SHEFFIELD: Frightening figures from UK’s most monitored air

“People should stop using wood burners,” says Rohit Chakraborty, a PhD researcher at the Urban Flows Observatory at the University of Sheffield.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 9:00 am
Rohit Chakraborty, PhD researcher. Picture: Doradc.co.uk

“The UK has great central heating available, but people burn solid fuels in their living rooms and it’s filling their homes with pollution.”

It’s also a problem for their neighbours who may inhale the harmful particulates, he adds.

A staggering 38 per cent of UK air pollution is from domestic wood burners and from burning coal.

“If you’re burning solid fuels, then you’re creating particulates. And the World Health Organisation says there is no safe level of particulates.”

This article is from Survival Plan, a Star supplement with the University of Sheffield, on how South Yorkshire is responding to the challenge of a climate emergency.

Mr Chakraborty’s understanding of air pollution is backed by data from a network of sensors in Sheffield which make it the UK’s ‘most monitored’.

The Urban Flows Observatory has been installing them and there are 71 fixed sensors throughout 21 of the 28 electoral wards and more than 50 mobile sensors.

In April 2019 the data showed the average level of fine particulate matter pollution in Sheffield was almost double the WHO’s annual guideline of 10 micrograms per cubic meter or air.

Mr Chakraborty said: “With the advent of cheap and portable sensors, we can now measure the invisible pollution around us more efficiently than ever.

“This data can be used to help us change our pollution-causing habits; influence political leaders in introducing new laws and help citizens make choices like walking through the park on their commute to avoid polluted roads.”

The Observatory is monitoring air at Hunters Bar Infant school which is installing a barrier of plants around the playground.