(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
4:06, Mar 2
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 70 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 21.1 µg/m³|
|pm10|| 24.4 µg/m³|
|no2|| 8 µg/m³|
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Saturday, Feb 27|
Good 27 US AQI
|Sunday, Feb 28|
Moderate 58 US AQI
|Monday, Mar 1|
Moderate 77 US AQI
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Wednesday, Mar 3|
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Thursday, Mar 4|
Good 30 US AQI
|Friday, Mar 5|
Good 21 US AQI
|Saturday, Mar 6|
Good 44 US AQI
|Sunday, Mar 7|
Moderate 57 US AQI
|Monday, Mar 8|
Good 49 US AQI
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Sunderland is a city in the northern region of England, having a history as a prominent port site as well as an economy based around ship building and other maritime industries such as fishing. It finds itself near to other major cities such as Durham and Newcastle Upon Tyne, and is now experiencing a turnaround in its economy after experiencing a down period that lasted a considerable amount of time due to the shifting nature of industries present throughout the region, with shipbuilding having been superseded by a rise in car manufacturing. Whilst this has a positive impact on the quality of life for residents, as well as a move towards more urban infrastructure, it can also have a negative impact on the quality of air due to the pollution given off by a rise in the population as well as further developments.
In 2019, Sunderland came in with a PM2.5 reading of 10 μg/m³, placing it by the finest margin into the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal for the best quality of air, at 10 μg/m³ or less, showing that Sunderland just made it into the most optimal air quality bracket. This reading also placed it in 2601st place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 54th place out of all cities ranked in England. Whilst this was still a respectable placing, the city could do much to improve its level of air quality, particularly during certain months of the year.
Some of the main causes of air pollution occurring in Sunderland come from a few prominent sources. One of these main ones would be the automobile industry, with vehicles such as cars and motorbikes emitting large amounts of chemical pollutants as well as hazardous particulate matter, due to the combustion process that goes on in the engine and the fuels involved. Alongside smaller personal vehicles, there are also countless larger ones, or heavy duty vehicles as they are known, such as trucks, lorries and buses populating the roads. These often run on diesel fuels, and due to their huge size and weight, put out far more pollution that a singular vehicle of a small weight class (as well as running on a cleaner fuel source) ever would.
Aside from vehicles putting out a majority of pollution in Sunderland, raising the yearly ambient pollution readings, other sources would be ones such as factory emissions, with many factories resorting to using fossil fuels such as coal to fuel their industrial processes, along with any industrial effluence that is leaked from the factory depending on what item or product is being manufactured.
Other sources of pollution include ones such as construction sites and road repairs, which can give off far more harmful particulate matter than most people are cognizant of. Lastly, the burning of firewood or other organic material in stoves or fireplaces can be a contributing factor, but in terms of the most prominent ones, it would be vehicles as well as factory and power plant emissions.
Observing the data taken over the course of 2019 in Sunderland, it can be seen that the city did not suffer from a clear cut period of time when the pollution levels were at their highest, which is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to cities that have colder winter months. Generally, when the weather starts to get colder and the temperature drops, the pollution levels rise significantly due to a massive increase in energy demand for use in heating both homes and businesses (as well as the burning of firewood in certain homes).
The months that came in with the highest levels of pollution in Sunderland were February, April, August and September, four months that took place in different seasons of the year. The reasoning behind this may pertain to the fact that the city suffers from pollutive spikes due to the aforementioned factors, regardless of the season, showing just how prominent emissions from cars and factories can be in regards to tainting the air quality in Sunderland.
These months all came in with PM2.5 readings of 16.9 μg/m³, 16.6 μg/m³, 14.4 μg/m³ and 10.4 μg/m³ respectively, making February the most polluted month of the year and coming in with a reading that placed it into the ‘moderate’ pollution ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. These months may vary year to year, but generally as a rule, the months with the highest levels of pollution should typically be seen during the winter season, something to take into consideration regarding staying safe from polluted air.
Whilst a majority of the population is at risk to polluted air no matter their health status or background, particularly if they suffer from over exposure due to living near areas of high pollution such as busy roads, there exists a demographic that is far more vulnerable to smoke, haze and vehicle fumes for a number of reasons. These groups contain people such as young children, who are highly susceptible to the damaging effects of polluting chemicals during their developmental years. Certain chemicals can cause stunting of both mental and physical development, as well as potentially triggering off a variety of skin problems or other allergies or respiratory issues such as asthma, all of which could turn into lifelong problems if not addressed adequately.
Other groups include the elderly, who usually have a more fragile disposition towards pollutants, especially when respiratory ailments start to occur during colder months, which can have some terminal effects on those that may be in poorer health. Others include those with preexisting health conditions, people with compromised immune systems, as well as those with a hypersensitivity towards chemicals.
Pregnant mothers are also very much at risk due to the disastrous effects that pollution can have on an unborn child, with cases of miscarriage, babies being born prematurely and with low birth weight, as well as possible physical or mental defects being present due to the prominent neurological issues that polluting chemicals can cause to a developing body.
The main pollutants found in the air in Sunderland would be ones typically related to car fumes and exhaust, as well as factory or power plant emissions. These include prominent ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as sulfur dioxide (SO2), with nitrogen dioxide being the chief offender in its release from vehicles. Other pollutants such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's) would also be present, both of which find their release from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and organic matter.
Some examples of VOC's include chemicals such as benzene, xylene, methylene chloride and formaldehyde, all extremely hazardous to human health as well as extremely easy to respire due to the volatile nature keeping them in a gaseous state even at much lower temperatures.