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What Does London’s Air Pollution Alert Mean?

Today experts have advised Londoners to avoid strenuous physical activity due to ‘very high’ levels of pollution. The Government’s official health advice is that people with lung or heart problems, or older people, should avoid strenuous physical activity all together – particularly outdoors.

The official advice has noted that even healthy people should reduce their physical activity, especially if you experience a cough or sore throat. Furthermore, due to the high level of dirty air, those who suffer from asthma may need to use their reliever inhaler more often.

In London, air pollution is ‘particularly high’ between three to eight times a year, according to City Hall. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has said, ‘our city’s filthy air is already making it dangerous outside or Londoner to exercise outside.

‘If we don’t double down on our efforts to clean it up, we’ll have another catastrophic public health crisis on our hands. I won’t accept this for London’s future.’

In order to measure pollution levels, we use The Air Quality index. This index uses a scale of 1 – 10 where 10 forecasts very high levels of air pollution. It is predicted that the pollution levels will hit band 10, at the top end. It has been noted that the last time pollution levels hit this mark was in March 2018.

According to research by London Air Quality Network, air pollution is a very large public health issue and shortens the lives of Londoners. lt is the cause of up to 9,400 extra deaths per year. The excessively high level of pollution is caused by an intense area of high pressure covering Western Europe. Therefore, the lack of air movement reduces emissions from vehicles and other pollutants being blown away.

It has been forecasted, that the worst area for pollution today is in the city centre, from Stratford in east London to Hammersmith in west London. However, the pollution levels will still still remain high throughout the entire city.

Incidents of very high air pollution – ranked 10 out of 10 on the UK Air scale – has happened on many occasions over the last two years. This included top levels in Yorkshire and Humberside in February 2019 and in the South East in April of the same year.

The pollution levels are expected to return to a ‘normal’ level in the capital by Saturday.

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