Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Air pollution in United Kingdom - Quick facts

UK was for many years connected with increased levels of air pollution but since the introduction of the Clean Air Act in 1968 the levels of air pollution have heavily decreased, especially emissions of sulfur dioxide and smoke.

Despite the obvious overall improvement in UK's air quality there are still many urban areas in UK that have serious air pollution problem (London, Oxford, Bath). There was even one controversial study that suggested how air pollution is so serious in Oxford that walking in Oxford on an average day is equal to smoking over sixty light cigarettes.

The UK government is putting lot of efforts to curb air pollution. One of the best examples to this was the creation of air quality network where levels of the key air pollutants are monitored all the time.

Some recent UK studies have showed that air pollution from road vehicles causes the most damage to human health. In order to fight air pollution coming from road vehicles UK will have to come up with the adequate transport policy, especially since for six of the eight air pollutants identified in the air quality strategy, transport is either the major source, or a significant source, of these pollutants in urban areas.

UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) plays very important role in fight against air pollution. DEFRA has produced a simple banding index system to create a daily warning system that is issued by the BBC Weather Service to indicate air pollution levels in United Kingdom.

The main causes of moderate or higher air pollution at UK's urban sites are ozone, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide.

Many environmentalists believe that UK needs to change its air pollution policy since so far UK's government has emphasized air pollution control rather than air pollution prevention in its environmental policy-making.

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