UK warns of smog

The UK Government was forced to issue smog warnings earlier this week, as record temperatures caused a surge in ground level ozone.

High ozone levels can exacerbate asthma and heart conditions.

Ozone in the stratosphere, over 10 kilometres above the Earth’s surface, protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

But when the gas is emitted through human pollution at ground level, it combines with other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides to form smog.

On Tuesday, the European Environment Agency launched a new online tool to help European citizens to track the concentration of ground level ozone in their areas.

According to the EEA, as much as 30% of Europe’s urban population is exposed to concentrations of ozone above the safety limits set by the EU, and ozone pollution causes up to 20,000 deaths a year.

“The EU has made it obligatory for countries to alert citizens on a national level when ozone levels reach particular levels,” said Professor Jacqueline McGlade, the executive director of the EEA.

“However, Ozone Web goes much further by allowing you to monitor ozone anytime, from anywhere,” she added.

“You can monitor ozone levels in a neighbouring country or at a holiday destination, check recent trends and track the spread of ozone across Europe by the wind.”

UK citizens can also access data on pollution levels through Teletext and online at

Gretchen Hendriks

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