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Number of 'extremely hot days' in UK could increase FOURFOLD if global temperature rises 7.2°F

Air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels, cars, cement production and agriculture


carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the biggest causes of global warming. After the gas is released into the atmosphere, it stays there, making it difficult for heat to escape — and warming the planet in the process.

It is primarily released when fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas are burned and when cement is manufactured.

The average monthly concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere in April 2019 is 413 parts per million (ppm). Before the industrial revolution, the concentration was only 280 ppm.

CO2 concentration has fluctuated between 180 and 280 ppm over the past 800,000 years, but has been greatly accelerated by man-made pollution.

nitrogen dioxide

The gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) comes from the burning of fossil fuels, car exhaust and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers in agriculture.

Although there is far less NO2 than CO2 in the atmosphere, it is 200 to 300 times more effective at trapping heat.

sulfur dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) also comes mainly from burning fossil fuels, but can also be released from car exhaust.

SO2 can react with water, oxygen, and other chemicals in the atmosphere, causing acid rain.

carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an indirect greenhouse gas because it reacts with and removes hydroxyl radicals. Hydroxyl radicals shorten the lifespan of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.


What is particulate matter?

Particulate matter refers to tiny pieces of solid or liquid material in the air.

Some are visible as dust while others cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Materials such as metals, microplastics, soil and chemicals can be found in particulate matter.

Particulate matter (or PM) is measured in microns. The two main ones mentioned in reports and studies are PM10 (less than 10 microns) and PM2.5 (less than 2.5 microns).

Air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels, cars, cement production and agriculture

Air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels, cars, cement production and agriculture

Scientists measure the amount of particulate matter in the air in cubic meters.

Particulate matter is thrown into the air by a number of processes, including burning fossil fuels, driving cars and making steel.

Why are particulate matter dangerous?

Particles are dangerous because particles smaller than 10 microns in diameter can get deep into your lungs or even your bloodstream. Particulate matter is found in higher concentrations in urban areas, particularly along major thoroughfares.

Health Effects

What health problems can pollution cause?

According to the World Health Organization, a third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease can be attributed to air pollution.

Some of the effects of air pollution on the body are unknown, but pollution can increase inflammation, which narrows arteries and leads to heart attacks or strokes.

In addition, almost one in ten cases of lung cancer in the UK is caused by air pollution.

Particles enter and lodge in the lungs, causing inflammation and damage. In addition, some chemicals in particles that enter the body can cause cancer.

Pollution-related deaths

Around seven million people die prematurely every year from air pollution. Pollution can cause a range of problems including asthma attacks, strokes, various types of cancer and cardiovascular problems.

asthma triggers

Air pollution can cause problems for asthmatics for a variety of reasons. Pollutants in traffic exhaust can irritate the respiratory system, and particles can get into the lungs and throat, inflaming those areas.

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problems in pregnancy

Women who are exposed to air pollution before they become pregnant are nearly 20 percent more likely to have babies with birth defects, a January 2018 study suggests.

If women live within 5 km (3.1 miles) of a heavily polluted area a month before conception, women are more likely to give birth to babies with defects such as cleft palates or cleft lips, according to a University of Cincinnati study revealed.

For every 0.01 mg/m3 increase in fine airborne particles, birth defects increase by 19 percent, the study adds.

Previous research suggests that when women suffer from inflammation and “internal stress,” this causes birth defects.

What is being done about air pollution?

Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement, first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.

She hopes to keep the rise in global mean temperature below 2°C (3.6°F) “and make efforts to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5°C (2.7°F)”.

Climate neutral by 2050

The UK government has announced plans to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.

They plan to do this by planting more trees and installing “carbon capture” technology at the source of pollution.

Some critics fear that this first option will be used by the government to export its carbon offsets to other countries.

International carbon credits allow nations to continue emitting carbon while paying to have trees planted elsewhere to offset their emissions.

No new petrol or diesel vehicles by 2040

In 2017, the UK government announced it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

However, MPs on the climate change committee have urged the government to bring the ban forward to 2030 as they will have equivalent range and price by then.

The Paris Agreement, first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change.  Pictured: Air pollution over Paris in 2019.

The Paris Agreement, first signed in 2015, is an international agreement to control and limit climate change. Pictured: Air pollution over Paris in 2019.

Norway’s subsidies for electric cars

The rapid electrification of the Norwegian automobile fleet is primarily attributed to generous government subsidies. Electric cars are almost completely exempt from the high taxes levied on petrol and diesel cars, making them competitively priced.

A VW Golf with a standard internal combustion engine costs just under 334,000 kroner (34,500 euros, $38,600), while its electric cousin, the e-Golf, costs 326,000 kroner thanks to a lower tax quotient.

Criticism of inaction on climate change

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said there is a “shocking” lack of government preparedness for the risks of climate change to the country.

The committee assessed 33 areas where climate change risks needed to be addressed – from flood resilience of properties to impacts on farmland and supply chains – and found no real progress in any of them.

The UK is unprepared for 2°C warming, the level at which countries have pledged to limit temperature rises, let alone a 4°C rise that is possible if greenhouse gases are not reduced globally , the committee said.

It added that cities need more green space to stop the urban “heat island” effect and prevent flooding by soaking up heavy rainfall.

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