Britain has been placed on a high health alert, as a potentially lethal toxic smog has descended over large parts of the country. A dangerous cloud of air pollution has travelled over from Europe, mixing with the UK’s own smog, creating a toxic hazard. The fact that weather conditions are quite still does not help the situation, as it means that there is not enough wind to disperse the gathered smog. In some parts of northern England, the air pollution levels are set to reach nine out of ten.
The particles that make up smog are dust, soot, fumes, diesel and aerosols. When people inhale smog, the particles cause inflammation in the lining of their lungs, restricting their breathing. For the elderly, as well as for asthma sufferers and those diagnosed with a lung disease, this is especially dangerous, as they are much more easily prone to triggers that can make their condition much worse. Children with asthma are also particularly vulnerable, as they spend more time playing outside whilst their lungs are still developing.
This week in Paris, air pollution was so bad that the government had to impose restrictions on motorists, only allowing vehicles with odd-numbered plates to drive on the Monday, whilst on the Tuesday, only the vehicles with even-number plates were allowed to be on the road. By Wednesday, Paris police also introduced lower speed limits.
People with respiratory issues in the UK have been warned to carry their inhaler with them constantly until the smog has cleared, and people have also been advised not to go jogging or running, or perform any physically exerting tasks that cause their lungs to work harder. The pollution patch will hopefully be cleared by Friday.