‘This wouldn’t happen in Surrey’: a building site, petrol-like smell, and demands for an investigation over health fears


n west London, 19-year-old Sufiyan Abdul-Qayum is explaining that the Clear Air for Southall and Hayes (Money) marketing campaign, of which he’s the youngest member, need solutions. They’re involved a few improvement on the location of a former gasworks and chemical compounds manufacturing facility — and the impact it’s having on their well being.

Since work started on the 88-acre web site in 2016, residents who reside close to the Berkeley Group Waterside redevelopment have complained of a petrol-like odor from the location which they consider has been making them sick. Complaints embrace the onset and worsening of bronchial asthma, eye irritation, respiration issues, nausea, psychological confusion, and severe sicknesses resembling lung most cancers.

Abdul-Qayum, who works in a financial institution, says his well being deteriorated when the work started. Particularly his bronchial asthma, which had beforehand been fairly delicate, grew to become quite a bit worse.

“I keep in mind being at college and never with the ability to breathe and being requested by the headmaster if my mother and father smoked however they didn’t. He stated he thought it was due to the place I reside. I then learn on-line about different individuals within the space struggling so I made a decision to affix the marketing campaign.”

Greater than half of Southall’s inhabitants are south Asian, and over 90 per cent are black or Asian. Additionally it is one among Britain’s most disadvantaged areas — life expectancy for males right here is six years lower than in close by Hanger Hill.


Centric Lab, a neuroscience analysis organisation that appears to assist enhance public well being, notably for these dealing with poor outcomes, not too long ago performed analysis that means the primarily south Asian neighborhood is extremely vulnerable to air air pollution. Araceli Camargo, Centric Lab’s co-founder, argues that the particular challenges to the well being of individuals in Southall, resembling overcrowding, stress and poverty, ought to have been evaluated earlier than a significant new supply of air air pollution was launched.

Berkeley Group, Ealing council and the Setting Company all deny that the works have had any unfavorable affect on individuals’s well being. Berkeley Group beforehand took steps to mitigate the unhealthy odour on the web site and stated that air pollution ranges are nicely beneath unacceptable ranges. Public Well being England has additionally stated there was “minimal” danger to well being on the web site.

The marketing campaign group is just not giving up, nevertheless, and is demanding a correct investigation. Abdul-Qayum says native residents don’t really feel they’re being listened to by their native council and believes that if the world close to the works was primarily occupied by white middle-class individuals, that it could be a distinct situation. “This is able to not occur in a white space. This wouldn’t occur in a richer space. It wouldn’t occur in Surrey,” he says. “We really feel utterly ignored.”

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