In early July, I travel to London to meet Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who is fighting for children’s health in London after her daughter Ella died of asthma triggered by air pollution. Rosamund and Ella lived near Catford Bridge by the busy South Circular Road. Ella died in 2013 after suffering from seizures for three years and making 27 visits to the hospital. She was not even 10 years old.
An asthma and air pollution expert in the UK linked her death to spikes in nitrogen dioxide and PM10 particulates that breached legal limits. Five years later, in 2018, with evidence of the health harm of air pollution growing, Rosamund petitioned the attorney general to get a fresh inquest into Ella’s death and have air pollution listed as a reason for death on her death certificate.
She got a major boost in 2019 when the UK’s attorney general said that the high court should consider the application and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan backed the call. This makes international headlines.
It is a fellow journalist Beth Gardiner’s article in The Guardian which had alerted me to Ella’s case. I first met Beth in New Delhi in 2015 when she was researching air pollution from ground zero for her book, Choked,