After the first sun of the year comes the first smog
Saturday 10 May 2008
Just when the country was beginning to enjoy some warm weather, experts warned that the sun has arrived with a sting in its tail – the first smog of summer.
The air pollution is likely to affect England, Scotland and Wales over the weekend, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) warned yesterday. High ozone levels, which occur when sunlight interacts with nitrogen oxides and other pollutants, are set to persist until at least the beginning of next week, when Northern Ireland could also be hit.
Ground-level ozone can affect some people's breathing and Defra experts urged the public to take precautions to reduce exposure, such as avoiding outdoor exercise in the afternoon. They also urged people to avoid making unnecessary car journeys, as the pollutants which cause ground-level ozone come from sources such as petrol.
A Defra spokesman said: "During episodes of air pollution experienced during the summer in the United Kingdom, levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particles may be raised. Most people will experience no ill effects. Those suffering from lung diseases (including asthma) particularly if elderly should be aware that their symptoms might worsen. They may need to consider modifying their treatment as they usually do when symptoms increase, consulting their doctor if this is not effective.
"People who have noticed in the past that their breathing is affected on hot, sunny days should avoid strenuous outdoor activity, particularly in the afternoon.
"Children with asthma should be able to take part in games in the usual way, although they may need to increase their use of reliever medicines before participating."
The spokesman added that anyone suffering from a heart condition who noticed a change in their symptoms should seek medical advice.
Jon Bower, the chief consultant at AEA Environment, said the current weather conditions and predicted hot weekend meant that the UK would not only have to cope with its own ozone but pollution blown over from the Continent. The problem would affect the countryside as well as cities, he explained.
It was impossible to predict whether this would be a particularly bad summer, Mr Bower said, adding: "Last year, we had very few episodes but the long, hot summer of 2003 saw two months of such conditions."
The term smog is attributed to Dr Henry Antoine Des Voeux, who wrote of it in a 1905 Public Health Congress paper explaining that such smoky fog was prevalent in built-up areas. Although modern-day smog is more usually associated with cities such as Los Angeles, London was once famous for its "pea-soupers". The Great Smog of 1952 darkened the capital's streets and killed 4,000 people in just four days. A further 8,000 were said to have died from its effects over the next few months.
The singer Susan Boyle has revealed for the first time that she has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism.
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
travelFor broadcaster Mishal Husain, a long-haul Club Med holiday was a chance for her family to explore its sense of 'zen' and 'animation'
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Ja Rule forced to deny leaving wife for prison cell mate
MPs face public outrage after watchdog approves 'inappropriate' 11% pay rise
The 'terrorist' and the Tories: What did Nelson Mandela really think of Margaret Thatcher?
Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
£23999 - £32001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: An independent ac...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# WPF Developer (WinF...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA Tester Automation R...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Data Management & ...