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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 50 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Cardiff is currently 2.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Monday, Aug 8|
Good 32 US AQI
|Tuesday, Aug 9|
Good 37 US AQI
|Wednesday, Aug 10|
Good 46 US AQI
|Thursday, Aug 11|
Good 41 US AQI
Good 50 US AQI
|Saturday, Aug 13|
Moderate 51 US AQI
|Sunday, Aug 14|
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Monday, Aug 15|
Moderate 58 US AQI
|Tuesday, Aug 16|
Moderate 51 US AQI
|Wednesday, Aug 17|
Good 48 US AQI
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Cardiff, officially known as the City and County of Cardiff, is the capital of Wales and the eleventh largest city within the United Kingdom, being home to over 364 thousand inhabitants within the city as well as over 479 thousand in the extended urban region (with these figures having been taken in 2011 and thus subject to change since then).
It is a city that is undergoing further rapid development, as well as being a major tourist draw, with an estimated 21.3 million visitors having passed through in 2017 alone. Cardiff is the economic and cultural heart of Wales, holding around 40 percent of the entire workforce in Wales alone, with many people commuting in and out of the capital on a daily basis. After a long period of decline and lessened activity due to a change in industries over the last century, Cardiff has now emerged as one of the fastest growing cities in the U.K, which will bring with it a rapid rise in the population count as well as urban infrastructure and housing.
This can bring with it some pollutive issues, some of which are already are already prominent and on record. In 2019, Cardiff came in with a PM2.5 reading of 11.5 μg/m³, a reading that placed it into the ‘good’ air quality ratings bracket. Whilst this is still a relatively respectable level of air quality, there are many months of the year which see large rises of pollution, skewing the yearly average and bringing the PM2.5 number way higher than it could be. This reading of 11.5 μg/m³ placed Cardiff in 2004th place out of all cities ranked around the world, as well as in 20th place out of all cities ranked in the United Kingdom in 2019.
Cardiff has several different causes of pollution that are contributing to the heightened levels of PM2.5 seen, in particular during certain months of the year where meteorological conditions can have a distinct effect on the pollution levels due to a number of reasons. The main sources that initiate these buildups in the first place are ones such as the automobile industry, with countless vehicles travelling back and forth within the cities limits, as well as taking people in and out of the city on their daily commutes into work and back home. This has led to heightened buildups of pollution, particularly bad in certain areas that see a high volume of traffic passing through them, and can have a severe effect on those who live nearby.
Cars and other personal vehicles such as motorbikes would be largely responsible for the year round ambient readings of pollution present in the city, along with larger and heavier vehicles such as trucks, lorries and buses. With its sizeable tourist industry as well as goods and product import and exportation, all of these can be found in excessively high numbers within the city and its surrounding areas. To compound this, many of the larger vehicles, as well as some smaller ones, would be running on diesel fuel, which besides being an unsustainable fuel source, puts out far more pollution than a cleaner counterpart would.
In closing, other prominent sources besides vehicles would be factory and industrial site emissions, which also utilize coal as a fuel source, as well as the burning of firewood during the colder months. Others include construction sites, road repairs or any other areas that can cause a leak of fine particulate matter into the air. Vehicles and industrial emissions would be amongst the most prominent out of all these sources.
Going off of the data collected over the course of 2019 as a measure of pollution levels, Cardiff saw rises in its PM2.5 count starting to occur in the early months of the year all the way through to summer. Whilst the latter months of the year all came in with PM2.5 readings that fell within the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ for the best quality of air, January went up a notch and came in at 11.7 μg/m³, sitting in the ‘good’ air quality bracket (10 to 12 μg/m³ required), which then continued to rise as the months went on.
February through to June all came in with heightened readings, which in running order were 24.5 μg/m³, 12.1 μg/m³, 19.9 μg/m³, 10.7 μg/m³ and 12.1 μg/m³ respectively, before dropping back down into the WHO's target goal. This indicates that the months of January through to June were the most polluted out of the year, with February being the most polluted month of the year with its sizeable reading of 24.5 μg/m³.
With extended periods of air pollution occurring in Cardiff, as well as certain areas such as busy roads or industrial area vicinities being of greater risk to those nearby, there would be a number of related health problems, particularly of the respiratory variety. Some of these include conditions that fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket, which includes within it ailments such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and aggravated forms of asthma.
Other conditions include ones such as ischemic heart disease, as well as other cardiac issues such as heightened risks of heart attacks, angina and arrythmias. Elevated instances of cancer are also amongst the main concerns, due to the carcinogenic properties of many of the pollutants and fine particulate matter released from cars and other combustion sources.
Whilst air pollution can affect all portions of the population, with severity and risk factor increasing as the PM2.5 number climbs above the WHO's target goal (although with conditions still possible at much lower readings, depending on the pollutants involved and individual disposition). However, there are certain demographics that are even more at risk, and they include groups such as young children, the elderly, those with preexisting health conditions or compromised immune systems, as well as pregnant mothers being equally at risk for negative side effects to occur due to over exposure to smoke, haze and any other type of pollutive buildup within Cardiff.