How does air pollution affect my health?

Air pollution affects everybody, but it’s worse for children, older people and individuals with existing heart and lung conditions. Exposure to pollution can cause lung damage in children, impair their development and worsen existing conditions like asthma.

In busy cities like Portsmouth, Nitrogen Dioxide (caused by burning fuels in vehicle engines) and Particulate Matter (from brake and tyre wear) are the biggest offenders in causing air pollution. Nitrogen Dioxide is a gas which irritates the airways of the lungs and affects the way they work. Particulate Matter is made up of fine particles which can enter the lungs, cause inflammation and make heart and lung disease worse.

Air pollution can contribute towards conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, dementia and type 2 diabetes. In Portsmouth, approximately 95 people die every year from diseases attributed to air pollution (Public Health England).

How can I make our air cleaner?

The rise of climate change is a global challenge which the United Kingdom is addressing along with their international partners. But Portsmouth City Council cannot do this alone. As individuals, we each have a responsibility to change how we live on a day to day basis to reduce the further onset of dangerous climate change. We can all play our part together and then many small changes will multiply into a large contribution.

Here are some things you can do to make our air cleaner for everyone:

Walk, cycle or scoot more

Make fewer journeys by car, and instead travel by bicycle, walking or on greener public transport.

Clean Air Cyclist Portsmouth

Upgrade your vehicle

Upgrade your car to an electric or hydrogen vehicle, or one with better fuel efficiency.

Electric vehicles Portsmouth

Travel smart

Encourage friends and family to car share on the way to work or school.

Car Share Clean Air Portsmouth

Switch off your engine

Leaving your engine on when stationary makes air pollution worse. Switch it off while at a standstill.

Engines Off Portsmouth

Don’t burn rubbish or wood

Burning wood or rubbish such as garden waste at home is harmful and makes air pollution worse.

Bonfire Clean Air Portsmouth

Make the most of the school run

Walk, cycle or scoot with the kids, or if you have to drive, park further away and walk the rest.

Scooter Portsmouth

More information and resources

Clean Air Day Portsmouth

Local transport plan

Our Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) plays a big part in improving air quality, and we’re also working on our Local Transport Plan, which prioritises delivering cleaner air.

HM Government Portsmouth

Air Quality Local Plan

See the plan submitted to Government that ensures levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city can be reduced below legal limits in the shortest possible time.

My Journey Portsmouth

My Journey

Find out the facts about air quality, effects on health and help bust the myths on engine idling.