Bonfire night led to a dramatic spike in air pollution

The country celebrated bonfire night last week with garden displays up and down the country and despite the lack of large-scale events, air pollution still reached dangerously high levels, Air Quality News analysis has revealed.

Air Quality News analysed data from the Air Quality Index (AQIN) and found that on bonfire night daily average particulate matter (PM2.5) levels increased in every major city in England.

London saw the biggest increase in air pollution, on 4 November daily average PM2.5 levels were 48µg/m3, in just 48 hours this figure had almost tripled to a shocking 133µg/m3.

Leeds also saw a dramatic spike air pollution levels, in just 48 hours PM2.5 levels had increased by 71µg/m3.

In Birmingham, a similar picture was found, on 4 November PM2.5 measured in at 24µg/m3, by 6 November this figure had more than tripled to 87µg/m3 and on the 7 November, PM2.5 levels reached a peak of 178µg/m3.

This level of particulate matter pollution is considered to be ‘unhealthy’ – meaning that everyone may begin to experience health effects.

Bonfires and firework explosions generate large, dense smoke plumes which can result in increased emissions of air pollution.

These air pollutions typically include nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5).

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The AQIN advises that at this level, active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.

This level of pollution was even higher than on the same day in Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world, where air pollution reached a daily average of 90µg/m3.

Harriet Edwards, senior policy and projects manager for Air Quality, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘It’s not uncommon to see fluctuations in pollution levels around bonfire night, particularly where pollution is already high so can take longer to disperse.

‘We know anecdotally that firework sales were higher this year due to there being no public displays which added to the problem in residential areas as more people took to having displays in their back gardens.

‘Whilst fireworks, which are enjoyed by many, make a relatively small and short-term contribution to air pollution when compared to other sources such as traffic emissions, the sudden spikes can be harmful to people with lung conditions. Fumes can travel long distances and can irritate people’s airways whilst excess smoke can also trigger more severe symptoms, such as asthma attacks.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay




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Is it just me?
Is it just me?
3 years ago

Bonfire night is one night in the country’s annual calendar. These days – everyone from animal welfare hysterics to air pollution experts are trying their level best to stamp it out. What is it these days with noisy, pouty, shouty minority groups? They seem to be everywhere – meddling in everything. Lots of people still enjoy a good bonfire and firework display. What is wrong with ONE night a YEAR taken over by a firework display? Good God, when you think about the number of near EMPTY cycle lanes there are in London alone – meaning trucks, buses, taxis, cars and vans are there with their diesel and petrol engines running for far longer in the constricted remainder of the roads – and creating far more air pollution than a few fireworks. As a nation – we seem to have lost all sense of proportion, perspective and balance. I do hope common sense and sanity soon return and the nation is run again for the MAJORITY and not minorities.

Martin shaw
Martin shaw
2 years ago
Reply to  Is it just me?

You are talking utter crap, this is not one night a year, this goes on for weeks, and then we get this shit again on new years . It not only causes dangerously high pollution, but also suffering for many animals.
The government need to ban it now, but they won’t, because they make money from it, and also, they don’t want to affend petty morons, like you.

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