Healthy Air Technology
12.4 million people in the UK could be oblivious to the dangers of air pollution – because they live in the countryside

12.4 million people in the UK could be oblivious to the dangers of air pollution – because they live in the countryside

21 April 2023

12.4 million people in the UK could be oblivious to the dangers of air pollution because they live in rural areas and assume it is safe. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics in 2020 estimated that 18.9% of the UK population (around 12.4million people), live in rural areas and although in general it is true that air pollution is lower in the countryside than in the city, it is not to be ignored.

Although the countryside may have less traffic and industrial activity than urban areas, it is not completely safe. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Agricultural activities: Many areas in the countryside are used for agricultural activities such as farming and livestock rearing. These activities can release a significant number of pollutants into the air, including dust, pesticides, and fertilizers.
  • Natural sources of pollution: Natural sources such as wildfires, dust, and pollen can also contribute to air pollution.
  • Transportation: Although there may be less traffic in rural areas, there are still vehicles on the road that can emit pollutants into the air.
  • Industrial activity: While there may be fewer industrial facilities in the countryside, some areas may still have factories or power plants that emit pollutants.

What can we do to help reduce air pollution in the countryside?
We can reduce air pollution in the countryside in much the same way as in urban areas but some specific actions include:

Seasonal changes
As we head through April into May, we find that compared with other seasons, this time of year is not the worst for air pollution in the countryside. If you’re thinking of heading out of the city for a staycation, then now is the time to do it.

The reason is that during the spring months, plants and trees start to grow and produce oxygen, which can help to improve air quality. Additionally, wind and rain can help to disperse pollutants and clear the air. In fact, a recent study by Manchester University found that people in urban areas actually have worse hay fever symptoms because air pollution makes people more sensitive to allergens.

In conclusion, we urge those living or working in the countryside not to become complacent and to educate themselves and others on the dangers of air pollution. It is important that we work together to take steps to reduce air pollution everywhere to protect public health and the environment.


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