'Perfect storm' causes air pollution spike across north Wales

Published date: 02 April 2014 |
Published by: Mike Williams 
Read more articles by Mike Williams  Email reporter


'High' levels of air pollution are forecast across the north Wales coast on Thursday. 

A CLOUD of air pollution is spreading across the north Wales coast thanks to a “perfect storm” of weather conditions. 

Public Health England and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs have pointed to an increase in air pollution across Flintshire, Wrexham, Conwy and Denbighshire throughout today(Wednesday). 

Higher levels of air pollution are expected to hit the entire north Wales coast, including Gwynedd and Anglesey, tomorrow (Thursday). 

The pollution could have adverse health effects on some people. 

Dr Sotiris Vardoulakis of PHE said: “While most people will not be affected by short term peaks in air pollution, some individuals, particularly vulnerable groups such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased 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.” 

Dr Keith Prowse of the British Lung Foundation added: "People who use a reliever inhaler should make sure that they carry it with them. 

“If they feel that their conditions are worsening then they should contact their GPs." 

A mix of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara desert have been blamed for the pollution. 

Dr Helen Dacre, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said: "High air pollution levels can cause unpleasant and dangerous effects on health, both long and short term. 

"Toxic gases, such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone, as well as fine dust particles in the air blown in from the Sahara and from burning fossil fuels, all contribute to cause problems for people with heart, lung and breathing problems, such as asthma. 

"The problem is likely to be particularly bad today because weather conditions have conspired to create a perfect storm for air pollution.” 

Ian Colbeck, professor of environmental science at the University of Essex, said: "This pollution episode comes just a week after the World Health Organisation estimated that seven million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution. 

"It is now the biggest single environmental health risk.” 

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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