A visible sign of poor air
quality seen over the UK
ON Wednesday, 2 April
2014, Defra said that many parts of the UK could be shrouded in
smog as large parts of England and Wales experienced unusually
high levels of air pollution. This was predicted to be the worst
air pollution in 60 years when, before the Clean Air Act in
Britain, pea soupers were not uncommon and on Wednesday morning,
many areas throughout the UK did instead find high buildings and
trees shrouded in smog. Some coastal areas, at dawn, like on
parts of Merseyside's Coastline witnessed what at times looked
like a green, or yellowing tinged light grey mist. We were told
that this glow was due to the atmospheric conditions and is
common in places like the skies over Paris. The effect is caused
by tiny droplets of liquid water suspended in air interacting
with other airborne particulates (molecules in the air) that
then scatter and reflect the light resulting in a murky yellow
or green tint.
This tint is a very clear and
visible sign of poor air quality. "If you have a car or a
greenhouse, look at the windows. When this happens you can often
see what is in the air, when the mist or fog lifts. This time
small grains of dust from the Sahara desert that can be clearly
identified." A pollution expert from Defra told us. This
combination of Sahara desert sand and a mixture of emissions
from businesses and factories in continental Europe and
across the UK led to the latest government has warnings, as
Southerly winds blow this dust and dirt across Britain.
air pollution levels for 2 April 2014 predicted that the worst
affected places would be in the South According to Defra:-
"The vast majority of people, will suffer no harm as a result of
these conditions. We may notice sore eyes, coughs, sore throats
and perhaps a little bit of a wheeze if we are taking physical
activity outdoors. Clearly this is a serious issue, but it's
important that the media and the public do not get it out of
proportion. Also we will see the pollution levels fall towards
the end of the week. But over the few days of very high air
pollution levels, we strongly recommend that those with lung or
heart disease avoid strong exercise outside. In conditions like
this, we recommend that:-
► Adults and children with lung
problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce
strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and
particularly if they experience symptoms.
► People with Asthma may find they
need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people
should also reduce physical exertion.
► Anyone experiencing discomfort such
as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing
activity, particularly outdoors."
Should you suffer from the effects of poor air quality levels
Defra recommends visiting its
website for the latest
information. You can also follow them on
So should we be worried? Have you been affected by the moderate
to high air pollution levels the UK has experienced? Did you see
the dawn glow in the mist or get a picture of it? Was your car
covered in a light coating of sand?
Email our newsroom your
thoughts, views and reactions to this topic.
The maps attached are what
levels and the prediction map given to the public and media by
Defra on Wednesday, 2 April 2014. © Crown copyright and also
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