Air pollution levels set to fall

Witney Gazette: The London skyline, as London Ambulance Service reported a rise in people calling 999 for help with breathing difficulties and asthma The London skyline, as London Ambulance Service reported a rise in people calling 999 for help with breathing difficulties and asthma

Air pollution levels remain high across parts of England and Wales but are expected to reduce later today.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reports that more than 20 areas from northern England down to the South East are still gripped by high levels of pollution this morning.

But a fresh air mass arriving later today is expected to push the pollution eastwards over the North Sea, weather forecasters have said.

Ambulance services reported a rise in 999 calls yesterday as air quality plummeted across the UK

The London Ambulance Service recorded a 14% jump in emergency calls for help with breathing difficulties, asthma and heart problems, while the West Midlands Ambulance Service has also seen more people with breathing and heart trouble.

The capital experienced "very high" levels of pollution - the highest level recorded by Defra.

The smog-like conditions are being caused by a perfect storm of dust from the Sahara, emissions from the continent, low south-easterly winds and domestic pollution.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, said: "The air quality will improve throughout the day.

"It will edge out to the east over the North Sea as some slightly fresher air mass comes in across the UK from the west."

Meanwhile David Cameron has been criticised by the European Commission's environment spokesman Joe Hennon for "misunderstanding" the air pollution problem.

The Prime Minister yesterday told the BBC: "I didn't go for my morning run this morning. I chose to do some work instead.

"You can feel it. But it's a naturally occurring weather phenomenon. It sounds extraordinary, Saharan dust, but that is what it is."

However Mr Hennon told the Guardian his comments were "more than disappointing" because air pollution is a long term problem.

"To say this is a temporary issue caused by Saharan dust shows a clear misunderstanding of the air pollution issue.

"It's clearly an issue you would expect any government to deal with if it's serious about protecting the health of the general public.

"It shows that the problem is not yet understood and one of the reasons we're taking legal action against the UK is that they've not met the targets they agreed to. If I was living in the UK then I would not be happy about that."

London mayor Boris Johnson told ITV London he was also unconcerned about the pollution levels.

He said: "I'm urging people just to have a little balance here. I cycled this morning and it seemed perfectly fine to me.

"I think we need to keep a little bit of a sense of proportion. I cycled perfectly happily around today. I understand asthmatics and people who are particularly vulnerable perhaps need to be cautious but there's no reason why people shouldn't go about their daily lives."

Onkar Sahota, health spokesman for the London Assembly Labour group, described the mayor's comments as "dangerously complacent" in the face of increased 999 calls.

West Midlands Ambulance Service, which covers Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, confirmed it had experienced a noticeable spike in call-outs linked to breathing problems and chest pains.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust also said there had been a slight increase in 999 calls.

"Demand on Wednesday was up by 6% in comparison to recent Wednesdays," he said.

"But although we were busy first thing in the morning and then early evening, it is difficult to say the air pollution was a factor as the number of patients with breathing problems and associated sickness was not markedly high.

"It's really important that people with long-term conditions which could be exacerbated by the air quality take extra caution to help prevent their health getting worse."

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: "We know from previous research that two thirds of people with asthma find that air pollution makes their asthma worse.

"This new data demonstrates that the current high levels of air pollution are having a significant impact on the health and quality of life of people with asthma and that they need to take urgent action to stay safe.

"Asthma can be very serious, it takes the lives of three people every day so we want to do everything we can to help people minimise their risk of a potentially life threatening attack."

Those with lung and heart conditions have been told to avoid strenuous activity outdoors while people suffering symptoms of pollution - including sore eyes, coughs and sore throats - should cut down the amount they do outside.

Sotiris Vardoulakis, head of air pollution at Public Health England's (PHE) centre for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards, said most people will not be affected by short-term peaks in air pollution, but some groups, such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.

Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors, she said.

Some schools in London have banned pupils from outdoor playgrounds to reduce their exposure to the fog.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said it was up to individual schools to decide whether to keep pupils indoors.

Comments (1)

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10:08pm Mon 5 May 14

Dan Soton says...

,,

European Commission's environment spokesman Joe Hennon says Air Pollution is a long term problem.



That's to bad... in a few years from now I will have a phone with an Air Pollution App which will tell me if Southampton's traffic pollution is exceeding EU legal limits if so it will automatically fine all the reasonable parties...


Read on.. The EU is backing ( Doable Project) low cost continuous pollution monitoring via mobile phones..




YOU AND I WILL MONITOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Environmental information about CO2, airborne dust and pollen will no longer be collected only at isolated measuring stations. From now on, cyclists, bus drivers and the man in the street will be able to do their bit.

Twenty portable sensors will be issued to volunteers in the city and to employees such as traffic wardens who are exposed to urban pollution at work.

By Åse Dragland

24 Feb 2014

"AT PRESENT, ENVIRONMENTAL MEASUREMENTS ARE MADE USING EXPENSIVE STATIONS SPREAD AROUND THE COUNTRY. HOWEVER, NOW THAT EVERYBODY HAS A MOBILE PHONE, AND WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY, WE OURSELVES CAN CONTRIBUTE WITH VARIOUS TYPES OF DATA," SAYS ARNE BERRE AT SINTEF ICT.

"More and better information is particularly valuable on days of high pollution or high pollen counts. Making their own measurements will get the general public involved in their own environment. Everybody can now receive useful feedback about the conditions around us.

"TECHNOLOGY WILL BE DEVELOPED BY WAY OF THE EU PROJECTS CITI-SENSE AND CITI-SENSE-MOB. THESE WILL ENABLE ORDINARY PEOPLE TO COLLECT ENVIRONMENTAL DATA. Research scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) and SINTEF are already well under way with the Norwegian contribution."

SENSORS ABOARD BUSES

"We are now having discussions with Oslo Municipality about fitting buses with sensors to measure air quality along the roads. The bus drivers themselves will also find this information useful as they will see how acceleration and driving style affects the results and can learn to drive in a more ecologically friendly way" says Berre.

Magne Elvik, Operations Manager at Nobina Oslo Vest, confirms that sensors will be tested aboard two gas-powered buses at the beginning of April on routes around Grorud, Sinsen and Oslo Central Station, as well as out to Fornebu. If the tests go according to plan, a further eight buses will be included in the experiment.

ON STREETLAMPS AND ELECTRIC BIKES

Last year was mostly dedicated to testing new technology and getting everything to function so that data could be obtained for later use. The actual measurements will take place in the coming months.

Nuria Castell at NILU says that a total of 40 static sensors will be deployed in Oslo. "Air quality is a matter of public concern in Norway, too," she says. "We will fit sensors to streetlamps, for example, to cover city centre areas where pollution is high, and will also monitor neighbourhoods adjacent to Ring Roads 2 and 3, and at Bygdøy.

Twenty portable sensors will be issued to volunteers in the city and to employees such as traffic wardens who are exposed to urban pollution at work. The citizens of Oslo will also be able to measure air quality when cycling, and at least one sensor will be fitted to an electric bike.

"Admittedly there have been some delays," Castell confirms, "But we are starting this spring with two buses, a bicycle and five fixed sensors. By the end of the summer we aim to have full distribution involving more buses, and in the autumn all the fixed sensors will be installed, as well as those carried by people. Measurements will then be carried out in the city throughout 2015."

LAPEL BUTTONS

In December, SINTEF tested hand-held units for collecting weather and wind data as well as a small lapel button (see video) for measuring UV radiation.

"We have now sent the equipment to Bilbao for large-scale testing," says Arne Berre.

This is because around thirty partners in Europe are busy with measurements and tests. Among other things, they will provide both indoor and outdoor measurements of CO2 levels in schools. With such a large amount of data, the EU will be able to make comparisons and obtain a basis for developing joint solutions as well as for sharing technology.

The next step will deal with how to successfully involve people in future by means of user participation and work groups. The plan is to test the technology with selected individuals in 2014 and then make it more generally available during 2015.

See the www.citi-sense.eu and www.citi-sense-mob.e
u websites for further information.

KEY FACTS:

• The EU's Citi-Sense environmental project (2012-2016) will measure the pollution to which individual citizens are exposed. This is achieved using mini-sensors and other electronic equipment to collect environmental data for an online data register. The objective of the project is to improve quality of life in towns and cities. The project attempts to motivate the local population and improve awareness. 27 partner institutions from nine cities in Europe are involved. The project is headed by NILU.

• The EU's Citi-Sense-MOB project will run from 2013 to 2015 and involves installing sensors on mobile platforms (buses and bicycles) to make regular measurements. Each of the four Norwegian partners has its own principal focus – NILU on the quality of sensor data, SINTEF on integration towards global standards and data visualisation, Kjeller Innovation on the use of sensor data in other applications and UNIK on user involvement.

• THE SENSORS ARE MANUFACTURED BY VARIOUS EUROPEAN COMPANIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, SERBIA AND SPAIN.


http://www.sintef.no
/home/Press-Room/Res
earch-News/You-and-I
-will-monitor-the-en
vironment/



,,
,, European Commission's environment spokesman Joe Hennon says Air Pollution is a long term problem. That's to bad... in a few years from now I will have a phone with an Air Pollution App which will tell me if Southampton's traffic pollution is exceeding EU legal limits if so it will automatically fine all the reasonable parties... Read on.. The EU is backing ( Doable Project) low cost continuous pollution monitoring via mobile phones.. YOU AND I WILL MONITOR THE ENVIRONMENT Environmental information about CO2, airborne dust and pollen will no longer be collected only at isolated measuring stations. From now on, cyclists, bus drivers and the man in the street will be able to do their bit. Twenty portable sensors will be issued to volunteers in the city and to employees such as traffic wardens who are exposed to urban pollution at work. By Åse Dragland 24 Feb 2014 "AT PRESENT, ENVIRONMENTAL MEASUREMENTS ARE MADE USING EXPENSIVE STATIONS SPREAD AROUND THE COUNTRY. HOWEVER, NOW THAT EVERYBODY HAS A MOBILE PHONE, AND WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY, WE OURSELVES CAN CONTRIBUTE WITH VARIOUS TYPES OF DATA," SAYS ARNE BERRE AT SINTEF ICT. "More and better information is particularly valuable on days of high pollution or high pollen counts. Making their own measurements will get the general public involved in their own environment. Everybody can now receive useful feedback about the conditions around us. "TECHNOLOGY WILL BE DEVELOPED BY WAY OF THE EU PROJECTS CITI-SENSE AND CITI-SENSE-MOB. THESE WILL ENABLE ORDINARY PEOPLE TO COLLECT ENVIRONMENTAL DATA. Research scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) and SINTEF are already well under way with the Norwegian contribution." SENSORS ABOARD BUSES "We are now having discussions with Oslo Municipality about fitting buses with sensors to measure air quality along the roads. The bus drivers themselves will also find this information useful as they will see how acceleration and driving style affects the results and can learn to drive in a more ecologically friendly way" says Berre. Magne Elvik, Operations Manager at Nobina Oslo Vest, confirms that sensors will be tested aboard two gas-powered buses at the beginning of April on routes around Grorud, Sinsen and Oslo Central Station, as well as out to Fornebu. If the tests go according to plan, a further eight buses will be included in the experiment. ON STREETLAMPS AND ELECTRIC BIKES Last year was mostly dedicated to testing new technology and getting everything to function so that data could be obtained for later use. The actual measurements will take place in the coming months. Nuria Castell at NILU says that a total of 40 static sensors will be deployed in Oslo. "Air quality is a matter of public concern in Norway, too," she says. "We will fit sensors to streetlamps, for example, to cover city centre areas where pollution is high, and will also monitor neighbourhoods adjacent to Ring Roads 2 and 3, and at Bygdøy. Twenty portable sensors will be issued to volunteers in the city and to employees such as traffic wardens who are exposed to urban pollution at work. The citizens of Oslo will also be able to measure air quality when cycling, and at least one sensor will be fitted to an electric bike. "Admittedly there have been some delays," Castell confirms, "But we are starting this spring with two buses, a bicycle and five fixed sensors. By the end of the summer we aim to have full distribution involving more buses, and in the autumn all the fixed sensors will be installed, as well as those carried by people. Measurements will then be carried out in the city throughout 2015." LAPEL BUTTONS In December, SINTEF tested hand-held units for collecting weather and wind data as well as a small lapel button (see video) for measuring UV radiation. "We have now sent the equipment to Bilbao for large-scale testing," says Arne Berre. This is because around thirty partners in Europe are busy with measurements and tests. Among other things, they will provide both indoor and outdoor measurements of CO2 levels in schools. With such a large amount of data, the EU will be able to make comparisons and obtain a basis for developing joint solutions as well as for sharing technology. The next step will deal with how to successfully involve people in future by means of user participation and work groups. The plan is to test the technology with selected individuals in 2014 and then make it more generally available during 2015. See the www.citi-sense.eu and www.citi-sense-mob.e u websites for further information. KEY FACTS: • The EU's Citi-Sense environmental project (2012-2016) will measure the pollution to which individual citizens are exposed. This is achieved using mini-sensors and other electronic equipment to collect environmental data for an online data register. The objective of the project is to improve quality of life in towns and cities. The project attempts to motivate the local population and improve awareness. 27 partner institutions from nine cities in Europe are involved. The project is headed by NILU. • The EU's Citi-Sense-MOB project will run from 2013 to 2015 and involves installing sensors on mobile platforms (buses and bicycles) to make regular measurements. Each of the four Norwegian partners has its own principal focus – NILU on the quality of sensor data, SINTEF on integration towards global standards and data visualisation, Kjeller Innovation on the use of sensor data in other applications and UNIK on user involvement. • THE SENSORS ARE MANUFACTURED BY VARIOUS EUROPEAN COMPANIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, SERBIA AND SPAIN. http://www.sintef.no /home/Press-Room/Res earch-News/You-and-I -will-monitor-the-en vironment/ ,, Dan Soton
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