Countries with the worst air pollution ranked by World Health Organisation There are some countries in the world where the air is so polluted you can forget about coming home with a healthy holiday glow.

LondonOxford Street revealed as worst place in the world for toxic pollutant nitrogen dioxide Traders today said urgent action was needed to slash traffic levels after a report revealed Oxford Street has the highest levels of a toxic pollutant in the world.

air pollution mapAn Interactive Air-Pollution Map In March, the World Health Organization estimated that air pollution was responsible for 7 million premature deaths in 2012. That’s one out of every eight total deaths in the world.

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China Issues Tax Breaks for Green Cars to Tackle Air Pollution

China has introduced tax breaks on sales of electric cars, in an attempt to reduce pollution in the world’s most populous country.

The measure is targeted at sales of energy efficient cars made by Chinese manufacturers.

The country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reported that 17 vehicles from 11 manufacturers would be affected by the changes.

China is seeking to boost sales of electric vehicles, as well as hybrid vehicles that run on a combination of electricity and another source of power, such as petrol or diesel.

Electric vehicles sales are already subsidised by Beijing, amid concern over air pollution levels in the country.

In February Chinese scientists warned that toxic smog was so bad it resembled a nuclear winter and threatened the country’s food supply.

In its ‘new energy’ programme for electric powered vehicles, China pays a subsidy of 60,000 yuan ($9,767, £5,876, €7,434) towards purchases of battery cars, while offering 35,000 yuan for hybrid cars.

Government officials were ordered to increase their usage of electric and hybrid cars in July, while China’s president Xi Jinping has urged state agencies to increase purchases of domestic brands.

Meanwhile, the government is considering a new tax on gasoline in a bid to fund its green energy push.

Wang Chuanfu, chairman of the electric car maker BYD, said in August that a small tax hike of 0.2 yuan on a litre of gasoline, which could raise billions of yuan in revenues, was under consideration.

In 2012, the government set a target to have 500,000 ‘new energy’ vehicles on China’s roads by 2015, increasing to five million by 2020.

In the first six month of 2014, 16,483 ‘new energy’ vehicles were sold in China, more than double the amount in the same period in 2013, according to Automotive Foresight, an industry research firm.

via China Issues Tax Breaks for Green Cars to Tackle Air Pollution.

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Front Range air pollution surprises researchers

Researchers who examined air pollution along northern Colorado’s Front Range said they were surprised by how much harmful ozone and ozone-causing chemicals are drifting into the mountains from urban and rural areas below.

“Really, all the way up to the Continental Divide you can find ozone,” said Gabriele Pfister, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and one of the principal investigators on the project.

“People (are) thinking you go into the mountains and you breathe the fresh air — that’s not always the case,” she said in an interview Wednesday.

Researchers gathered data from aircraft, balloons and ground stations from the south Denver area to Fort Collins, about 60 miles to the north. The aircraft flights started in mid-July and ran until Aug. 18.

The scientists stressed they were in the very early stages of reviewing the data and were hesitant to offer many specifics.

Ozone can worsen breathing problems and damage crops and other vegetation. Oil and gas production, traffic, power plants and agriculture are among the major sources of chemicals that combine to create ozone when subjected to sunlight.

The Denver area sometimes exceeds federal standards for ozone, and the new data is expected to help lawmakers and regulators make decisions about bringing levels down.

Researchers said ozone and ozone-causing chemicals were pushed into the mountain air from lower elevations by wind and temperature-driven air movement.

Ozone was found in Rocky Mountain National Park about 60 miles northwest of Denver, said James Crawford, a research scientist at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and principal investigator for the space agency’s part of the project.

“We view Rocky Mountain National Park as a refuge, and to learn there are days when it’s not as safe as we think of it as, it’s something people should know,” Crawford said.

In some cases, the ozone levels in the mountains were similar to or greater than levels at lower elevations, said Frank Flocke, another NCAR scientist and a principal investigator.

Some ozone that is created at lower elevations filters to the ground or is diluted as air movement carries it into the mountains, but the precursors continue to produce more ozone as they rise, he said.

Aircraft detected ozone and precursors at 16,500 feet, Flocke said, more than 11,000 feet above Denver and more than 2,000 feet above Longs Peak, the highest point in the northern Rockies.

The consequences of mountain ozone still have to be examined and quantified, Pfister said. Flocke said ozone would have the same harmful effects in the mountains that it has at lower elevations.

The broader ramifications of the discovery are not yet clear. Two scientists with the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t immediately return phone calls.

The researchers said they were fortunate to have both high- and low-ozone days during the study period.

“If it’s dirty every day, you can’t really get at it,” Crawford said. “You want to look at a clean day versus a dirty day.”

They expect to begin making their data public by the end of the year. They have so much that it will support years of research, Pfister said.

“I think it is a little bit overwhelming in a way, in a good way,” she said.

Federal and state scientists and researchers from a dozen universities are participating in the research project.

via Front Range air pollution surprises researchers.

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Trash burning worldwide significantly worsens air pollution

Unregulated trash burning around the globe is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere than shown by official records. A new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned in such fires, emitting gases and particles that can substantially affect human health and climate change.

The new study provides the first rough estimates, on a country-by-country basis, of pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, and mercury that are emitted by the fires. Such pollutants have been linked to serious medical issues.

The researchers also estimated emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas produced by human activity.

Unlike emissions from commercial incinerators, the emissions from burning trash in open fires often go unreported to environmental agencies and are left out of many national inventories of air pollution. For that reason, they are not incorporated into policy making.

“Air pollution across much of the globe is significantly underestimated because no one is tracking open-fire burning of trash,” said NCAR scientist Christine Wiedinmyer, lead author of the new study. “The uncontrolled burning of trash is a major source of pollutants, and it’s one that should receive more attention.”

Quantifying the extent of burning trash may change how policy makers track emissions, as well as how scientists incorporate air pollution into computer models used to study the atmosphere.

Because trash burning is unregulated and unmonitored, Wiedinmyer said that actual emissions could be larger or smaller than the study’s estimates by a factor of two. Still, the analysis represents the most comprehensive effort to date to account for emissions from trash burning.

The new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, was funded by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor. It was co-authored by scientists from the University of Montana and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who were also involved in measuring the composition of trash-burning emissions.

Trash burning is a global phenomenon. But it is most prevalent in developing countries where there are fewer trash disposal facilities, such as landfills and incinerators.

The amount of garbage burned in remote villages and crowded megacities is likely on the rise, as more people worldwide are consuming more goods. The trash often contains discarded plastics and electronics as well as traditional materials such as food scraps and wood.

Wiedinmyer began wondering about the impact of burning trash while visiting remote villages in Ghana. The villages were shrouded in smoke caused in part from trash fires that smoldered all day.

To estimate emissions from trash fires, Wiedinmyer and her co-authors compared population figures and per capita waste production with official tallies of trash disposal for each country in the world. They estimated that 1.1 billion tons (1 billion metric tons), or 41 percent, of the total waste generated worldwide is disposed of through unregulated burning every year.

The countries that produce the most total waste, according to the study’s methods, are heavily populated countries with various levels of industrial development: China, the United States, India, Japan, Brazil, and Germany. But the study concluded that the nations with the greatest emissions from trash burning are populous developing countries: China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, and Turkey.

By analyzing consumption patterns in each country, the research team then estimated the type and amount of pollutants from the fires.

The study concluded that the fires produce emissions equivale­­­nt to as much as 29 percent of officially reported human-related global emissions of small particulates (less than 2.5 microns in diameter), as well as 10 percent of mercury and 64 percent of a group of gases known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These pollutants have been linked to such significant health impacts as decreased lung function, neurological disorders, cancer, and heart attacks.

Trash burning in some countries accounts for particularly high quantities of certain types of pollutants. In China, for example, the emissions are equivalent to 22 percent of reported emissions of larger particles (those up to 10 microns in diameter).

The global impact on greenhouse gas emissions appears to be less, though still significant, with burning trash producing an amount of carbon dioxide equal to an estimated 5 percent of reported human-related emissions. (By comparison, the Kyoto Protocol strove for a global 5 percent cut among industrialized countries in greenhouse-gas emissions derived from fossil fuels.) In certain developing countries—such as Lesotho, Burundi, Mali, Somalia, and Sri Lanka—the trash burning produces more carbon dioxide than is tallied in official inventories. This discrepancy can be important in international negotiations over reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wiedinmyer said the next step in her research will be to track the pollutants to determine where they are having the greatest impacts.

“This study was a first step to put some bounds on the magnitude of this issue,” she said. “The next step is to look at what happens when these pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere—where are they being transported and which populations are being most affected.”

via Trash burning worldwide significantly worsens air pollution | UCAR – University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

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Review: Fashion Capital

Boutique Pick of the Week

We thought we would feature something a bit different as our Boutique Pick this week, with the increasing interest in cycling comes the growth of cycle-wear and accessories. Here we have tartan pollution mask by Respro®, just one of several skins you can choose from. Take your pick from graffiti, leaves and butterflies to herringbone, dogtooth and petal in numerous colourways. The Respro® ‘Skin’ is the Neoprene outer-shell of the mask. When the Skin is combined with a filter and valve assembly, you have the full Respro® mask ready to use.



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Countries with the worst air pollution ranked by World Health Organisation

THERE are some countries in the world where the air is so polluted you can forget about coming home with a healthy holiday glow.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its 2014 report into global air pollution with some concerning finds.

The database looked at the air pollution levels of 1600 cities across 19 countries by using a reading called PM2.5 and PM10. PM2.5 is considered the best indicator of assessing health impacts from air pollution and examines the concentration of fine particulate pollution of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter (PM2.5).

Thes particles might be smoke, dirt, mould or pollen and their fine size poses the biggest risks to human health as they can be inhaled and accumulated in the respiratory system. WHO says there is no safe level of PM2.5.

Here are the 10 most polluted countries in the world.

1. Pakistan

Average PM2.5 pollution: 101 ug/m3

With a population of almost 180 million urban air pollution in Pakistan causes thousands of adult deaths each year.

A World Bank report found that outdoor air pollution alone causes more than 80,000 hospital admissions per year; nearly 8,000 cases of chronic bronchitis, and almost five million cases of lower respiratory cases in children under the age of five.

Too dangerous to even breathe in Pakistan.

Too dangerous to even breathe in Pakistan. Source: AFP

2. Qatar

Average PM2.5 pollution: 92 ug/m3

With a population of 2 million people and growing, Qatar also faces increased pollution from its high rate of construction and busy air traffic making it the second most polluted country in the world.

Qatar has one of the world’s busiest air routes.

Qatar has one of the world’s busiest air routes. Source: AP

3. Afghanistan

Average PM2.5 pollution: 84 ug/m3

The Afghanistan government estimates that air pollution is responsible for 3000 deaths every year in the capital Kabul.

With a population of almost 30 million, Afghanistan suffers from traffic congestion, dust and the geographical limitations of a mountainous city.

The city’s swelling size has led to illegal homes powered by diesel generators or for those who can’t afford electricity, they burn tires and plastic bags for fuel.

4. Bangladesh

Average PM2.5 pollution: 79 ug/m3

Home to nearly 155 million people, the air quality has fallen nearly 60 per cent in the last 10 years. In fact three Bangladeshi cities are in the top 25 cities with the poorest air quality.

The highly polluted tannery area of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The highly polluted tannery area of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Source: AP

5. Iran

Average PM2.5 pollution: 76 ug/m3

With a population of more than 76 million, four cities in Iran make the top 10 list of most polluted cities in the world. A combination of poor political decisions, substandard gasoline and traffic congestion means that its residents inhale a deadly mix of rubber particles, asbestos, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.

The heavily polluted city of Tehran, Iran.

The heavily polluted city of Tehran, Iran. Source: AFP

6. Egypt

Average PM2.5 pollution: 74 ug/m3

The average resident of Cairo breathes in more than 20 times the acceptable level of air pollution every day according to WHO. The growing number of cars, factories and power plants, and the use of old heating methods such as burning coal and wood are considered to be the main man-made sources of air pollution.

Ancient pyramids engulfed by smog in Egypt.

Ancient pyramids engulfed by smog in Egypt. Source: News Corp Australia

7. Mongolia

Average PM2.5 pollution: 64 ug/m3

It’s population may only be 2.7 million but Mongolia’s long, cold winters that can drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius means that many Mongolians burn coal for cooking and heating creating a huge air pollution problem. Its capital Ulaanbaatar is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

Freezing winter temperatures means many Mongolians resort to open fire heating.

Freezing winter temperatures means many Mongolians resort to open fire heating. Source: News Corp Australia

8. United Arab Emirates

Average PM2.5 pollution: 61 ug/m3

It may be one of the richest regions in the world, but it has made its fortune from the oil and gas industries that are notoriously filthy. With a population of more than 9 million, Dubai launched an annual “car free day” in 2010 to try and tackle its problems with congestion and pollution.

All that money can’t buy clean air in the UAE.

All that money can’t buy clean air in the UAE. Source: Supplied

9. India

Average PM2.5 pollution: 59 ug/m3

In the winter of 2013, air pollution in New Delhi was 60 times higher than the level considered safe according to India’s Center for Science and Environment (CSE) and it had the highest rate of air pollution in the world according to WHO.

Pollution from construction sites, industrial emissions, open fires, vehicle emissions and a staggering population of 1.2 billion put India at number nine on the list.

The chaotic streets of Delhi make it hard to breathe.

The chaotic streets of Delhi make it hard to breathe. Source: Supplied

10. Bahrain

Average PM2.5 pollution: 57 ug/m3

Air pollution is not entirely relegated to the world’s developing nations. The high income country of Bahrain may only have a population of 1.3 million but it scraped in at number 10 on the list due to its high levels of pollution from energy production, dust, smoke and industrial emissions.

via Countries with the worst air pollution ranked by World Health Organisation.

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Date of Boris’s air quality evidence to MPs announced

Boris Johnson is to be quizzed by MPs about his environmental policies and their part in cleaning up London’s air quality on September 10th.

The Mayor and his senior environment advisor, Matthew Pencharz, will appear before the Environmental Audit Committee which is investigating the role of local authorities in tackling pollution.

In April Mr Johnson declined an invitation to give evidence to the investigation, citing diary commitments.

He later agreed to appear alongside Mr Pencharz but urged MPs to quiz UK Ministers and EU officials about their role in tackling poor air quality.

In a letter to committee chair Joan Walley, the Mayor said “air quality is a national issue” and insisted the committee will need to hear evidence “from the widest possible number of stakeholders” if it’s to have a full understanding of the issue.

The Mayor will appear for around 45 minutes from 2.15pm on September 10th.

via Date of Boris’s air quality evidence to MPs announced — MayorWatch.

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UK air pollution fuels official concern

A small group of politicians could be spotted in Parliament Square last month struggling to squeeze wires and tubes into jacket pockets and handbags.

As traffic thundered around them, members of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) were being fitted with air pollution monitors.

At the flick of a switch, tubes attached to collars and lapels began to suck in the same air as the MPs, in tests that recorded their exposure to air pollution in Westminster and their constituencies.

Matthew Offord, member for Hendon, feared his suspicions about fumes from a high number of strategic roads in his constituency might be confirmed. The MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead, was concerned that children might receive higher pollution doses than adults.

Mike Kane, member for Wythenshawe and Sale East, was keen to pinpoint local sources of pollution, explaining that “9% of my neighbours die early because of air pollution”.

Stark mortality figures like these have convinced the EAC members to launch an investigation into the slow progress being made in improving air quality in the UK. The tests will feed into the investigation, with a report due to be published later this year.

‘Diesel to blame’

Recent figures from Public Health England, the government health advisers, estimated that 29,000 deaths every year in the UK can be attributed to air pollution. Committee chair Joan Walley believes this is “a huge issue that is not being addressed”.

“What we are dealing with now is invisible, therefore it is not high up in people’s perceptions.”

The investigation was carried out with the help of Benjamin Barratt, a lecturer in air quality science at King’s College, London. To raise the profile of the issue and “show people pollution”, he wants many more communities to have the chance to use his monitors.

The monitors measure the intake of black carbon, a product of combustion in vehicle engines, and combine it with data from a GPS watch that tracks the user’s movements. Once he has analysed the figures, Dr Barratt produces a simple graph. A user can “relate the results so closely to their daily activity that it’s almost as if they can see the pollution”.

Whilst the levels of some air pollutants have declined significantly in the UK over the past 20 years, the levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) have remained stubbornly high in most urban areas. Dr Barratt believes that diesel engines are “probably the root of the problem”.

More cars are now sold with diesel engines than petrol, and efforts by the European Union to force manufacturers to produce cleaner diesel engines have met with limited success.

The official published figures appear to show new cars getting much cleaner, but drivers will find it tough to match those figures.

“Typically, we’ve found the real world NOx can be three, four, five times the official values,” says Nick Molden, whose company, Emissions Analytics, measures the emissions of hundreds of cars in real traffic conditions every year.

Car with air pollution monitorMonitors like this one are used to measure emissions

Whilst engines are tuned and run to minimise pollution in lab tests, he says that on the road, congestion and regular stopping and starting at junctions will produce very different figures.

EAC wants to study these kind of issues in its investigation, along with observations raised when the committee members received the results from their monitors.

Ms Walley, the MP for Stoke-On-Trent North, was concerned that “some of the highest figures were when I was driving around my constituency in my own car”.

Mr Kane noted the sharp contrast between the high exposures he suffered travelling by car into Manchester, and the relatively low exposure experienced when taking the same journey by train.

Walking through the city, he was exposed to nearly three times as much pollution on busy Lever Street as he was walking alongside the nearby canal.

Dr Barrett points to a pollution peak suffered by the MPs when the committee members left Westminster and shared a taxi in rush hour traffic through central London. On a hot day, with the taxi windows open, the MPs’ monitors recorded figures six times as high as those recorded walking in Parliament Square.

MPs Alan Whitehead, Joan Walley, Matthew Offord with air pollution monitors on Oxford StreetMPs Alan Whitehead, Joan Walley, Matthew Offord (l-r) took part in the tests

For Dr Barratt, knowledge is power. “In cities, we usually have choices. It’s common sense. If you think the pollution is coming from vehicle exhausts, try to avoid them.”

We should take the train rather than sit in our cars surrounded by other cars belching pollutants, he says – and then there is his personal bugbear.

“I see people jogging along busy roads. It’s crazy. Jog through a park, jog through a back street. It’s much more sensible, much more healthy.”

via BBC News – UK air pollution fuels official concern.

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Respro® Skins™ pollution mask LEAVES

Refresh your old Respro® Mask with a new skin to #matchyourstyle

SKINS_SIGNATURECustomise your new Respro® mask:

Choose your Skin design and colour, together with a filter and valve accessory pack to match your style. You get to build your mask to your own unique specification.

Refresh your old Respro® mask:

If you already own a Respro® Mask, you can buy a just the Skin™ without the filter and valves and use your own components. To assemble your mask or change the filter, watch this video.

Respro® Skins™ are available online via

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask - LEAVES Pattern 3 #matchyourstyle

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask – LEAVES Pattern 3 #matchyourstyle


Respro® Skins™ pollution mask - LEAVES Pattern 2 #matchyourstyle

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask – LEAVES Pattern 2 #matchyourstyle


Respro® Skins™ pollution mask - LEAVES Pattern 1 #matchyourstyle

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask – LEAVES Pattern 1 #matchyourstyle

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask - LEAVES Pattern 4 #matchyourstyle

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask – LEAVES Pattern 4 #matchyourstyle

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Respro® Masks FAQ: I feel my breathing is restricted, is this normal?

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask - PETAL Mixed #matchyourstyleI feel my breathing is restricted, is this normal?

I think that from the start that you have to understand that any mask will have some level of restriction especially at fast breathing rates for example; when cycling fast.

All of our masks are compatible with aerobic exercise. If you body starts working in an anaerobic capacity then no mask is compatible and you will feel like you need to stop or slow down.,

The best masks will use exhalation valves that ‘dump’ heat, water vapours and Co2; the quicker the better. The removal of these components are the key to comfort. You need to get them out of the mask. The Powa and Powa Elite valve is key at elevated breathing rates.

For more frequently asked questions, go to Respro® Mask FAQ

All Respro® products are available from our website

Respro® will ship your order to anywhere on the planet free of charge.

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