My first book - Clearing the Air: the beginning and the end of air pollution - was published by Bloomsbury in March, 2019. It was one of six books shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

Like many people, I had become increasingly alarmed by the headlines regarding the health effects of air pollution. Living in London at the time, I was confronted with a jarring reality: here was a rich capital city, known for its tree-lined streets and plentiful parks, and yet it had some of the worst diesel pollution in the world. Air pollution is killing people in the UK in the tens of thousands every year, and across the world in the millions. Yet, despite being a sustainability journalist, I didn't really know the science behind these figures.

What is air pollution? Where does it come from? Why is it bad for our health? And - perhaps most importantly - what can we do about it?

My journey for the answers took me much further afield than just London, incorporating Delhi, Beijing, Paris, Helsinki and, er, Milton Keynes. While shocked by the impact air pollution has on societies, I also found an optimistic vision for how cities can start clearing the air. The answers, the solutions, are within our grasp...

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Is air pollution causing us to lose our sense of smell?

For many people, a bout of Covid-19 gave a first taste (or rather a lack of it) of what it is like to lose their sense of smell. Known as "anosmia", loss of smell can have a substantial effect on our overall wellbeing and quality of life. But while a sudden respiratory infection might lead to a temporary loss of this important sense, your sense of smell may well have been gradually eroding away for years due to something else – air pollution.

How I earned my dad stripes and built a zebra crossing

Never have I been so pleased to see a boy racer. It’s July 2019 and I’m standing next to a busy B road in Banbury, Oxfordshire, with an unusual delegation of adults. I say “adults” because it’s school pick-up time, 3pm, and we aren’t with any children. I have invited the local councillor to see how this main road near a school, with no pedestrian crossing, forces parents and children to run across and hope for the best, twice a day...

The Hay Festival: Tim Smedley talks to Andy Fryers

Globally, 18,000 people die each day from air pollution, a far greater number than those who die from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and car crashes combined. The overwhelming majority of air pollutants are local, short-lived and can be stopped at source. The benefits to health are instant and dramatic, and we can all play a part in clearing our air. Award-winning sustainability journalist Tim Smedley explains how.

Five ways to avoid air pollution where you live

Air pollution is the top environmental risk to health in the UK. Thursday is Clean Air Day, which aims to highlights the risks of air pollution and encourage people to change their habits to help make the air we breathe cleaner. With most forms of air pollution invisible to the naked eye, how can you avoid inhaling the pollutants where you live? Environmental journalist and author Tim Smedley shares his five top tips in the video above. Air pollution is a combination of gases such as nitrogen o

Deadly air in our cities: the invisible killer

"In the winter you can taste and smell the pollution,” says Kylie ap Garth, drinking coffee in a cafe in Hackney, east London. “My eldest is eight and he has asthma. Being outside, he would have a tight chest and cough. I just assumed it was the cold weather. I didn’t realise there was a link to the cars.” She is not exaggerating. The main road from Bethnal Green tube station is clogged with traffic, the smell of diesel fumes mixing with smoke from barbecue grill restaurants and construction dust.