Air pollution, as you probably already know, has become more serious than ever of late with recent government predictions suggesting that the worst air pollution since The Great Smog of 1952 is set to hit Britain.

In early April, dust became visible on people’s cars and ‘smog’ was seen in London, this being an intense haze caused by smoke and other atmospheric pollutants. The smog, it was reported, greatly reduced visibility in the capital, making it difficult for drivers to travel around safely. However, it is not only London that has been affected; the entire country has been experiencing the effects of damaging air pollution and environmentalists are beginning to take drastic action.

The smog, as well as reducing visibility, also poses serious health risks that have forced the government into warning certain age groups to remain indoors and avoid rigorous exercise. But what kind of life is that? Surely, this fix is only temporary; telling people not to leave their houses is unlikely to solve any problems.

That said, however, with the UK being set to reach high levels of atmospheric pollution in the near future, it is important that people with health problems avoid inhaling this air as much as possible. Areas in the South such as the Midlands are said to be the worst affected by this pollution, and Britain in its entirety is being warned against the toxins that are inevitably going to be inhaled whenever you are innocently walking down the street.

These toxins, which have been known for many years simply as ‘air pollutants’, can irritate or inflame the lungs when dangerous particles are inhaled, leaving people with minor symptoms such as a tickly cough and a dry throat – symptoms that can be very dangerous to those already harbouring health problems. The toxins have also been known to cause sore eyes from the particles in the air causing irritation, and although not causing blindness, does cause a considerable amount of pain. The advice then for anyone experiencing these problems is to reduce outdoor activities until pollution levels have reduced, though there is no telling when this will be.

The pollutants themselves are made up not only of European emissions, but also dust from the Sahara Desert. Light winds across the UK, along with strong winds in Africa have meant that dust from the Sahara has been picked up in large quantities and propelled towards us. This makes it more dangerous than ever, with warnings being the highest for many years.

The Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs has announced that it is greatly attempting to reduce the levels of air pollution, but that it is proving difficult. They found it to be a ‘challenge’ to meet air pollution targets near busy roads, especially in highly populated areas in cities such as London. They have however mentioned that the air quality had ‘improved significantly’ in recent decades, and they aim for it to improve further in years to come – but this is merely a prediction; if pollution levels increase further, this will make cleaning the air more difficult to achieve.

High levels of air pollution are reached approximately five times each year, meaning that although many measures are being taken to reduce this, it is almost impossible to stop something that is little other than an act of nature – especially the dust being blown over from the Sahara. It is, however, possible to reduce the high levels of pollution in the air by conserving energy, walking instead of driving and using solar energy for household elements such as lighting. Every little helps.

Although government agencies are doing the best they can to make the air safer for people everywhere, it is impossible to get rid of air pollution completely. Every day we catch buses, we drive in our cars, we use electricity… we pollute the air without even knowing it or thinking about it. Modern ways of living mean that the air is always going to be polluted – but for those making a conscious effort to keep down their usage and reduce their carbon footprint, you’re making all the difference.


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