a group of hundreds of health professionals and medical students, assembled alongside central London’s Euston Road, one of the most polluted roads in the capital, to launch their campaign.
The group is calling on Sadiq Khan to ban diesel in urban areas and to progressively phase it out elsewhere.
Protesters also held up a giant “9,400” - the number of people who are dying each year as a result of London’s poor air quality.
Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of the London Cycling Campaign said: “A zero harm transport system should be the ultimate destination.
“Slashing air pollution by phasing out diesel and helping people switch to walking, cycling and public transport is critical to reaching it.”
Greenpeace campaigner Areeba Hamid said: “The number of people affected by air pollution in the capital is alarming and our health professionals have to deal with the consequences every day.
“Today, they have come together to demand for bold action, which can make a real difference to the air we breathe. The days of dirty diesel are over, governments need to support clean transport and hold car companies accountable for selling products that exceed legal and health limits.”
But some criticised the plan as “fairly impractical”.
According to the BBC, Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “We all want to clean up air quality but you’ve got to give time, you’ve got to give incentives.
“Yes get rid of the worst offenders but I think a blanket ban would just backfire.”
The campaign comes after Londoners were warned not to drive on Monday as air pollution levels in the city soared.
Simon Birkett, founder and director of Clean Air in London, urged Khan to issue an official warning as forecasts for moderate to high levels of pollution were published.
The London Assembly Environment Committee is currently examining the measures suggested by the mayor to tackle air pollution in the capital, including a “T-charge” levy on the worst-polluting vehicles and clean bus corridors.