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Current Affairs

Work from home could increase pollution

Date: 26 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Some areas in the UK could experience greater levels of air pollution due to large numbers of people working from home due to the pandemic this winter season.

 

Details

  • During the course of winter, air pollution, specifically emissions of nitrogen oxides are set to increase in the UK as a result of people spending more time working from their homes and using gas boilers for heating purposes.

  • These additional nitrogen oxide emissions will be roughly equivalent to cancelling out two years’ of gains incurred as a result of traffic pollution measures.

  • Gas combustion in buildings from cookers and boilers is a major source of local air pollution and accounts for roughly 21 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions across the Greater London area for instance.

  • As a result of this increased energy use, urban air quality will worsen, with nitrogen oxide emissions increasing by approximately 12 percent in some UK towns and cities.

  • In London alone, as more people work from home during this winter, nitrogen oxide emissions from boilers can go up by about 56 percent.

  • India’s population has the third highest exposure to PM 2.5, one of the most harmful pollutants for human health.

  • These pollutants, which are one-thirteenth the width of a strand of hair are capable of entering the bloodstream or embedding themselves into the lungs and can cause illnesses such as stroke, lung cancer and heart disease.

  • According to an analysis of pollution trends in India, while the COVID-19 lockdown brought unexpected relief from poor air quality, air quality trends have been improving in the country since 2018.

  • Even so, in winters air pollution rises in Delhi and the Indo-Gangetic plains. This is because of several factors including weather and local conditions, changes in wind speed and vehicular emissions.