(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
4:10, Oct 5
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 2 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Newcastle upon Tyne air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Sunday, Oct 2|
Good 22 US AQI
|Monday, Oct 3|
Good 24 US AQI
|Tuesday, Oct 4|
Good 21 US AQI
Good 2 US AQI
|Thursday, Oct 6|
Good 10 US AQI
|Friday, Oct 7|
Good 12 US AQI
|Saturday, Oct 8|
Good 8 US AQI
|Sunday, Oct 9|
Good 19 US AQI
|Monday, Oct 10|
Good 13 US AQI
|Tuesday, Oct 11|
Good 27 US AQI
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Newcastle upon Tyne is often known as the shortened form of just Newcastle. It is the most populous city and metropolitan borough in North East England. It is situated on the northern bank of the River Tyne, approximately 13.7 kilometres from the North Sea. A 2019 census recorded the population as being just over 300,000 people. The regional nickname for both the dialect spoken and its people from the surrounding area is “Geordie”.
In early 2021, Newcastle was experiencing a period of “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI reading of 55. This is according to classifications laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The recorded levels of the pollutants were as follows: PM2.5 - 14 µg/m³, PM10 - 14.5 µg/m³ and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 39.5 µg/m³. The advice given when figures reach this level is to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of dirty air into the house. People with a sensitive disposition should avoid outdoor activity until the air quality improves. If going outside is unavoidable, then a good quality face mask should be worn at all times.
Pollutants in the air come mainly from human activities such as industry, burning fossil fuels, road traffic and space heating. Some also occur naturally such as the sea, wind-blown dust and decomposing organic matter.
As with most other cities in the twenty-first century, the major source of air pollution comes from vehicles. Their emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), to be precise. The local authorities reported that levels of PM2.5 and PM10 rarely are exceeded but stress that there is no level of Particulate Matter pollution that does not have detrimental effects on human health. The burning of solid fuel in open fires and stoves accounts for 38 per cent of the UK’s emissions of PM2.5.
The Environment Act 1995 requires all local councils to monitor the air quality in areas under their jurisdiction and take measures accordingly. There are 9 pollutants that are required to be monitored, these are: PM2.5 and PM10 particles, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), benzene (C6H6), 1, 3 butadiene, carbon monoxide (CO) and lead (Pb).
The local authorities are already introducing measures to reduce the occurrence of air pollution. They are creating more efficient bus routes and cycle networks across the city. Introducing cleaner vehicles which are controlled or owned by the Council. Traffic signals are being more closely monitored to improve traffic flow and prevent queuing traffic with idling engines.
They are also promoting initiatives such as car-sharing and car clubs and providing more charging points for electric and ultra-low emissions vehicles.
Newcastle has some of the worst air pollution in the UK yet residents seem to be oblivious to this fact.
The organisation “Friends of the Earth” have launched a campaign to raise awareness of air pollution as it emerged Newcastle is among the worst affected areas.
A recent survey showed that almost half of the adults in the North East are concerned about the quality of air in their city, but only 2 per cent consider the air that they breathe to be poor quality. This is despite the fact that according to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs all ‘air quality zones’ in the North East are currently breaking legal air pollution limits.
What Friends of the Earth are doing is providing residents with Clean Air Kits which will enable them to test the quality of air in their immediate environment. Maybe then will they realise that there is a potential problem.
One of the ways that can make the biggest difference is to reduce the number of car journeys made. Alternative ways to get to the destination should be sought after. Is it possible to walk there or cycle? Most large cities have “Park and Ride” facilities to try to reduce the number of cars in the city centre. Vehicles are parked in large dedicated parking areas which are well-connected to a frequent bus service into the city. There is no charge to park the car and the bus fare is always reasonable. It is meant to be cheaper than paying to park the car in the city centre car parks.
Try not to let your vehicle stand idle with the engine running as this creates a lot of pollution in a relatively small area. Monitoring stations placed around busy road junctions always record much higher levels of pollutants than in areas where traffic passes by freely.
Air pollution has an impact on everyone living and working in Newcastle upon Tyne. However, it is the most vulnerable people such as children under the age of 14 years, senior citizens, pregnant women and those with pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions who will experience the effects most. People living near busy roads are exposed to higher levels of road traffic pollution.
PM2.5 and PM10 can harm the human cardiovascular and respiratory systems and can exacerbate asthma attacks and other such problems. Because these particles are so small, they can easily bypass the body’s self-defence mechanism and penetrate deeply into the lungs.
Nitrogen dioxide causes inflammation of the airways and can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. Long term exposure leads to impaired lung function and possible respiratory problems.
Looking back at the recorded figures from 2019 it can be seen that the air quality in Newcastle throughout the year was “Good” with figures between 10 and 12 µg/m³. For 8 months of the year, the WHO target figure was achieved which is 10 µg/m³ or less. During February and April, the air quality was “Moderate” with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The remaining two months of January and November saw “Good” levels between 10 and 12 µg/m³. Looking back at previous years it can be seen that the quality is getting very slightly worse. The 2017 figure was 7.3 µg/m³, in 2018 it was 9 µg/m³ and in 2019 it rose to 10.2 µg/m³.
Data sources 5