Air pollution has hit the cobbles in the latest plotline of the soap Coronation Street.

The story focuses on single parent Maria, who starts opposing another resident's efforts to get a Controlled Parking Zone on the street.

Maria's son, Liam, then collapses, struggling to breath.

He is taken to hospital and diagnosed with asthma.

Maria is shocked, comes back a quick convert to controlled parking but wanting to go further.

She cannot understand the refusal of her fellow street dwellers and car drivers to want to stop "killing our children" with pollution.

In a fast moving plot, Maria then moves to direct action, taking a hammer to the local knicker factory's van, when they refuse to withdraw it.

The story has resonance, with so many people in denial about air pollution.

Why do people with children think it is okay to drive everywhere, damaging their children and their own health.

In Wanstead I sometimes think we live in a bubble of denial.

If people want to see a real problem in this area, go and stand on the bridge over the Roding on the Eastern Avenue, just short of Redbridge Roundabout.

The cars are gridlocked, hardly moving, pumping out poison into the atmosphere.

Then walk along the river, through Roding Valley Park - a beautiful place.

But running parallel with the river is the A406 - the noise and air pollution is horrendous.

At these times, you have to wonder what those people who oppose traffic reduction schemes, like school streets, are thinking.

There is some good news on the horizon, with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) coming into effect next month. This will take some polluting vehicles away. But the ULEZ only covers inside the A406 - Wanstead and South Woodford get in but not the rest of Redbridge.

We desperately need to cut pollution across London and beyond - there need to be some dramatic moves made, including implementation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

But at an individual level people need to stop getting the car out at every opportunity.

It is our own and the lungs of our children and children's children that we will be saving.

It is time to come out of denial and face reality.

Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See