Paul Lewis On Air Pollutants and How They Can Impact on Health in Wales

Vindico’s Head of R&D reveals the air pollutants of concern to health in Wales at today’s Welsh Government Event.

Our air pollution expert, Paul Lewis, was at the Welsh Government’s online event today to reveal the main air pollutants we need to know about.

As one of the panel of experts covering the topic of air pollution in Wales, Paul revealed some harsh truths and surprising facts about air pollutants and our health in Wales. He also outlined the proposed guidance for both businesses and individuals.

Breaking it down into gases and particles, Paul singled out NO2 and PM2.5 as the two air pollutants we need to be most concerned about.

“Most people think of air pollution as coming from transport. But we’re less aware of our own personal behaviours at home and at work,” insists Paul.

Although 40% of NO2 and a third of PM2.5 comes from industry, and traffic – particularly in urban areas – is a cause for concern, emissions continue to fall annually.

Which is where our personal habits come in.

Mainly in the form of wood burning.

Domestic and small-scale burning now account for over 40% of PM2.5 in the UK – and it’s a problem.

As Paul puts it:

“One of the most damaging pollutants, in terms of our health, is fine particulate matter, which is often referred to as PM2.5, and our research reinforces the need to revise PM2.5 limit values and targets as soon as possible.”

And air pollution is not just a local issue. Paul points out that our habits can impact air quality many miles away.

“What’s more, the PM2.5 that we breathe might often come from many miles away, which means we cannot rely solely on modelled data. There needs to be widespread monitoring of this pollutant to get a full understanding of where it comes from and the harm it causes.”

That’s where our Think Air initiative comes in.

“Think Air is proving that effective air quality sensor networks don’t have to be costly. It’s also providing us with meaningful data and insights which, led by ergonomics, can be used to develop longer term behavioural change methods that will ultimately benefit the long-term health of people across Wales and the UK.”

Originally launched in 2019, Think Air’s sensor network is already live across Wales. It’s helping to gather the data and insights we need to raise awareness and understanding of air quality and Pm2.5 levels across the country.

We’ve expanded the network with the support of Welsh organisations including Niche, Scarlets Rugby, Cardiff Devils, and – most recently – Zip World, who are installing Think Air sensors at all five of their sites across Wales.

It’s the only project in the UK to take on the challenge of understanding background and wide range air quality on this scale, and it’s changing the way we understand and measure the impact of toxic air at a local level.

Today, Think Air is on track to being the largest live air quality sensor network in Wales – and the largest in the UK by the end of 2021.

To find out more about Think Air – and how your business can benefit – drop us a line today.



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