PICTURED: Ella Kissi-Debrah (Image: The Ella Roberta Family Foundation)
THE MOTHER of a girl whose fatal asthma attack has been linked to air pollution has been granted permission by the attorney general to apply for a new inquest into her death.
Ella Kissi-Debrah was nine years old when she suffered a deadly asthma attack in February 2013.
Ella, who lived in Lewisham, south London, metres away from one of London’s busiest roads, had suffered seizures for years as a result of her asthma.
Around the time of her death, local pollution levels rose in excess of the legal EU limits.
Since her death, Ella’s mother, Rosamund, has fought to prove that her daughter’s death was linked to air pollution.
“Nothing will bring my beautiful, bright, bubbly child back, but now at least I may get answers about how she died and whether it was air pollution which snatched her away from us.
“Now I hope a new inquest will make those in power realise that our children are dying as a result of the air that they breathe. This cannot go on,” The Guardian reported she said.
The attorney general’s decision has now paved the way for a new inquest to determine whether ‘unlawfully high levels of air pollution’ played a part in her death.
If the inquest concludes that there was a connection, Ella’s will be the first individual death officially linked to illegal levels of air pollution.
The Ella Roberta Family Foundation was established in memory of the schoolgirl.
The foundation, which campaigns for local and national government to act on cleaning the country’s air, said the inquest will put further pressure on the authorities to do something.
Ella’s original 2014 inquest found that she died of acute respiratory failure and severe asthma. She was not born with the condition.
A report into the cause of her death concluded that there was a “striking association” between when Ella was admitted to hospital as the result of an attack and spikes in the levels of dangerous pollutants in the air around where she lived.
On Twitter, Greenpeace UK responded to the news that a new inquest will take place.
It said: “There’s new evidence linking Ella Kissi-Debrah’s death to illegal levels of air pollution. It’s right that there should be a new inquest.”
Doctors against Diesel, an alliance of health professionals and scientists campaigning for the phasing out of diesel vehicles, welcomed the news that a second inquest could be conducted.
It tweeted: “Pleased to hear a fresh inquest has been agreed into Ella’s death.”
The attorney general’s decision comes after it was revealed that air quality on the London Underground was 30 times worse than that on busy roads in the city.
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