The UK Government is required by law to report each year on any instances in which it does not comply with air pollution regulations set out to safeguard public health. One of the most dangerous pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), is prohibited from exceeding 40 µg/m3 on an annual average basis in the UK.
More importantly, however, (WHO) completely revised its pollution guidelines last year due to mounting evidence of the detrimental effects of air pollution on human health. The present legal limit for NO2 pollution in the UK is four times higher than the WHO-suggested guideline of 10 µg/m for annual average pollution.
According to the most recent data, ten of the forty-three national reporting zones experienced unlawful levels of NO2 pollution in 2021. This is almost double as in 2020 when transient reductions in NO2 levels across the nation were caused by lockdowns.
This means that although the WHO reports a different picture, some cities of the country may currently be recording pollution levels that are under legal limits. According to what scientists now understand, the UK’s towns and cities’ air quality continues to endanger public health.
There are several reasons why the air quality in some parts of the country is so bad. Let’s examine a few of the main offenders:
With millions of inhabitants and visitors, cities like Canary Wharf, England, York, England are extremely crowded, and traffic emissions are a major hazard to the quality of the air. Transport accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to data.
Hazardous pollutants like (NO2) and (PM2.5) are released by vehicle exhaust, especially from vehicles and trucks. These pollutants can cause respiratory disorders and other health problems in people. Particularly, idle cars have a major role in the poor quality of the air.
The combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity at power facilities contributes to air pollution. Pollutants including nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are discharged by these facilities. In addition to having an effect on the local air quality, these emissions also contribute to global warming.
Dust and other air pollutants are released into the atmosphere during industrial processes like manufacturing and building. In many places, construction occurs day and night, which poses a serious threat to the quality of the air. If industrial pollutants, chemicals, and dust are not properly handled, they can negatively impact the quality of the air.
Fossil fuel combustion, whether for power generation, transportation, or heating, is the primary cause of poor air quality. Of course, the greatest method to lessen air pollution is to use fewer fossil fuels.
A clean, green energy source that generates electricity without releasing any dangerous pollutants or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is solar power. Additionally, it may be utilized to power electric vehicles and heat buildings, negating the need for petrol and oil and significantly lowering emissions from both.
Large-scale solar energy generation can replace fossil fuel-based electricity generation, helping the city lessen air pollution and lessen the effects of climate change.