News Roundup – COP26, Clean Air Zones, and COPD Awareness Month
This month’s roundup of air and water quality news covers the COP26 global climate conference and plans for more UK cities to introduce Clean Air Zones. We’ll also take a look at the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in light of COPD Awareness Month.
A global pledge to ditch fossil fuels and lower transport emissions
The COP26 climate change conference came to an end on Friday, with many world leaders promising changes to lower the impacts of global warming.
Amongst these promises were commitments by 40 countries to phase out coal power, including sign-ups from major coal users such as Poland and Vietnam. However, China and the United States were among those missing from the list.
Transport was also on the agenda, with road traffic responsible for 10% of CO2 emissions and rising. 16 global governments now have targets to end the sale and registration of internal combustion engine (non-electric) cars.
Both coal power and transport have a significant impact on air quality. Air pollutants caused by these sectors can lead to conditions including asthma, cancer and COPD. Though progress is being made, there’s still a long way to go to reduce the impact of air pollution.
Clean Air Zone signs spotted across Greater Manchester
Manchester is the latest UK city to join the government’s Clean Air Zone scheme.
Set to launch in May, the scheme aims to reduce pollution caused by traffic and improve air quality within the region. Vehicles that don’t meet clean air requirements will have to pay a daily charge to travel through the zone.
Bath was the first major city to introduce Clean Air Zones back in March and has already seen improvements in air quality. The move was shortly followed by Birmingham, with more cities set to introduce clean air zones in 2022.
You can check the air quality in your area with our free tool.
November is National COPD Awareness Month
COPD is an umbrella term covering lung conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These conditions narrow the airway, making it difficult to breathe.
Symptoms to look out for include:
- Persistent coughing
- Coughing which produces a lot of mucus
- Tightness of the chest
- Wheezing or whistling when you breathe
- Shortness of breath
Constant exposure to air pollution can contribute to the development of COPD, and COPD sufferers are advised to close the windows and avoid going outside when the air quality index is low. However, it’s important to be aware of airborne pollutants within the home, such as tobacco, pet hair, open fires, cleaning products and mould.
Investing in an air purifier can reduce indoor pollutants significantly, helping you to breathe cleaner, safer air.