Failure of exhaust fume toxins to disperse in calm weather causing high levels of pollution

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High levels of air pollution (particulate matter) were monitored in Derry on Monday, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

DAERA said air quality was due to improve today as winds strengthened.

The high levels of pollution are believed to be as a result of local pollution sources such as road vehicles and home heating emissions combined with cold, calm weather conditions in which pollutants are not being dispersed.

During periods of high pollution the symptoms of people with lung or heart disease may worsen. Healthy people are unlikely to experience any ill effects.

Hourly updates on levels of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide are available on the Department’s website: http://www.airqualityni.co.uk and the Department’s freephone helpline (0800 556677), which also offers health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution.

Subscribers to the Air Aware service will also receive notification of this alert: see http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/air-pollution-and-health

Recently, the ‘Journal’ reported how an air quality monitor in Marlborough Street in Derry exceeded the recommended limits for Nitrogen Dioxide - one of the pollutants associated with exhaust fumes detected at high levels yesterday - before being closed down two years ago because the building it was in, had to undergo a major refurbishment.

At the start of the year a study by Public Health Ontario, which tracked six million Canadian adults over a period of 11 years, found the closer people lived to busy roads the greater was their risk of developing dementia.

People living within 50 metres of heavy traffic had a seven per cent higher risk of developing dementia, the Canadian study found.