We’ve known for decades that rising air pollution levels are damaging our health, but now the UK government is facing legal action for failing to tackle dirty air and the issue has even been raised in prime minister’s questions.
Highlighted in a recent report by the BBC, the UK government has been warned to drastically cut air pollution in our busiest cities or being sued by ClientEarth. This follows a Supreme Court ruling in April 2015 for an immediate plan to protect our health after the UK breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide. While the government has made pledges to clean air, create anti-pollutions zones in some cities and improve the standards of buses, refuse lorries and fire engines, it admits the air will not meet EU standards until 2020, or 2025 in London.
Last month, a report from the Royal College of Physicians revealed the true damage being done by air pollution to people in cities and urban areas across the UK. It’s estimated that as many as 40,000 early deaths each year are being caused by exposure to vehicle exhaust particulates and nitrogen dioxide. These toxins are being pumped onto the roads of our most congested regions and those living, working and studying nearby are most at risk.
In the UK, half of our cars run on diesel, which has been considered the lesser of two evils as it produces less CO2 emissions. However, the latest research proves that nitrogen dioxide and particulates from diesel cars are major culprits in rising air pollution.
So where does this leave the millions of people who live, work or travel in our most air-polluted cities? Because, let’s not forget, polluted outdoor air is polluted indoor air. Poor quality housing and homes built without adequate ventilation are already at risk of poor indoor air quality. There are even greater risks for occupants of homes built in areas of high air pollution. Ensuring clean air in the home has never been more critical.
The NHS is keen to tackle this growing issue. It’s not surprising, since treating the health problems linked to air pollution costs a whopping £20 billion every year. Exposure to air pollution is linked to illnesses that range from minor allergies to serious conditions including lung cancer, stroke and heart attacks. Some of these illnesses take many years to develop, with children, older people and those with chronic health problems most vulnerable.
While we can’t control the rising NO2 levels in traffic-congested cities, there are measures we can and must take to protect ourselves at home. The ventilation industry has long been aware of the problem and the current generation of MVHR systems go a long way to ensure good indoor air quality. But better filtration of the incoming air is going to be essential if air pollution levels continue to rise at the current rates.
Nuaire are going a step further with the launch of our new Q-Aire Carbon Filter. It is specifically designed for homes in urban areas and it supports the MVHR system by ensuring the air is properly filtered before it enters the property. This measure protects the homeowner from damaging air pollutants such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
The Carbon Filter is suitable for specification and allows contractors to meet planning obligations when building homes and apartments in areas with high air pollution. They’ve designed it to be easy to install but also easy for the homeowner to maintain, because, as they know, effective maintenance is the only way to ensure the MVHR system does its job properly. The filters are built with innovative Colourcell ™ technology, which provides a visual indicator of when the filters need to be changed: a simple change of colour.
Air pollution has become a public health crisis and there is currently no short-term solution to solve the problem. The only sensible measure we can take it ensure the air we breathe at home is a clean and healthy as possible. Better air filtration is a sensible place to start.
If you’d like to find out more about the Carbon Filter and Q-Aire range, visit www.nuaire.co.uk