Air pollution is dangerous to human health, causing damages to the respiratory and circulatory system. How do the cities protect their inhabitants against it? The system of alerts enables issuing a quick warning when the concentration of particulate matter and toxic gases reaches worrying levels. Check in which situations do the cities use smog alarm. What protective measures can you adopt?
The problem of air pollution is global, and even though many countries are making some steps towards change, there is still a lot to be done. It is not uncommon to see a thick smog covering the agglomerations in Europe, the USA, Asia, South America, and Africa. The cities of Bangladesh, India, and China are the most affected by this phenomenon.
Nevertheless, also European agglomerations, despite the campaigns against air pollution and investments in green energy, struggle with smog regularly. The majority of them is located in Central-Eastern Europe, mainly in Poland and Bulgaria. In these countries, the usage of coal is still relatively high, and the percentage of electric vehicles on the streets – quite low.
For centuries, the problem of air pollution used to be marginalized. That has changed in 1952 when the eyes of the whole world turned into the capital of the United Kingdom. The Great Smog of London has caused over 8000 deaths and long-term health problems for tens of thousands of Londoners. That tragic incident has shed more light on the issue and provoked the countries of Europe to implement regulations and protective measures.
One of these measures is the smog alert, issued by the cities when the concentration of polluting particles reaches dangerous levels. The smog alarm is supposed to reach every inhabitant of the area. Usually, the government sends the information in the form of SMS.
That depends on the region. There is no unified regulation that would point out the threshold for the smog alarm to be issued. The EU guidelines are just informative, just as the WHO’s. In some European cities, the particulate matter PM10 concentration of 80 μg/m3 is enough to issue an alarm. In others, the levels have to cross 300 μg/m3. That is a case of Polish or Bulgarian cities.
Where does this difference come from? It’s no mystery that the influence of polluting particles on our system is the same, regardless of the location. Unfortunately, if Polish cities adopted the norms of London or Paris, they would never be able to lift the smog alarm. Thus, the threshold for the alert is significantly higher.
Spreading the information is a basic duty of the city councils when the concentration of particulate matter and toxic gases reaches alarming levels. As we’ve mentioned, the alert is usually issued via SMS. In addition, the information is displayed on the bus stops, at public transportation, and air sensors spread throughout the city. However, that’s not all. The local and regional authorities are also obliged to start controlling the industrial facilities and limit the circulation of vehicles.
As you can see, in some regions, you will not be warned about smog unless the concentration of polluting particles is very high. That’s why it’s worth taking personal measures. Monitoring the air quality through our air pollution map and wearing an antismog mask will provide you with the best protection.
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