Air pollution and health
Air pollution is made up of gases and particles in the air which are harmful to people and other life. The higher the levels of pollution and the more time people spend in polluted air, the worse the effects on health can be. For some pollutants, there is no safe limit and exposure to even fairly low concentrations may be harmful. It is now known that exposure to air pollution can lead to heart disease, strokes, asthma, lung cancer, and damage to other internal organs.
The most concerning pollutants within Bristol are nitrogen dioxide (NO2
) and very small particulates. These pollutants are invisible.
UK and EU limits on levels of NO2
are currently breached in Bristol. Local authorities are legally required to reduce levels of NO2
as soon as possible to comply with these health-based standards and this consultation is concerned with reducing the levels of NO2
in the shortest possible time.
Very small particulates (less than 10 micrometres or about the width of a single thread in a spider’s web) are dangerous because they can penetrate deep into the lungs and travel round the body in the bloodstream where they can affect both your lungs and your heart. Although the focus of this consultation is on NO2
, our proposals would also reduce levels of harmful particulates.
A major source of NO2
in cities is from road traffic, particularly diesel engines. This is why road traffic emissions must be tackled for people’s health.
Find out more about air pollution