Good air quality is important for our health and quality of life. If you are in good health the levels of air pollution in the UK usually cause no serious short-term side effects.
On rare occasions very high levels of pollution may cause some people to feel eye irritation. Coughing may also occur and breathing may become painful.
People with lung diseases or heart conditions are at greater risk from air pollution especially those who are elderly. Increases in hospital admissions and premature deaths of the seriously ill can rise with the increase of pollutant levels in the atmosphere. Asthmatics may find that air pollution can trigger attacks or cause increased use of inhalers. There is however little evidence that air pollution causes asthma to develop. If your child has asthma they should still be able to take part in physical exercise, but they may need to make use of their inhaler before they start. Children should not need to stay away from school due to asthma. Smoking will have a much greater effect on your health than air pollution. If you give up smoking you are less likely to suffer from lung and heart diseases which can be effected by the levels of pollution. Quitting smoking will also decrease your vulnerability to the short-term effects of air pollution.
Air quality management
The council has a statutory duty to review and assess the air quality within the area and to identify the air quality standards and objectives.
The Air Quality (Wales) Regulations 2000 set standards for seven key pollutants; benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, fine particles (PM10) and sulphur dioxide. We have carried out a multi-staged review and assessment of air quality within Swansea and have been able to identify those areas that would exceed the national objectives. After this an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was declared in the Lower Swansea Valley. This is called the Hafod Air Quality Management Area (NO2) because Hafod was likely to fail the statutory NO2 objective. In order to improve air quality within an AQMA a specific Action Plan is required.
The Swansea air quality data website has been designed to provide almost real-time air quality data and meteorological data from the 5 automatic and continuous monitoring stations located within Swansea. Included is information about air pollution and hourly graphs and charts produced from data collected by the 5 monitoring stations. Email updates and alerts can also be sent direct from the site.
Air quality in Swansea is continuously monitored. We are then required to submit regular reports which make up the review and assessment process to show how air quality in the area meets the standards set.