Air pollution affects people of all ages: the foetus, babies, children, adults and the elderly. It has serious impacts on health for all of us. As a result, HyPER wants to see air pollution monitored on the Hyde Park Estate and for that to form the basis of projects to reduce it.
The health impact depends on the type of air pollution to which a person is exposed: Particulate Matter (PM) or Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). In the case of Particulate Matter, the smaller the particle the greater impact on the body, with the smallest particles PM0.1 getting into the bloodstream, affecting the lungs, heart and brain.
Some of the health impacts of air pollution are as follows: respiratory complaints, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, low birth weight, diabetes, cognitive decline and dementia, Parkinson’s disease and diminished mental health. Health impacts on different age demographics are as follows:
Impact of air pollution
At pregnancy, air pollution can cause low birth weight.
Within children, air pollution can cause asthma, and more generally wheezing and coughing. As children develop, air pollution is known to cause slower development of the lungs and other developmental problems. Children exposed to air pollution can therefore grow up with smaller lungs.
As with children, air pollution can also cause asthma within adults. Other than that, air pollution can also cause coronary hearth disease, strokes, lung cancer and diabetes.
Within the elderly, air pollution can cause similar health problems as younger adults, including asthma, accelerated decline of the lungs, dementia, diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure and strokes.
Sources of air pollution
Air pollution comes from many different sources, and different sources produce different sized particulates, which have different impacts on health. The table below summaries the difference sources, the size of the particulate and the area of the body affected. As can be seen, vehicle emissions from transport including from aircraft are the most damaging particulates.
HyPER air pollution monitoring
HyPER has been chosen by the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London to trial an air pollution monitor as part of a community programme to improve local air quality. The award is part of the Breathe London Community Programme, a three year research scheme in which local groups with a proven track record in community engagement are given the right to host an air monitor worth £2,500.
HyPER is currently in the process of installing the pollution monitor. More information on its location and measurements will follow.
If you’d like to get involved with HyPER’s air pollution monitoring, then we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us using firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advice and tips on what to do at a personal level, Clean Air Bayswater have an excellent page full of tips on their website.