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FAQ 

What is meant by ‘Air Quality’?
How does the council know if my street is likely to meet the objectives for those Pollutants?
What are the main sources of the Pollutants in Greater Manchester?
Are Pollutants just in the Outside Air?
What are the current Pollutants of concern? Where do they come from? and how do they affect us?
What Can I do about Air Quality?

 

What is meant by ‘Air Quality’?
The term in the United Kingdom normally refers to the concentration in the air at any given place of the pollutants for which there is currently a National Objective, the main pollutants are Particulates and Nitrogen Dioxide – see the objectives page for full list and the target values.

How does the council know if my street is likely to meet the objectives for those Pollutants?
Local authorities are required to carry out assessments of the air quality in their area each year. The detail of the assessment varies from year to year, there are 3 main types of ‘assessment ‘ Progress reports, Up date and Screening Reports and Detailed Assessments. Local authorities across Greater Manchester also monitor the Air quality across the area for the main pollutants of concern at a number of locations and these results together with detailed estimates of pollutant emissions (EMIGMA) are modelled by computers to identify the areas of likely exceedence.

What are the main sources of the Pollutants in Greater Manchester?
Over 60% of the emissions that have lead to exceedences of the objectives/standards across Greater Manchester are from Road Transport, the rest come from a number of sources such has Industry and Commerce and Domestic Heating and Cooking.

Are Pollutants just in the Outside Air?
No, most pollutants can also be found indoors and indoor levels can often be significantly higher that the outdoor objectives.

What are the current Pollutants of concern? Where do they come from? and how do they affect us?
The main pollutants of concern in Greater Manchester are:

Nitrogen Dioxide which is mainly emitted by road transport, heating boilers, power stations and industry, it can cause irritation to airways and increase asthma symptoms at high concentrations and...

Fine particulates (PM10) which are also mainly emitted by road transport, heating boilers, power stations and industry, these particles can cause heart and lung conditions and lead to premature death in those already ill.

The other pollutants for which have current National Objectives are:

Sulphur dioxide: mainly emitted by power stations, industry and oil and solid fuel boilers, it can cause coughing, irritation and narrowing of airways and often aggravates existing asthma and bronchitis

Carbon Monoxide: it is emitted from vehicles, heating boilers and industry; it can deprive the blood of oxygen and can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. At very high levels it can lead to death. However high levels out doors are very rare.

Benzene: main emissions sources are vehicles, petrol stations and industry, long term exposure can cause an increased cancer risk.

Lead: main emission source now industry, however petrol cars used to be the most significant source until lead free petrol was introduced, lead is a cumulative poison, but is the damage it can cause to children’s ability to learn and concentrate is of concern with regards airborne lead.

1,3 Butadiene: main emissions sources are vehicles, fuel handing and industry and it is considered exposure can lead to increased cancer risk. Ozone: Is actually produced in the air when sunlight reacts with other pollutants, it can cause eye nose and throat irritation and damage to lungs and airways.

Ozone is dealt with has a ‘National Pollutant’ because of the way it forms on occasions some of the pollutants that react to form ozone in this country have come from abroad.

See Pollutants, Sources and Health

What Can I do about Air Quality?
Most of the pollutants of concern are emitted by Transport, Industry and Heating Boilers, so it follows that by travelling and consuming less we will reduce pollution and improve Air quality. Where this is not practical, methods and mechanisms that use less fuel and /or abatement equipment will make a significant improvement. Examples are, walking or cycling where possible, using a smaller less polluting car having a condensing boiler and fitting abatement plant to industrial processes.

See What Can you do?

 

 



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