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UK smog - a sign of the times?

UK smog - a sign of the times?

UK smog - a sign of the times?

While sometimes it is easy to turn a blind eye to the damage being done to the environment through excessive consumption of fossil fuels and disregard for our carbon footprint, it's been much harder as of late to get away from the smog that has been enveloping London.

The haze that affects visibility throughout the UK isn't a weather phenomenon. Back in 2008, when the Olympic Games were held in Beijing, there was a global outcry over the severity of the cloud that covered much of the city as a result of pollution.

At the start of April, comparisons were being made between London and the Chinese capital, with similar disgust being expressed over how the smog had been allowed to get this bad.

Many news channels ran with the story of how even prime minister David Cameron woke up to find his car covered in dust, while the Department for Food, Agriculture & Rural Affairs (Defra) said recently that, although air quality has apparently "improved significantly" in the last few decades, it was a "challenge" to stick to pollution targets for areas situated alongside busy highways.

How bad is it?

When it comes to measuring air quality, several factors are taken into account before Defra rates levels between one and ten, with the latter representing very high proportions of pollution in the local atmosphere.

Among the pollutants that are monitored include nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide, with the department stating that high levels are usually encountered - on average - five times every year.

The smog doesn't just have a negative aesthetic impact - it can also be seriously detrimental to people's health, especially if they are asthmatic or struggle with similar respiratory conditions.

According to the charity Asthma UK, around 5.4 million people are in this position across the country.

In a recent blog post, chief executive Kay Boycott said: "The two-thirds of people with asthma who find that air pollution makes their asthma worse will be at an increased risk of an attack, following the alarming Defra warning of high pollution levels around the country."

This means around 3.6 million individuals are having their wellbeing compromised because of the poor air quality.

You can help

Of course, there are actions we can all be taking to ensure this problem doesn't become even more exacerbated than it already is.

At Aurora, for example, we only use environmentally-friendly cleaning products to carry out our work. Other measures like taking public transport or cycling to the office every day instead of driving in yourself can also be easily implemented to help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Sometimes it's easy to say it's the government's fault or big businesses that are damaging the ecosystem and ultimately causing problems like the smog that is becoming more commonplace - especially in the country's bigger cities.

However, as we are all affected by this issue, it makes sense for us all to try to do something to improve the situation. We've previously written about how you can help your company go green, so that could be good place to start.

 

Posted by Jamie Kendell

Image by Thinkstock