A documentary was recently aired on the BBC regarding air quality in urban areas. The aim of the program was to reduce air pollution levels on one day on a highly polluted street in Birmingham. This was completed through a number of initiatives from reducing car usage and even the implementation of green infrastructure.
To test these changes a number of air quality measurements were taken before and during this event showing some brilliant results.
We have been undertaking some sampling to assess the air quality in a house next to a busy road to see how often and by how much limits are being exceeded. This primarily requires the monitoring of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are some of the most harmful pollutants and linked to the use of diesel cars. This is an area where more work and monitoring is required with 40,000 deaths link to poor air quality in the UK each year.
Construction sites contributing towards air pollution in cities
It is now well understood and recognised that vehicles are a major source of air pollution in our cities. Diesels are identified as the biggest culprits with emissions of NOx (nitrogen oxides) and PM (particulate matter). The poor air quality in the UK is linked to 40,000 deaths every year.
However, recent and detailed air quality studies in the UK have identified that constructions sites are responsible for a significant portion of the total air pollution. They make up 7.5% of NOx emissions, 8% of PM10 and 14.5% of PM2.5 which is the most harmful.
This article suggests that construction sites should start treating emissions in a similar way to asbestos with tighter controls and regulation.
Check out this interactive emissions map. You can check out what emissions are likely to be high in your area from a variety of different pollutants from NOX, PM and a variety of others.
We are capable of sampling or monitoring most of these emissions, so if you are worried that you are being exposed to high levels of pollution or you need to check that the emissions you are releasing are within the limits contact us.
Wood burning stoves could be banned in our capital in certain highly polluted areas. The burning of wood releases fine particles that are harmful to human health. It is noted that some exceptions may be made for the more modern and efficient wood burning stoves with the main focus on reducing inefficient open fires.
This is part of a wider plan to improve air quality in London through limiting emissions from boats, cars, diesel powered machinery from building sites and from construction work itself.
Air quality is a serious issue in the UK and across the world. Recently a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka was halted due to poor air quality that was recorded at 15 times that of the World Health Organisation toxicity maximum. Players where leaving the field vomiting and had to wear masks to reduce the impact on their health.
More needs to be done about air quality across the world, including the UK. With potential sources from vehicles, manufacturing and construction everybody needs to do their bit in limiting harmful emissions. One of the first steps to combat these issues is to monitor different air pollutants and protect those most likely to be harmed.
Envirochem can carry out a variety of air quality monitoring and surveys, for more information on this and all our services please call on 01329 287 777 or fill out the form below;