Londoners warned today to avoid strenuous outdoor activities due to pollution
Londoners have been warned to avoid strenuous outdoor activities on Friday due to potentially dangerous levels of air pollution.
The UK-AIR government website last night predicted a rare episode of ‘very high’ pollution, ranked 10/10 for possible damage – the first such assessment in the city since March 2018.
Although this rating has since been revised to 8/10 on Friday morning, adults and children in London who have lung problems still need to cut back on strenuous exercise in the city today.
Friday’s poor air quality is due to a high-pressure area blanketing western Europe, leading to a lack of air movement, meaning pollutants aren’t being blown away.
Central London is hardest hit, although 8/10-rated areas include Hampstead to the north, Uxbridge to the west and Hackney to the east.
The main pollutants in London are particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), many of which come from vehicle exhaust.
Central London is hardest hit, although areas rated 8/10 are Hampstead to the north, Uxbridge to the west and Hackney to the east
10/10 AIR POLLUTION BANDING
Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems and the elderly should avoid strenuous physical activity.
People with asthma may find that they need to use their inhaler more often.
Reduce physical exertion, especially outdoors, especially if you develop symptoms such as a cough or sore throat.
The 10/10 prediction was first spotted by London-based nonprofit Clean Air, which posted warnings on Twitter.
“It’s probably a short, intense episode caused by the build-up of emissions from buildings and traffic for several days in calm air over London,” Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, told MailOnline.
‘Londoners stew in their own juice. Relief for Londoners is expected tomorrow as wind speeds increase and blow pollution to other people.
“There may also be a temperature inversion that prevents the air from rising/mixing.”
The UK-AIR air pollution forecasting service comes under the Government’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
According to the agency’s website, an air pollution band of 10 poses a particular risk to adults and children with heart or lung problems.
“Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems and the elderly should avoid strenuous physical activity,” it says.
An air pollution band of 10 means adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems and the elderly should avoid strenuous physical activity. People with asthma may find that they need to use their inhaler more often
‘People with asthma may find that they need to use their inhaler more often.
‘Reduce physical exertion, especially outdoors, especially if you develop symptoms such as a cough or sore throat.’
As of Friday afternoon, UK-AIR is forecasting widespread air pollution from 7-8/10 particles in London today rather than ‘very high’ (10/10).
A prediction of 8/10 is still described as ‘high’ and can still affect adults and children with lung problems and adults with heart problems.
Air quality in some parts of London is already above legal thresholds, mainly due to nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants from vehicles.
Earlier this week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said London was facing a pollution crisis as people in the city shun public transport in favor of cars.
Earlier this week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) warned that unless efforts to bring about a green, sustainable recovery from the pandemic, the capital could go from one public health and economic crisis to another caused by dirty air and jammed roads.
“If we don’t redouble our efforts for a greener, more sustainable future, we will replace one public health crisis with another, caused by dirty air and road congestion,” Mr Khan said.
“The cost to both Londoners and the capital cannot be underestimated, with days lost in traffic, billions lost to the economy and more road hazards and health impacts.”
Mr Khan introduced the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone in London in April 2019, which allows authorities to charge diesel vehicles as they are located in central London, with the aim of reducing emissions in some of the city’s most polluted areas.
The zone was extended from central London to, but not including, the North and South Circular Roads from 25 October 2021.
However, a study published in November from Imperial College London found that it doesn’t make much of a difference to air pollution in the city
The Ultra Low Emission Zone is an area in London where a fee is charged for driving the most polluting vehicles
ULEZ now extends over an area surrounded by the northern and southern circular roads. The ULEZ is separate from the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which has introduced stricter emission standards for heavy-duty diesel vehicles from March 1, 2021
The main polluters in London are particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3), many of which come from vehicle exhaust.
Particulate matter, or PM, comes from a variety of sources, including vehicle exhaust, construction sites, industrial activities or even household stoves and ovens – and has already been linked to premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
NO2, which comes from the combustion of diesel and gasoline in car engines, causes inflammation in the lungs and can reduce immunity against lung infections and make breathing problems worse.
O3, meanwhile, is a secondary pollutant formed when sunlight and high temperatures catalyze chemical reactions in the lower atmosphere.
When inhaled, O3 chemically reacts with many biological molecules in the airways, causing lung and heart disease.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE WORLD’S MOST IMPORTANT AIR POLLUTERS?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are six major pollutants that can affect human health and well-being.
particulate matter: Particulate matter is the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.
These particles come in many sizes and shapes and can be made up of hundreds of different chemicals.
Some are emitted directly from a source, such as construction sites, dirt roads, fields, chimneys, or fires.
Fine particles (2.5 parts per million) are the leading cause of reduced vision (haze) in parts of the United States, including many of our treasured national parks and natural areas.
Carbon monoxide: Breathing air with a high concentration of CO reduces the amount of oxygen that can be transported in the bloodstream to critical organs such as the heart and brain.
At very high concentrations, which are possible indoors or in other closed environments, CO can cause dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness and death.
Nitrogen Dioxide: Nnitrogen dioxide is mainly released into the air through the combustion of fuel. NEW
It is formed by emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants and off-road equipment.
Breathing air with a high concentration of NO can irritate the airways in the human respiratory system. Such short-term exposures can aggravate respiratory diseases, especially asthma, which can lead to respiratory symptoms (such as coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing).
Sulphur dioxide: The largest source of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere is the combustion of fossil fuels by power plants and other industrial facilities.
Short-term exposure to SO can damage the human respiratory system and make breathing difficult. Children, the elderly and asthmatics are especially sensitive to the effects of SO.
Ground Level Ozone: The ozone layer in the lower part of the lower stratosphere, about 12 to 19 miles above the planet’s surface (20 to 30 km).
Although ozone protects us from UV radiation, at ground level it can cause health problems for vulnerable people who suffer from lung diseases such as asthma.
It is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – found in exhaust gases – in the presence of sunlight.
Lead: The main sources of lead in the air are the processing of ores and metals and aircraft with piston engines that run on leaded jet fuel.
Other sources include waste incinerators, utilities and lead-acid battery manufacturers. The highest air concentrations of lead are usually found near lead smelters.
Depending on the degree of exposure, lead can have a negative effect on the nervous system, kidney function, immune system, reproductive and developmental systems, and the cardiovascular system.
Infants and young children are particularly sensitive to even low levels of lead, which can contribute to behavioral problems, learning disabilities and lowered IQ.