That’s why we’re working to try and improve air quality across Derbyshire alongside other organisations and businesses.
Air pollution negatively impacts on everyone’s health but it has a greater effect on certain groups of people.
These include children, older people, those with underlying health conditions and other vulnerable people.
Air pollution is associated with health conditions including wheezing, coughing, worsening of respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and hospital admissions from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
It’s also estimated that air pollution is a contributing factor in approximately 400 deaths per year in Derbyshire.
The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to individuals, communities, health services and to business.
In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year, on a par with those from smoking and obesity.
Sources of air pollution
The main manmade sources of air pollutants are traffic, fossil fuel power stations, industrial activities and cement kilns.
Road transport is estimated to be responsible for up to 70% of the harm associated with air pollution.
Engines, boilers and furnaces produce Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which at high concentrations acts as an irritant causing inflammation of the airways.
This can increase respiratory infections, increase the sensitivity of asthmatics to allergens and increase the likelihood of asthma attacks and respiratory illnesses in children.
Air pollutant particles or particulate matter (PM) are particularly important when it comes to health.
The main sources of these particles are motor vehicles and non-nuclear power stations.
Particles are divided up on the basis of size and the smaller particles such as those less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) are thought to have greater effects on health as they can be carried deeper into the lungs.
These particles, when breathed in, can lead to increased admissions to hospital of people suffering from heart disease and lung disease as well as ultimately causing death.
Even small decreases in air pollution can lead to positive impacts on communities including increase in life expectancy.
Work to address air quality also offers wider public health benefits and supports our Health and Wellbeing Board planning and health strategy.
National Clean Air Day
We’ve set up a Derbyshire air quality working group. The group meets quarterly and seeks to agree strategic priorities and ensure collaborative action around air quality.
A key priority of the group includes raising awareness of the issues of poor air quality and mechanisms to address this locally.
National Clean Air Day will give every school, hospital, workplace and community free access to advice on avoiding and tackling urban air pollution, sourced from health experts and academics.
All UK cities and communities will benefit from free guides and clean air toolkits available.
You can download toolkits, get help on how to reduce air pollution and find out more about National Clean Air Day.