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Oxford 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.

 

EU Cities NO2Boris Johnson defends London’s record on air pollution Levels of NO2 on Oxford Street in 2013 were at an annual mean of 135 μg m-3, according to samples taken by the London Air Quality Network. Other data analysed by the European Environment Agency also showed London topping Europe’s cities for air pollution, though at lower levels than the Oxford Street samples, which were not submitted for the agency’s consideration.

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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

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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.com

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Respro® Masks FAQ: Do I need to replace the valves?

DO I NEED TO REPLACE THE VALVES?

The valves should not need replacing on a regular basis assuming that they are maintained properly. On a monthly basis, it is advisable to flush the valves through with warm water, allow to dry and apply a little talcum powder to prevent the valve from sticking. On the Powa valve, it is essential that you locate the two pins, nearest the hinge, properly into the body of the valve, and check that they are seated properly.

For more Frequently Asked Questions,  go to Respro® Mask FAQ

All Respro® products are available from our website respro.com

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Iran to produce 0.4m electric motorcycles to help reduce air pollution

Iran plans to place 400,000 electric motorcycles and 140,000 hybrid taxi cabs on the market as part of a plan backed by the Oil Ministry to help environment protection, said the managing director of Iran Fuel Conservation Company (IFCC).

Elaborating on the government’s above-stated plan, Nosratollah Seifi said, “Due to incomplete combustion, some motorcycles pollute the air four times as much as automobiles.”

According to Tehran Times, Seifi stated that some production companies have held talks on manufacturing electric motorcycles with officials of the Ministry of Industry and Mines and the Interior Ministry, adding that if the plan is implemented, a manufacturer will receive $300 for each electric motorbike it produces. Once the plan is implemented, only electric motorcycles will be allowed on the streets of central Tehran.

He added that the IFCC also has a plan to get rid of 140 taxi cabs that use gasoline and replace them with 140 hybrid or CNG-powered taxi cabs. However, the CNG-powered vehicles must be able to travel 400 kilometres on a full tank of fuel in order to be covered by the plan, whereas the vehicles currently being used can only travel 150 kilometers on a full tank of fuel.

He noted that the IFCC devised plan must be approved by Iran’s Economic Council and implemented by other relevant organizations. “Measures have been taken to provide domestic companies the technical expertise necessary to manufacture electric cars, and test production is scheduled to begin in a few months. If hybrid cars cannot be produced domestically, they can be imported. In addition, the manufacturer will receive $6000 for each vehicle produced,” Seifi said.

via Iran to produce 0.4m electric motorcycles to help reduce air pollution.

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Alarming rise in deaths from air pollution

Air pollution-related deaths in Australia have jumped by 69 per cent in five years while deaths in 20 other similar countries have declined, a report from Victoria’s Auditor General has said.

The Auditor General, John Doyle’s report said there were 1483 deaths related to air pollution in 2012, a leap from 882 deaths in 2005.

At the same time, 20 other countries, including the United Kingdom, United States and Germany, had decreases in their pollution-related death. Mr Doyle cited a 2014 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report that suggested this was due to stricter vehicle emissions in those countries.

The cost of these pollution-related deaths to Australia was $5.8 billion in 2010. It was estimated that 50 per cent could be attributed to air pollution from road transport, the Auditor General’s report said.

Victoria’s total emissions from transport have grown 41.2 per cent from 1990 to 2012 and the report estimated that transport accounted for 18.72 per cent of Victoria’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2011–12.

Passenger cars were responsible for about 60 per cent of transport greenhouse gases, the report said.

The Auditor General’s report ”Managing the Environmental Impacts of Transport” was critical of the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure’s efforts to reduce emissions, pollution and noise.

Mr Doyle singled out VicRoads as ahead of most agencies within the transport department on environmental impact measures. However overall he criticised the department’s environmental performance saying much of its plan was aspirational and without goals, performance measures and focus.

He also singled out Public Transport Victoria for failing to have a dedicated plan for reducing emissions or energy consumption and failing to act on suggestions made in 2012.

Under the Transport Integration Act, transport agencies must ”manage the transport system in a way that actively contributes to environmental sustainability” the report said.

Mr Doyle was critical of the department’s response to his recommendations.

”I am disappointed by (the department’s) less than fulsome acceptance of my recommendations for it to develop a statewide strategy to address the environmental impacts of the transport system,” Mr Doyle said.

via Alarming rise in deaths from air pollution.

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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.com

Respro® Skins™ pollution mask - HERRINGBONE Purple #matchyourstyle

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China’s air pollution worsens in July, highest in north

Air pollution across 74 major Chinese cities worsened in July compared to last year, according to government data released on Tuesday, showing that the government is having trouble shaking its smog problem.

The 74 cities struggled with pollution on 26.9 percent of the days in July, up from 19.5 percent a year ago, data on the Ministry of Environmental Protection website said.

The air was worst in northern China, where Beijing, Tianjin and seven cities in Hebei province made the list of the 10 worst cities. Air pollution was judged high on 57.4 percent of the days in July, up from 51.4 percent last year.

Air pollution has figured high on the government’s agenda since a choking smog dubbed the “airpocalypse” engulfed key Chinese cities in January 2013, leading Premier Li Keqiang to announce a “war on pollution” in March this year.

Data from Greenpeace, which monitors air quality reports from 190 cities nationwide, showed last month that PM2.5, a measurement of tiny particles in the air, had dropped 6 percent in January-June, compared with the same six months in 2013.

But Tuesday’s government data showed that coal-reliant China is not making much of a dent in pollution levels despite closing down thousands of heavy-polluting facilities across the nation.

The number of high-pollution days in eastern and southern parts of the nation was less than half those in the north, although still growing, the data showed.

In the Yangtze River delta, Shanghai and 24 other cities faced high pollution levels on 25.1 percent of July days, up from 14.2 percent in the same month last year.

In nine cities in the southern Pearl River delta, pollution levels soared on 18.1 percent of days, compared to only 6.8 percent in July the year before.

Officials continue to introduce new policies and legislation to deal with the problem.

The Shanghai municipal government last month increased its maximum penalties fivefold for companies breaching environmental regulations.

It also removed a law saying polluters could only be fined once, meaning the government can now impose new fines every day until companies comply with the law.

The move was in line with China’s new environmental protection law, which aims to strengthen officials’ abilities to implement environmental policies.

via China’s air pollution worsens in July, highest in north | Reuters.

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