Three quarters of adults think weather forecasts should include information about air quality – and consider it to be just as important as the pollen count.
A study of 4,000 adults found 86 per cent want to know much more about air pollution on a daily basis.
And 68 per cent would do more to help the environment if they had daily reminders about the quality of the air they breathe.
E.ON’s Air Care research revealed that 62 per cent noticed, and now miss, how clean the air was during the first national lockdown.
Nitrogen oxide levels in some UK cities fell by around 60 per cent due to the drop in traffic on the roads.
As a result, more than half (57 per cent) now care more about air quality than ever before.
Energy provider E.ON, working with weather data provider DTN, has launched ‘Change the Weather’, a new service providing air quality information to media.
Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON UK, said: “No level of air pollution should ever be deemed safe.
“There are many things we can all do to help reduce our impact on the environment and the air we breathe.
“From driving less, or driving electric, and making our homes more energy efficient, to powering our homes with renewable electricity.
“Making air quality information more accessible through our ‘Change the Weather’ service is an important step in the right direction and will help ensure this critical topic stays front of mind as we navigate our daily lives.”
E.ON has teamed up with weather broadcaster and meteorologist Clare Nasir to help people better understand what the ‘Air Quality Index’ means, as well as sharing information to help inspire small changes that can make a big impact.
Clare’s daughter, Sienna, developed a persistent cough as a child and used an asthma inhaler most days to keep her airways open and ease the wheezing and coughing whenever they went outside.
Clare said: “As a meteorologist and clean air campaigner for the last 20 years I know first-hand that air pollution is a public health issue that affects us all, from babies to the fittest adults as well the elderly and vulnerable.
“As a parent, I want my daughter growing up in a world where the air is clean.
“Raising awareness about air pollution and sharing information on how each of us can help reduce the levels of air pollution is vital.”
Clare Nasir believes with small changes we can make a big impact, and has revealed tips and facts about air pollution and how you can help to reduce air pollution levels.
- Go local
A great way to cut down on car journeys is to start travelling to shops in your local area by walking or cycling. It’s cheaper than driving or parking, and not only does it improve local air quality, but it’s great for your mood and physical health.
- Conserve energy
At home, at work, everywhere. Turn off lights and use energy efficient electric appliances. You can also choose a power supply which is 100 per cent renewable like E.ON, and even consider solar panels for a more sustainable energy option.
- Avoid burning
Burning solid fuels, such as in open fires and wood-burning stoves has increased over the last decade. It can have a significant impact on air pollution. Avoid burning leaves and rubbish in your garden too.
How to spot if air pollution is potentially bad
Air pollution can vary depending on the weather.
Air pollution builds on days when the wind is light, but when the wind picks up it can help to clear the air.
In winter, high pressure will keep the air cold and damp air, sometimes even foggy – and this allows pollutants to readily gather.
And in summer, on hot days when the air is still, smog thickens.
If you have a pollen allergy, the combination of high pollen and air pollution can exacerbate breathing conditions further.
If smoke from chimneys billows sideways, not upwards, this indicates that the lower atmosphere is trapping the air, or in other words, is forming a lid that doesn’t allow the dirty air to escape into the upper atmosphere.
And if the air looks hazy, this could be a sign that smog has formed which can be detrimental to our health.
How to limit your exposure to air pollution
Avoid roads surrounded by high buildings. The concentration of pollutants tends to be higher where they are trapped between buildings – even with a breeze air pollution is simply redistributed along the route.
Avoid exposure during peak traffic times. Congestion can triple during rush hour and with more vehicles on the road, the concentration of pollutants can also increase.
To help reduce your exposure to these pollutants, try to stay away from roads during this time or wear a filtered mask when walking alongside traffic.