About air quality & climate change

Air Quality

Air pollution results from the introduction of a wide range of gases, particles or biological matter into the atmosphere and can be harmful to human health and the environment.

The substances that cause air pollution are called 'pollutants' and come from a wide variety of sources and can be formed from natural or man-made sources.

'Air Quality' is the measure of pollutants in the air. High levels of pollutants results in poor air quality.

Pollutants that are emitted directly into the atmosphere are known as 'primary pollutants'. Primary pollutants can react with chemicals in the air to create further pollutants known as 'secondary pollutants'.

The main air pollutants are nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO).

This website contains a lot of information on air pollution, the impacts on health and what can be done to make a difference to air quality!

Climate Change

Throughout Earth's history, the climate has always been changing and in recent decades global temperatures have been increasing. This change is generally thought to be caused by human activity such as burning fossil fuels, as well as causing air pollution this also release 'greenhouse gases' that cause more heat to be trapped in the atmosphere.

The greenhouse gases which come from human activities include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) and these come from Energy generation, transport, industrial activities, waste activities and agriculture. Deforestation also influences the amount of CO2 in the air as cutting down trees means less CO2 will be absorbed by them leaving higher concentrations in the atmosphere.

Throughout the world, the effects of climate change will be different. General effects include higher temperatures, more droughts, more frequent and severe weather, melting of glaciers and ice sheets/caps and rising sea levels.

There are many things that can be done that reduce both air pollution and the effects of climate change at the same time!