A TikToker has made it her mission to reveal the tube stations and lines where the air quality is toxic, with some showing pollution 30 times worse than congested roads above.
Despite transport bosses being urged to reduce pollution on the London Underground network back in 2019 after it was found to be 30 times higher than on busy roads in the capital, not much has improved since then, as revealed in a TikToker’s worrying videos.
At the time, the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) warned Transport for London it was “likely that there is some health risk associated with exposure to underground PM,” tiny particles known as “particulate matter.” In its first study looking into the issue since 1998, COMEAP found underground particles were larger in size and concentration than those in outdoor air above ground. Long story short, this is bad news for the millions of daily commuters.
Tanya Beri, founder of CAIR London, a mobile app coming to the city to help London Underground users reduce their air pollution exposure, is on a mission to expose just how toxic the air we breathe on the tube is. “Whilst it’s without a doubt one of the best transportation systems in the world, I discovered that using it was exposing us to PM2.5 (air pollution) up to 7x above the World health organisation’s recommended safe limit. […] I went off to research air pollution issues in the UK and was shocked to discover how polluted the London Underground was,” Beri writes on her website.
Over on TikTok, the researcher is raising awareness one video at a time by measuring which tube lines and tube stops have the most polluted air in order to help commuters travel on a safer and healthier journey.
Find out which London Underground lines and stations to avoid below. But first, wanna know why the air is so polluted in the first place?
The Elizabeth line is somewhat safe
Keeping in mind that 25ug/m3 is the UK’s recommended safe limit to PM2.5 (aka air pollution), it’s kind of reassuring (and yet still scary) that the newly-built Elizabeth line falls just above, at around 25.4ug/m3.
Still, that makes Lizzy the least polluted line:
Newsflash: Oxford Circus is a nightmare
Excuse me, eight times above the UK’s recommended safe limit for air pollution? I don’t need to shop that bad.
Avoid the Jubilee line between Finchley Road and Baker Street
Need I say more?
Battersea Power Station is unhealthy, but better than the rest of the Northern line
Given that it’s home to the Northern line, one of the most polluted lines on the tube, Battersea Power Station’s air pollution is not too bad. Or at least, it’s significantly lower than any other journey along the line.
Warren Street’s a big no-no
It’s home to two of the most polluted underground lines, and is within close walking distance to both Euston and Euston Square stations. As you can see in the clip below, we have two very high PM2.5 readings across both the Victoria and Northern line platforms.
The Metropolitan line’s air pollution is pretty moderate
Moderate air pollution is almost a win compared to what we’ve seen so far.
Holborn’s just as toxic as your ex
The Victoria line takes the crown for highest readings Beri has seen
Stockwell station’s Victoria line platform is the most polluted station on the tube map, with a shocking exposure of 639ug/m3, which is 25 times higher than the recommended exposure of 25ug/m3.
Bonus videos, from ghost-hunting to exposing those across the pond