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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Hundreds dying in Northamptonshire through air pollution-related diseases

Calls to cut car emissions have been made by Northamptonshire’s Labour group after a report showed air pollution is causing 315 early deaths in the county each year.

The findings by Public Health England show that long-term exposure to air pollution – linked to a cardiovascular disease and cancer – leads to around 29,000 deaths in the United Kingdom annually.

The figures also reveal pollution was a factor in 102 deaths in people over the age of 25 in Northampton in 2010.

Following its release Labour has announced plans to deliver a national framework for Low Emissions Zones if it wins the general election next year, which would enable local authorities to encourage the use of ‘greener’ vehicles and other measures to reduce pollution.

Labour’s shadow cabinet member asfor transport, highways and the environment at Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Winston Strachan, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “Air pollution causes 315 early deaths each year in Northamptonshire and 29,000 nationally, more than obesity and alcohol, yet the Government has no plan to get air pollution under control.

“Exposure to the level of air pollution currently found in Northamptonshire causes cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“Studies have also shown that pregnant women, who are exposed to these pollutants, have significantly high risk of low birth weight babies, and poor respiratory health.”

According to the report pollution from road traffic, particularly diesel fumes, are the most significant cause of poor air quality.

The Healthy Air Campaign, led by campaign group ClientEarth, has also welcomed the call by Northamptonshire Labour.

A spokesperson for the campaign, aimed at lobbying government to put emission-reduction measures in place, said:

“Northamptonshire Labour is doing the right thing by stepping in to protect the health of local people.

“Air pollution is an invisible killer, causing heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease. Children living near busy roads have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs, and that’s not acceptable.”

via Hundreds dying in Northamptonshire through air pollution-related diseases – Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

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Transportation Department wins awards for reducing air pollution

The CFISD transportation department earned two awards for its efforts to mitigate air pollution at the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) 2014 Clean Air Action “Best In Motion” Leadership Awards Program on Sept. 11 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston-Greenway Plaza.

The event, honoring the region’s clean air champions, featured KHOU 11 news chief meteorologist David Paul as master of ceremonies and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett as keynote speaker.

CFISD received two awards: the 2014 Clean Air Champion and 2014 Air Quality Leadership Award-Public Sector.

“I am proud to receive these awards from the Houston-Galveston Area Council on behalf of the CFISD Transportation Department,” said director of transportation Bill Powell. “To achieve these accomplishments takes everyone’s efforts and hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight. For years, we have strived to be safe and efficient stewards for our community to transport our students, and I am thankful that everyone’s hard work has been recognized.”

Several environmentally responsible practices led to the transportation department’s HGAC honors:

accelerating its route fleet turnover rate to 15 years with the approval of the Board of Trustees and community support;

retrofitting 611 school buses with Closed Crankcase Ventilation Systems (CCVs) and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst Systems (DOCs) to reduce emissions;

performing regular vehicle maintenance, resulting in decreased emissions (e.g. keeping vehicle engines well-maintained, using manufacturer recommended motor oil, regularly changing filters and servicing the air conditioning);

maintaining clean fleet policies for on-road vehicles;

reducing fleet emissions and/or minimizing vehicle miles by being more efficient and utilizing a three-tier routing/bell-schedule program that has enabled CFISD to travel fewer miles and transport more students than any other school district in Texas; and

removing more than 46,000 vehicles every morning and every afternoon from roadways and around its schools, based on American School Bus Council estimates.

via Transportation Department wins awards for reducing air pollution – Your Houston News: Living.

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Red card on environment for ‘greenest government ever’

The government is failing to reduce air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding, a cross-party body of MPs has said.The Environmental Audit Committee dished out a “red card” on these three concerns after examining efforts made since 2010.

The MPs said on a further seven green issues ministers deserved a “yellow card” denoting unsatisfactory progress.The government said it strongly disagreed with the findings.After coming to power in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron stated he was committed to leading the “greenest government ever”.

Our inquiry provides a wide ranging examination of the state of the environment and shows that further and continued effort is required to protect it properly”

A year later, a natural environment White Paper had the ambition of being “the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it inherited”.

To put these ideas to the test, MPs decided to look at 10 key measures of environmental protection.

On air quality, The Environmental Audit Committee EAC said the government deserved a red card.

The MPs found that emissions of airborne pollutants rose in 2013 after being steady for a number of years before. Under the terms of an EU directive on dirty air, the UK failed to meet the standards required in 34 of the country’s 43 zones.

This led to the European Commission taking legal action to force a more rapid clean up.

However an assessment carried out by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that London and two other regions would not meet the legal limits until 2030.”A whole generation of young people in our cities will potentially have their health impaired by pollution before the government meets air quality safety standards,” said committee chairman Joan Walley.

continue reading BBC News – Red card on environment for ‘greenest government ever’.

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Respro® Masks FAQ: How to fit a Respro® mask?

For more frequently asked questions,  see Respro® Mask FAQ

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Singapore air pollution slips into unhealthy level

Singapore’s air pollution rose to unhealthy levels on Monday, the National Environment Agency said, as winds changed direction and brought in light smoke from forest fires in neighboring Indonesia.

Singapore is in the middle of its “haze” season, when smoke from forest clearing in Indonesia traditionally chokes the air, but this year has been practically haze free, despite warnings in May it was going to be worse than 2013’s record pollution.

The three-hour Pollution Standards Index broke above 100, the level beyond which the air is considered unhealthy, at 1 a.m. and remained above that level into the daylight hours, the government agency said on its website.

The NEA warned on Sunday that if the wind blew from the southwest, Singapore could experience occasional haze from fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.

The smoke blanketed Singapore last June, pushing the air pollution index to a record 401.


In August, Singapore’s parliament passed a bill proposing fines for companies that cause pollution regardless of whether the companies operate on the island, though it remains to be seen how the law can be enforced.

via Singapore air pollution slips into unhealthy level | Reuters.

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New EU air pollution rules underway for ‘non-road mobile machinery’

Noxious emissions from everyday cars and trucks have long been regulated at European level. But the European Commission believes pollution from so-called non-road mobile machinery – which includes everything from bulldozers to chainsaws – is a problem and is seriously considering imposing emission limits on them. 

In their efforts to improve air quality in Europe, EU lawmakers adopted a directive in 1997 that restricted emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) from diesel engines installed in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM).

NRMM includes machinery used in the agricultural sector (for example tractors, harvesters, sprayers and chainsaws) and road construction (concrete pavers, cement mixers, bulldozers), railroads as well as inland waterway vessels (IWV), such as barges.

Despite subsequent legislative amendments tightening the controls, the European Commission has found that total NOx and PM emissions from NRMM have continued to grow due in part to the increasing numbers of machines put into service.

Another reason behind the relative increase in pollutants, according to the EU executive, is that emissions standards for road vehicles have become more stringent but equivalent measures for NRMM have lagged behind.

A 2008 study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) predicted that NRMM’s share of total NOx emissions in the EU 15 would grow from 16% in 2005 to 19% in 2020.

Pollutants from diesel engines are one of the principal causes of cancer, according to the World Health Organisation, and a major contributor to the 400,000 premature deaths each year in Europe caused by air pollution.

In major cities such as London, pollution from machines used in roadside labour accounts for 15% of NOx, and 12% of PM emissions, with construction workers exposed to the highest levels.

As part of the directive’s review process, the Commission put several proposals up for discussion withstakeholders in 2013, with a view to meaningfully reduce NRMM emissions.

NRMM that is already regulated — compression engines for example — may have tighter emission restrictions. NRMM that was previously unregulated, such as generators and snowmobile engines, could come under the scope of the directive.

According to the Commission, these kinds of modifications are also necessary because some of the directive’s emissions requirements are not up to date with already available, state-of-the-art technology.

Emission limit changes may not necessarily induce higher R&D costs or technological challenges because many manufacturers export NRMM to more strictly regulated markets such as the US.

A Commission spokesperson confirmed to EurActiv that the legislative proposal shall be unveiled “in the second half of September 2014”.

via New EU air pollution rules underway for ‘non-road mobile machinery’ | EurActiv.

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Volcanic Pollution In The Air In East Iceland


Sulfur dioxide levels in Reyðarfjörður reached alarming levels yesterday, and residents are advised to exercise caution.

Vísir reports that SO2 levels in Reyðarfjörður reached 2600 µg/m3 yesterday morning through midday the same day, and have fallen to 250 µg/m3 today. Despite the steep drop, SO2 levels no greater than 1 µg/m3 are considered safe.

For this reason, residents have been advised to take certain precautions. Children and those with health problems were advised to stay indoors, and everyone was asked to not perform exercises outdoors.

Guðfinnur Sigurvinsson, a spokesperson for the Environmental Agency of Iceland, told reporters that despite the significant decrease in air pollution, people should have in mind that the air is still not exactly healthy to breathe. In addition, the SO2in question is not isolated entirely within Reyðarfjörður – the air quality meter for the region is in Reyðarfjörður, but additional meters will be added to more places to give a clearer picture.

Many area residents, as well as those temporarily staying in the area, may have questions for authorities on the levels of volcanic pollution in their area. Guðfinnur advises that people be in contact with the Agency’s Facebook page or send an e-mail to

via Volcanic Pollution In The Air In East Iceland – The Reykjavik Grapevine.

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Boris Johnson’s diesel car scrappage scheme could cost £300m

Boris Johnson has said his plan to cut air pollution by paying diesel car owners up to £2,000 each to switch to cleaner models would cost as much as £300m. The scheme would mean taking more than 150,000 polluting models off London’s roads.

Giving evidence to MPs on Wednesday on his plans to tackle air pollution in London just months after it was revealed Oxford Street has the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the mayor said that he felt very sorry for people who had been seduced into buying diesel cars in the belief that they were more environmentally friendly.

Diesel vehicles are particularly bad for the emission of tiny particles of dust, PM2.5s and PM10s, named after their diameter in microns, which have been linked to thousands of premature deaths. Diesel cars have been promoted as a low carbon and cheap-to-run alternative to petrol, and now make up half of the new car market.

Johnson told the environmental audit committee: “You could do a diesel scrappage scheme that would stimulate the market for cleaner vehicles. I think we’re saying it should be £1-2,000 for people who have been seduced into buying a diesel vehicle and I feel very sorry for them.

“Everyone should be very clear this has been a massive failure of policy, millions were told they were doing the right thing, the environmentally-friendly thing, by buying a diesel. They now feel very hacked off now they’re told they are more polluting.” He said the scheme would cost around £300m in total implying that he plans to take between 150,000 and 300,000 cars off the road.

The mayor’s office released further details of his proposed national diesel scrappage scheme, saying the government should pay a £1-2,000 grant to motorists of the “most polluting diesels” that are more than 12 months old.

An estimated 4,300 people a year die prematurely as a result of bad air in London, and the capital, along with much of southern England and Wales,was hit by a dramatic pollution episode in the spring during which vulnerable people were warned to stay indoors.

Johnson said that for the UK to comply with European laws on air pollution, which it has been in breach of since 2010, London would “need more financial support” from central government. “There are great things we could do with low carbon vehicles, with stimulating the market for low carbon vehicles,” he said. London is not expected to meet the EU standards on NO2 pollution until 2030.

Asked why he had “laughably” missed targets he laid out in 2009 to encourage the take-up of electric cars, he agreed he had missed a target of 25,000 electric car chargers by 2015, with 1,400 installed instead, but blamed the market.

“The reality is the market has not developed in the way we had hoped … They are still priced pretty uncompetitively. It’s a great shame they’re not thought of as reliable, because of range anxiety [over the limited distance drivers can expect from one battery charge].”

He added: “There is no market in any big city in Europe that has made the leap to electric as successfully as we’d like to have seen. It does depend on an emotional psychological tipping point in favour of electric vehicles.”

via Boris Johnson’s diesel car scrappage scheme could cost £300m | Environment | The Guardian.

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Delhi’s car fetish is worsening air pollution, 10-year study shows

A sharp increase in the number of motorcycles and cars in Delhi, mainly because of the purchasing capacity of young people, has contributed to an increase in air pollution in the national capital, according to a 10-year analysis done by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Vehicular emissions, especially from two-wheelers, are the predominant source of air pollution in the city, say the analysis published in the latest issue of the Atmosphere Pollution Research Journal.

The data for the period 2000 to 2010 compiled by the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IIT-Delhi and CPCB shows that emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) have increased nearly 77 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.

Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) have greatly reduced (21 per cent) due to the phasing out of diesel-driven buses.

Emissions of particulate matter (PM10), organic carbon (OC) and black carbon (BC) were found to be continuously increasing after 2002 due to a rapid rise in the annual growth of registered vehicles in Delhi.

Currently, there are 5.38 million two-wheelers registered in Delhi.

“Two-wheelers, which constitute 60 per cent of total registered vehicles, have been found to be major contributors towards emissions of pollutants considered in the analysis. This increase was also attributed to the buying capacity and fascination for new bikes and cars among Delhiites,” said the study done by Rati Sindhwan and Dr. Pramila Goyal of the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences.

Delhi, one of the fastest-growing economic centres of South Asia, has seen a rapid increase in its vehicular population in the past decade.

The city accounts for about eight per cent of the total registered vehicles in India.

According to the CPCB, the city has more registered vehicles than the combined number of vehicles in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.

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via Delhi’s car fetish is worsening air pollution, 10-year study shows | Mail Online.

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Edinburgh City Council oppose stricter regulation on air pollution

Edinburgh is expected to miss its European Union emissions target.Instead, the city is expected to reach the target in 2020 – five years later than hoped.

City councillors yesterday discussed a proposal to do more to tackle air pollution in the city, as Friends of the Earth claimed the dangerous levels were “causing more than 200″ deaths in Edinburgh.

Councillor Lesley Hinds warned Green councillor Chas Booth against using “emotive language” when he supported the tougher proposal and reinforced the number of deaths due to air pollution.

A report to the Transport and Environment Committee said Edinburgh would not meet the EU emission limits until about 2020, but councillors said the Scottish Government had confirmed it would not pass on any air quality fines for failing to meet targets.

Friends of the Earth proposed establishing low emissions zones in the city, an approach already adopted in other European cities including London.

Councillors praised Lothian Buses’ efforts to decrease its contribution to air pollution by introducing Euro 5 standard vehicles and voted out the Green amendment for more robust action on air pollution in Edinburgh.

The council did, however, extend the city centre air quality management area to include part of South Bridge and Nicholson Street and at Angle Park Terrance and Slateford Road as these areas in parts have exceeded national standards.

This means council staff will monitor these areas more closely and take action to improve air quality.

The council will also consult the Scottish Government, SEPA and DEFRA on the data they gather to see how they can work together to reduce emissions in the city.

Read the full report on the City of Edinburgh Council website.

via Edinburgh City Council oppose stricter regulation on air pollution | STV Edinburgh | Edinburgh.

via Edinburgh City Council oppose stricter regulation on air pollution | STV Edinburgh | Edinburgh.

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