Air pollution: a letter from … a GP

Dear Rachel,

I found you this morning and you said I was not welcome to join you at Tea Time. I think I would just like to have you tell me why. Why? Why do I not belong there? Why is this place so mean?

But the reason you find me so unwelcome is that I wear a face mask to avoid breathing polluted air.

You belong at the Heart of London, your local health authority. It seems to be worse here than anywhere else in the UK and indeed the world.

You can’t wear a face mask in your neighbourhood health authority, rather than have people notice what is happening when you are at work. But what a shame, you say – are you a militant? Someone who only wants to make people sick.

At every workplace I am in, people have been complaining about their health and feeling ill. But you would only be told about this on one occasion, a written response that went into the archives. When I asked why you didn’t do something sooner, you told me this is an early warning system for air pollution and it should have been there earlier.

I am not only concerned for my health. I find it morally wrong that what should be a place of peace, community and support has become a hostile place. Why should I welcome you at this time when people are feeling so alone and not feeling safe?

I hope you get it soon. You were nice when you first contacted me, rather than think a face mask would make the air safe. Is that being militant? Are you saying that I should just keep quiet when I want to show people my face?

Please come down here, eat with me, and take off the mask.

Sincerely, Rachel

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