Oxford Street named one of the most polluted places in the world

Oxford Street is now officially known as the area with the highest known concentration of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the world. A toxic pollutant that can trigger asthma and heart attacks.

shutterstock_53878849Kamira / Shutterstock.com

Our country’s showcase shopping area has been named a world leader for diesel pollution due to the shopping strip being permanently congested with taxis and buses, whose diesel engines release large amounts of this gas.

We now know just how bad it is, however, for years’ retail and catering staff, office workers, council and utility workers, shoppers and tourists on this and other busy and polluted roads have been completely unaware of the dangers and risks associated with this invisible killer.

Successive Governments and Mayors have avoided the hard steps to tackle this blight that not only affects Oxford Street, but large swathes of London. Instead, the Government and civil service has downplayed the seriousness of the problem and systematically mislead both its own population and the European Commission. Continue reading

Contaminant Sources – Air Pollutants

Air pollution can be categorised as being either particulate (solids) or molecular (gas). Particles are induced into the human respiratory system through breathing. Gaseous or molecular pollution also enters the body in breathing air, but it is able to penetrate beyond the lungs, into the bloodstream and around the entire body.

Camfil - ContaminantsParticulate and molecular pollutants are both present at airports. The principal source is the combustion of fossil fuels.  Jet and diesel engines both release fine particulates in their exhaust. For jet engines the particulates result from incomplete combustion of kerosene fuel. Combustion efficiency reduces at lower engine power levels which are used during landing, taxiing and idling. Diesel engines release high levels of particulates at all duties.

The particulates result from the combustion of both fuel and engine oil.

Diesel particulates fall into several categories:

  • Dry particles or soot
  • Semi-volatile aerosols that have carbon nuclei with oily hydrocarbons condensed on the surface.
  • Carbon particles with sulphur acid molecules condensed on the surface. The sulphur arises for impurities in the fuel. Continue reading

Airpocalypse Now? [British Safety Council article by Matthew Holder]

Article by Matthew Holder – British Safety Council

In 2012, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation, seven million people died across the world because of air pollution. Years after London’s ‘pea soupers’ and all the technological and legislative developments since then, how can air pollution now be the world’s largest environmental health risk?

air pollution

While increases in wealth from economic growth may allow us to spread our wings, environmental burdens can quickly bring us down to earth with a bump. When it comes to air pollution, more and more people are asking whether enough is being done to reduce it.

The high pollution levels we saw in March and April affecting London, Paris and other parts of western Europe seemed a surprise to many, a remnant of a previous age, of ‘pea soupers’ and gloomy streetlights in the 1940s, or more recent battles from the 1970s and 1980s about lead in petrol, acid rain or chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). Continue reading