UK Residents Start Monitoring Air Pollution

UK Residents Start Monitoring Air Pollution

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth said 70 groups in the United Kingdom are using testing kits to monitor pollution levels in the air they breathe, adding to a growing number of persons taking pollution monitoring into their own hands.

Environmental charity Friends of the Earth said 70 groups in the United Kingdom are using testing kits to monitor pollution levels in the air they breathe, adding to a growing number of persons taking pollution monitoring into their own hands.

Fears that “official figures” are not capturing “dangerous” levels of pollution have pushed them to see for themselves how harmful polluted air actually is to them, according to reports by the Guardian.

 “We’ve been surprised by the high demand for our air monitoring kits. 4,000 people have used them in less than a year,” Oliver Hayes, a Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said, “uncovering worrying levels of pollution in urban and rural areas alike.”

Nearly 40 million UK residents are living in areas where illegal levels of air pollution from diesel vehicles are posing risks to their health, according to analysis commissioned by the Labour party.

Data shows that 59 percent of the population are living in towns and cities where nitrogen dioxide pollution breaches the lawful level of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Labour says the air pollution crisis is a “national scandal.” Sue Hayman, shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, said a Labour government would bring in a new clean air act to tackle what was a public health emergency.

Other local groups beside Friends of the Earth have started monitoring air quality, including Clean Air Eastbourne in East Sussex and Clean Air Chorley in Lancashire. Residents in Lancing and Shoreham, West Sussex, have also teamed up to explore air pollution levels.

Ted Burke of Clean Air Catford said they found that the air pollution levels were almost double the legal level in some locations in the area, including next to a number of primary schools.

Research shows exposure that to traffic fumes is harmful for children as well as adults. Children are more vulnerable because their lungs are still developing and exposure to nitrogen dioxide reduces lung growth.

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