Doctors tell government to act on high smog levels

Air quality will remain terrible tomorrow

Charlie Cooper
Thursday 19 March 2015 17:06 GMT

Doctors have urged the government to act on air pollution after another day of warnings over the heavy smog shrouding much of the UK.

Air pollution is forecast to remain high in some urban parts of the Midlands, south Wales and south west England tomorrow. The Government has advised people with heart and lung problems living in the affected areas to reduce their activity.

Winds from the continent and still weather conditions over Britain have led to unusually smoggy conditions. Air pollution levels were moderate to high across Wales, Northern Ireland and many parts of England and Scotland today.

Car exhausts and heavy industry are the main sources of everyday pollution, but high pressure weather conditions and still air can intensify the problem and increase risks to people with underlying heart and lung problems.

The latest health warnings come almost exactly one year after millions of vulnerable people were warned to stay indoors because of unusually high levels of pollution in London and other cities.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said that people with respiratory problems like asthma and COPD should not panic, but should avoid commuting near main roads during rush hour and if possible exercise in an air-conditioned room rather than outside.

“Although this period of high pollution will pass as the weather changes, longer term, this problem is not going to go away unless we see action across all government departments to minimise the impact their policies are having on the quality of air that we breathe,” she said.

Air pollution contributes to 29,000 deaths in the UK every year, according to Public Health England estimates. City-dwellers are the worst-affected. Air pollution is never the single cause of death, but particulate matter can exacerbate underlying heart and lung conditions.

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