High levels of air pollution (particulate matter) are currently being monitored in the Belfast, Newry, Lisburn, Armagh and Derry/Londonderry areas.
In addition, there are moderate levels of pollution being monitored in the North Down, Ballymena, Strabane and Lough Navar areas.
The pollution is the result of easterly airflows which are recirculating polluted air from England, Wales and Continental Europe over Northern Ireland, along with the build up of local emissions from vehicles and home heating. Pollutant levels are expected to decline.
Hourly updates on levels of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide are available on the Department’s website: http://www.airqualityni.co.uk and the Department’s freephone helpline 0800 556 677, which also offers health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution.
Air pollution is described as “low (1-3)”, “moderate (4-6)”, “high (7-9)” or “Very High (10)” in relation to the presence of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone. Classifications are based upon the pollutant in the highest band based upon the advice of the independent Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution.
The Following advice on health applies when air pollution is “high” or “very high”.
*** When pollution is high, sensitive people may notice their symptoms worsen and may need to act to reduce the symptoms or their exposure to the pollution. Asthmatics will find that their symptoms will ease through use of their relief inhaler in the usual way advised by their doctor. Others affected by the pollution may wish to reduce the time they spend outdoors or avoid busy, congested streets. If symptoms persist, affected people should consult with their doctor.