According to recent research, more people in England have been dying prematurely because of air pollution. Research from Public Health England has indicated that the proportion of premature deaths in the United Kingdom caused by small airborne particles has increased in recent years.
Meanwhile, scientists at King’s College London have said that there is “high” or “very high” particulate pollution across most of London and southeast England. Air experts have advised people with heart conditions and/or breathing problems to reduce their amount of exercise and to stay indoors.
Most of the air pollution affecting the United Kingdom has traveled from continental Europe. Cold air has been trapping the pollution, which is now spread across virtually all of eastern England. The pollution has traversed through industrialized and urban portions of Europe during the previous three days, picking up even more noxious emissions.
A spokesperson from King’s College stated, “This will add to London’s already elevated pollution concentrations, and we are therefore likely to see widespread ‘high’ particulate pollution across the city with an outside chance of ‘very high’ at some very busy roadside locations.”
However, a warmer and more humid air spreads from the west, pollution levels in England should drop. This should start occurring within the next day or so.
A forecast for England on Thursday said, “Moderate, locally high, air pollution around London, which has built up due to persistent light winds, should gradually disperse during the day as winds begin to pick up a little. Similar for the pockets of moderate air pollution observed around central England.”
According to figures from the British government, about 29,000 British people die prematurely from air pollution on an annual basis. This includes particle pollution created by vehicles, central heating systems and dust. However, these figures do not account for the noxious gas NO2, which mostly comes from diesel engines.
With England’s high premature death rate caused by pollution, various environmental organizations have urged government officials and city authorities to issue stronger warnings regarding episodes of air pollution. These groups have also called for greater restrictions on traffic.
A spokesperson from Friends of the Earth said, “There must be proper public warnings when there are bad air pollution episodes like today, but rather than people having to restrict their activities it must be vehicles which are restricted so that people’s health is protected.”
Time will tell if Great Britain will be able to get its pollution problem under control any time soon.