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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 35 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Kingston upon Thames is currently 1.7 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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| Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors
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|Thursday, Feb 22
Good 21 AQI US
|Friday, Feb 23
Good 26 AQI US
|Saturday, Feb 24
Moderate 56 AQI US
Good 35 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Good 19 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Good 42 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Good 42 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Good 31 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Good 5 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Good 20 AQI US
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Kingston upon Thames is generally known locally as Kingston, is a town and borough now within Greater London, England, formerly within the county of Surrey. It is situated on the River Thames about 16 kilometres south-west of Charing Cross which is regarded as the true centre of London. Because of its location and position, it is not easy to quote a population figure. However, the 2011 census recorded the figure of 43,013.
This figure was for the four wards which make up the town, whereas, the figure for the entire borough was 175,470.
In early 2021 Kingston was enjoying a period of “Good” quality air with a US AQI reading of just 2. The main pollutant was nitrogen dioxide at 13.6 µg/m³. With figures as low as these, doors and windows can be safely opened to allow the ingress of fresh air and all forms of outdoor activity can be enjoyed.
As with most large cities in the 21st century, the main source of air pollution comes from emissions from vehicles. Emissions from industry would be the next major polluter followed by domestic heating stoves etc. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most harmful pollutant gases, irritating the lungs and potentially causing breathing difficulties. Road traffic is a leading source.
London exceeded its pollution limit for the entire year, in just 8 days in 2016 causing major concern and triggering the fact that something had to be done about it.
Cromwell Road, which houses Kingston’s main bus station as well as Tiffin Boy’s school and Monkey Puzzle nursery, is one of the most polluted areas in south London with some of the highest nitrogen dioxide levels in the capital. These levels were allegedly more than 3 times the permitted level.
Local politicians expressed their concern over this news but stressed that they would need help from the government before the situation could be successfully tackled.
Across London, poor air quality is killing an estimated 9,500 Londoners every year. This is simply unacceptable and something needs to be done about it.
In April 2019 the first ultra-low emission zone came into force in central London. The scheme was expected to cut harmful emissions by as much as 45 per cent, according to the mayor’s office. The dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide need to be reduced.
Diesel buses are to be replaced with electric buses as soon as possible, including school buses. The number of bus routes and the frequency of service needs increasing to encourage more people to use them. It was also suggested that the zones throughout the Borough were altered in order to make the use of public transport attractively low-priced. Finally, it was suggested that footpaths and cycle lanes are increased and their safety increased through better designs. Plenty of greenery needs to be incorporated in their design to help purify the air.
Towards the end of 2019 over the course of two weekends, a group of citizens met to discuss what measures need to be taken in order to improve air quality in Kingston. They proposed stricter building regulations around schools, effective plant placement for green screens around schools, temporary road closures and restrictions for parking and idling at relevant times and the creation of a fleet of electric school buses for all school activity.
Matters to take into consideration included the incorporation of cycle storage to encourage greater use due to increased security. When considering new housing projects, the proximity of schools must be taken into consideration. It was suggested that a target of a 50 per cent reduction in airborne pollutants should be introduced within 5 years.
In Kingston, roughly 2.2 per cent of residents are exposed to illegal levels of air pollution, including three schools. The key pollutants of concern are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5. The key national objective values for nitrogen dioxide are the long-term exposure limit of 40 μg/m³, and the short-term limit of 200 µg/m³ x 18 per year. For PM10 the long-term limit is 40μg/m³ and the short-term is 50 µg/m³ x 35 per year and for PM2.5 it is 25 µg/m³.
Polluted air can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat may cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions, and affect the heart and cardiovascular system. This is especially true for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Breathing polluted air for long periods of time can cause more serious problems.
Children tend to breathe faster than adults and are more sensitive to pollution. Their airways are narrower, so it takes less inflammation or irritation to obstruct the passages. Children typically spend more time outdoors and are more active than adults. They also are more likely to have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, which are exacerbated by air pollution. Senior citizens may have heart or lung disease or diabetes that puts them at greater risk. People with diabetes are at increased risk in part because they also have a higher risk of underlying cardiovascular disease.
Healthy adults of all ages who exercise or work outdoors are more susceptible to air pollution because they have a higher level of exposure, often for prolonged periods for those outdoor workers. Exercise causes people to breathe faster and more deeply, thereby drawing more air into the lungs. In the case of ozone, the risk of serious effects is heightened in the afternoon because that is when ozone levels are at their highest. Ozone is produced through the reaction of chemicals under the influence of ultraviolet light which is at its peak around midday. It’s better to exercise in the morning or early evening when ozone concentrations are expected to be lower.
Exposure to ozone can cause coughing, headaches, and eye, nose and throat irritation. Symptoms may last for a few hours after the initial ozone exposure and even become painful over a period of time.
It can also damage the environment through compromised growth, reproduction, and the overall health of plants and trees.