Sustainability - Air pollution




Air pollution

Air pollution is in the air that we breathe in, both indoors and outdoors. There are lots of different types of pollution in the air around us and it can be damaging to everyone’s health. Please look at this website for more information.

Short-term effects of air pollution on health

It is possible that very sensitive individuals may experience health effects even on Low air pollution days.

Use the Daily Air Quality Index to understand air pollution levels and find out about recommended actions and health advice. The advice here applies to anyone experiencing symptoms.

Short-term effects

Air pollution has a range of effects on health. But, air pollution in the UK is not expected to rise to dangerous levels. Nobody should fear going outdoors. Yet, you may notice some symptoms if you are in certain population groups:

  • Adults and Children with lung or heart conditions - A rise in air pollution risks people with these conditions becoming more unwell. It is hard to predict in advance who this will be. Some people know that air pollution affects their health. Adults and children with asthma may need their inhalers more on days when air pollution is high.
  • Older people - Older people are more likely to suffer from heart and lung conditions than young people. It makes good sense for them to be aware of current air pollution conditions.
  • The general population - Very High levels of air pollution can cause a sore or dry throat, sore eyes or a tickly cough. This can even happen in healthy individuals.
  • Children - Children do not need to miss school or stopped from taking part in games. Children with asthma may need to increase their use of inhalers when air pollution is high.

Adults and children with heart or lung problems are at greater risk of symptoms. Follow your doctor's usual advice about exercising and managing your condition. Very sensitive individuals may experience health effects even on Low air pollution days. Anyone experiencing symptoms should follow the guidance provided.

Visit the European Lung Foundation or watch this short video for more information. Look at this Air Pollution and You checklist to see what you can do to help reduce your air pollution exposure. This should improve symptoms like coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.

If you would like to see how clean the air is in different parts of the country, please look at this website

Look at this website if you would like information on how to look after your lungs and reduce air pollution. Also, the Clean Air Hub suggests five simple actions we can all make to help improve the air we breathe: 

1. Discover the side streetsTaking routes that avoid busy roads and walking on the inside of the pavement can make a big difference. Young children can be especially vulnerable to pollution on busy routes. Walking to school exposes children to 30% more toxic pollution than adults on the same route.

2. Leave the car behind
Walking, cycling and scooting is a great way for the whole family to breathe cleaner air. Pollution levels can be higher inside the car than outside.

 3. Turn the engine off
If you do neeed to use the car, turn the engine off when not moving and safe to do so, especially in car parks and near schools.

4. Check the Pollution Forecast
There are local and national forecasts for air pollution. These show the level of air pollution so you can decide whether to travel or exercise outdoors. 

5. Keep air clean indoors

Try to use fragrance-free and low-VOC cleaning and DIY Products. Use an extractor fan, or open windows that are away from busy roads when cooking, washing or cleaning. If you have a log-burner, use it only when you need to and try to use "ready-to-burn" logs only.