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|Air pollution level
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| 5 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Nottingham air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Sunday, Feb 18
Good 13 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 19
Good 17 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 20
Good 14 AQI US
Good 5 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 22
Good 13 AQI US
|Friday, Feb 23
Good 12 AQI US
|Saturday, Feb 24
Good 32 AQI US
|Sunday, Feb 25
Good 30 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Good 35 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Good 46 AQI US
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As in many other large 21st century cities, the main cause of air pollution is vehicle emissions. After a recent survey, it was stated that as much as 25 per cent of carbon dioxide comes from vehicle emissions from incomplete burnt hydrocarbons.
Experts are saying that human-made air pollution is responsible for 5.7 per cent of all adult deaths in Nottinghamshire, and 6.3 per cent in Nottingham city. Air quality in Nottinghamshire, or the lack of it, is causing more premature deaths than alcohol and road traffic incidents put together.
Along with emissions from transport and construction, burning wood and other solid fuels can contribute to this air pollution problem.
The main pollutant emitted by burning solid fuels such as wood and coal is ultra-fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5 which it produces. It is not visible to the naked eye, so even 'smokeless' fuels and appliances may be causing air pollution. PM2.5 is widely acknowledged as being the air pollutant that has the greatest impact on human health. Both short and long-term exposure to PM2.5 increase the risk of early deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as increased hospital admissions.
Children who grow up in such an environment can suffer from reduced lung functionality and are more prone to developing asthma. There are no safe levels when PM2.5 is considered which is why it is so important to take extra care when using such an appliance to heat the home.
Nottingham City Council already has a range of policies in place to reduce air pollution. It acknowledges that there are no safe levels of air pollution as even the smallest amount can cause problems. All pollutants, however small in number, can negatively affect the development of babies during pregnancy and the normal lung function growth of children and contribute towards asthma and other breathing and lung conditions.
These policies include the ban on motorists leaving their engines idling whilst stationary. The majority of the council’s fleet of buses and coaches is currently powered by clean fuel which produces very low emissions. Their older vehicles are awaiting refits to bring them in line with Euro VI emissions standards.
Nottingham City Council wants people to be able to live healthier lives through the provision of clean, safe air. Transport is one of the biggest polluters, and the council has a strong track record in initiatives focused on lowering emissions, encouraging the use of other forms of transport, using greener technology and reducing congestion in general.
They have several projects in the pipeline which include a £15 million investment plan to operate the largest electric bus fleet in the UK. They will also retrofit any existing vehicles which are still efficient in order to bring them up to the Euro VI standards.
The cycle paths are being extended as more people are seen to be using them.
There is also £2.1 million put aside to install more than 230 charge points for electric vehicles across the city and out into the county.
Grants are to be made available to local businesses to help them reduce their emissions.
Polluted air can lead to worsening asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer. It increases the risk of children growing up with smaller lungs and has been associated with changes in the brain linked to dementia in later life. Because of their smaller stature, children often inhale more pollutants than their taller parents.
After considerable research, it was reported that if Nottingham could reduce its air pollution by just 20 per cent 175 fewer children would suffer from a decrease in the function of their lungs. 97 fewer children suffering from a chest infection and 84 fewer asthmatic children suffering from bronchitic symptoms such as coughing and phlegm production.
A decrease in lung cancer cases by around 6.7 per cent would result in 15 fewer cases every year.
When the weather is warm, an invisible gas called ozone can make it harder for some people to breathe. This gas is created when ultraviolet rays from sunlight trigger a chemical reaction between oxygen and certain pollutants from cars, factories, and other sources. Ozone can irritate the lining of the airways and lungs.
People with asthma and other lung conditions are more likely to suffer because of their effects.
Another type of outdoor pollutant that affects health is particulates such as PM2.5 and PM10. These are fine and coarse particles that are released when fuel is burned. They can come from sources such as vehicles, power plants and wildfires. Research has linked particulates to short- and long-term lung problems.
Looking back at figures from 2019, for the six months from May until the end of October, Nottingham achieved the WHO target figure of less than 10 µg/m³. For January, February and April, the air quality was “Moderate” with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. During March and December, the air quality was “Good” with figures between 10 and 12 µg/m³.
Looking back over previous years, Nottingham seems to be in a stable period. In 2017 it was 11.6 µg/m³, in 2018 it was 11 µg/m³ and in 2019 the average reading was 11 µg/m³, once more.