Ella Kissi-Debrah is thought to be the first person to have air pollution listed as a cause of death. The 9-year-old died in 2013 after a heart attack brought on by her severe asthma. The coroner determined on Wednesday that she “died of asthma contributed to by exposure to excessive air pollution.” Kissi-Debrah grew up near one of the most heavily trafficked roads in London. The coroner said both the onset of her asthma and her death were influenced by the pollutant conditions of the road near her home.
The mayor of London released a statement in support of Kissi-Debrah’s family, saying, “Ministers and the previous Mayor have acted too slowly in the past, but they must now learn the lessons from the Coroner’s ruling and do much more to tackle the deadly scourge of air pollution in London and across the country.” Kissi-Debrah’s mother said she hoped to see a public health campaign come from this. “We've got the justice for her which she so deserved," Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, Ella’s mother said. “Also it’s about other children still as we walk around our city of high levels of air pollution."