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Indicators > Air Pollution

Poor air quality can be mainly attributed to the production and consumption of energy, industrial processes and road transport. The main pollutants associated with poor air quality are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulates (PM10), and volatile organic compound (VOCs). These pollutants can lead to respiratory problems, particularly amongst the young and elderly. The UK Government has recognised this and in 1997 published the National Air Quality Strategy, setting air quality standards for today and making commitments to achieve new air quality objectives by 2005.

Air Quality Indicators

  • Air pollutant concentrations

Collecting information regarding the concentrations of polluting gases is particularly useful in monitoring trends over time and ensuring that levels do not exceed the standards set by the Air Quality Strategy. Concentrations are monitored over a range of areas including roadsides, city centres and the countryside.

  • Air pollutant emissions

The emissions data for air pollution indicates the volumes of pollutants being released from a variety of sources, including factories and roads. As for carbon dioxide emissions, an indicator of climate change, the air pollution emissions data are also calculated per capita and per GDP.