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Air pollution warning for Sussex as Sahara dust smog due to hit
Updated 3:38pm Wednesday 2nd April 2014 in News
WITH VIDEO: People should be braced for high levels of air pollution as dust from the Sahara and industrial emissions from the continent descend on Sussex.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has forecast that Sussex will be suffering from air pollution reaching levels of seven and eight on their ten point scale – putting the county in the “high” category.
The alert comes as Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and others speak at a conference addressing the problem of air pollution, Sussex Air, at The Amex Stadium today.
She told the conference: "Your meeting could scarcely be more timely, with the headlines today reporting that air pollution in many areas is at dangerous levels.
"Air pollution is a silent and deadly killer – yet very rarely makes the headlines in the way it should – and in the way it has done today."
She added: "Southern England has been hit today by high levels of air pollution – a very real and immediate reminder of how important it is to do whatever we can to improve air quality.
Defra fears that the levels of pollutants in the air will be at the highest level possible on the measuring scale - level 10.
"This is the level at which the Government advises people to reduce strenuous exercise and those with medical conditions to avoid activity wherever possible.
"That’s why, in Parliament, I’ve called for a number of measures, many of which underpin the work being done by Sussex Air."
Those with lung or heart conditions are urged to take caution while exercising outside.
Defra guidelines for high levels of pollution state: “Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms.
“People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.
“Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.”
A Defra spokeswoman said: "The high level of air pollution this week is due to a combination of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara.
"We want to keep improving air quality and have introduced a new five-day forecast service in addition to investing heavily in local and transport initiatives to tackle this issue head-on.".
By Thursday the pollution should begin to clear as the southerly wind begins to drop and rain makes its way – with levels in the county dropping to level two.
Last weekend some people found their cars covered in a light coating of red dust due to storms in the Sahara.
Elsewhere in the UK, areas of East Anglia and the East Midlands are experiencing level ten air pollution – deemed “very high” by Defra.
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