photo by bcmacsac1 (Flickr CC)

From London fog to LA smog, citizens groups are up in arms over air quality in the big city.

In the 80s Los Angeles was famous for its smog, caused by endless highways choked with the exhaust of millions of cars. Like the Missing Persons song says, “nobody walks in LA”.

Apparently everyone has asthma instead.

Things have gotten better since the heady 80s and emissions standards have become stricter, but LA is still really smoggy. One study even found that air pollution kills more people in the region than even auto accidents.

Los Angeles is the smoggiest region in the nation, according to the American Lung Assn.’s 2011 State of the Air report. Scientific studies have found that ozone inflames the respiratory system, causing asthma attacks, hospitalizations and premature deaths. “Angelenos continue to breathe smoggy air that makes people sick, forcing mothers to question whether to allow children to play outside on dirty-air days.  These are choices mothers should not have to make,” Martinez said.

–LA Times

Since LA is failing to live up to national clean air standards and the US Environmental Protection Agency is not calling the city out on it, environmental and public health groups are suing the EPA.

Read more on that story in the LA Times.

On the other side of the pond, London isn’t fairing much better. Once home to “pea soup” “London fogs”, London has the worst air pollution in the UK and one of the worse levels in Europe.

Last Saturday a group of citizen activists got on their bikes, took to the streets on and literally lay down in the middle of the road (like The Pretenders song), stopping traffic in central London for a few minutes.

Check out the video from Climate Rush below and read more about the story on Demotix.