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UK high pollution dust storm? Plus a little history :)

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posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 06:26 PM
Hi guys,

As many of you will be aware over this week Britain will be and has been covered in this dust/smog stuff coming over from the Sahara, personally I've read that it's carrying dangerous chemicals that Europe are spouting out hence the warning to people with asthma, children, the elderly etc. The met office have given a '10' in terms of high air pollution in some areas, 9 for most but overall high numbers. (Admittedly the worst of it has hit the UK by Wednesday, but we all know how reliable the BBC weather reports can be


I first saw this as a warning on April 1st, obviously I thought it was an April fools joke because it had a section about the great smog of 1952 - curiosity took the better of me and off I went to research. Seemingly the great smog was an actual event, taking 12000 lives in London. This was due to industrial waste from homes and factories mixed with thick fog. Apparently there is still pollution from the great smog in London today, but obviously not as present. (I have just read through the article again and turns out the smog was created as it was a cold evening and everyone in London decides to burn coal to keep warm - Not really relevant to the Sahara dust thing, but still interesting!)

With this in mind, what do you guys think this will turn out? Personally I believe the media has hyped it up too much, putting headlines with the words 'killer smog' and 'deadly' (as usual) and it could literally be just harmless dust from the Sahara, but another part of me almost wants there to be something they're covering up.

posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 07:01 PM
If I made it to 20 posts today I was going to create a thread on this, but I don't like posting unless I am contributing.

The smog has been pretty bad here in the Midlands, I slept with the window open last night and awoke to a sore throat and a feeling of the air being thick and unpleasant. I live 20 miles away from the nearest large city so it was quite surprising, but on inspection out the window there was a thick yellowy haze sitting above the hills which remained for most of the day.

Its quite disconcerting when they (met office) state that most healthy people should not have an issue and if they do to stay inside. I feel sorry for the people with asthma and lung conditions it cant be good for them!

It is worries me what chemical are floating around in that haze, a lot of emphasis has been put on sand from the Sahara but there is a noxious mix of gasses from the EU and the UK.

With the UK fined this week for being one of the worst polluters in Europe I hope that this is something that will not become a common occurrence!!

posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 07:32 PM
I beat the smog by staying in bed all day (bit ill).

When i poped outside in the garden i just thought it was bad fog untill i turned on the T.V!

I live in an old coal mining town and apprently it used to always be covered with a think black smog, before my time tho!
Lots of the old folk here die from lung problems tho so i don't think its good long term!

posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 11:46 PM
Two things unconnected things have come together here - typically rolled into one by the media.

The dust was carried aloft about a week ago over the Sahara, then blown towards the UK and western Europe by upper winds, where it's fallen in rain or simply by gravity, leaving deposits on cars (mine included!) and other surfaces.

There is some Saharan dust hanging in the air, but the smog is caused by industrial and vehicle pollution from the UK and the European mainland, trapped by a very stagnant weather situation.

Neither is that rare in itself, the combination of the two is.

On the down side, like many others I'm having to use my inhaler to breathe more easily. The plus side is that there have been some great photos taken of the countryside and city skylines through the haze.

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 06:05 AM
reply to post by conz1992

The Saharan dust falling with the rain (which is known as 'Blood Rain' by some folks, although to be honest I would hope for a more coppery scent from the real thing), and floating around in the atmosphere along with those pollutants, coupled with the calm, low wind speeds we are currently encountering, mean that areas being affected by poor air quality will probably see quite a bit of this before the situation ends. I have to say, that down by the Thames Estuary, a typically breezy location, the air is certainly not at all clear, and many cars are covered with a thin film of assorted detritus.

I have also been coughing up wads of thick, crud filled mucus, although that could be from a cold I had recently, still working its way out. Nice image eh? Sorry about that!

The relatively low wind speed means that the cloud of muck which has been assaulting noses and bronchi over the last little while, has neither been dispersed, nor moved away from land. The low pressure system out to the West of the British Isles at the moment means that things will likely remain sedate in the atmosphere for a while yet, so if you find yourself with breathing difficulties of some sort, then I would advise taking precautions, like a bandana across ones face, and having any medications you might need for pre-existing upper respiratory complaints within easy reach for the next 72 hours at minimum!

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 06:12 AM
I've found it interesting how the media have portrayed it as being evil Saharan sand to blame. And completely underplaying the role of man-made pollutants.

The sand is harmless isn't it?

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 06:30 AM
reply to post by Painterz

The sand, in and of itself, is chemically harmless, although it can abrade the throat, and being so fine as it is, will get into machinery, and through air gaps in buildings, into the clothing, and the hair, and in high enough concentrations will cause the eyes to water. Also, people who have never seen it before, noticing it for the first time deposited on their cars, may be tempted to try and wipe it off. This may cause scratches to the finish on a vehicle, or for that matter, any surface. So although it is not necessarily dangerous, it is aggravating, and may pose a threat to asthmatics.

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 07:17 AM
Actually if the sand particles are small enough then the sand is also dangerous as they can get trapped in the lungs. The particles have to be smaller than 10 µm to be inhalable. Below a certain size the lungs can not get rid of the particles or absorb them into the blood and this size range ends up irratating the lungs and creates scar tissue, reducing lung function. Its similar to asbestosis.

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 07:21 AM
reply to post by LanceonW

That's a very good point!

I wonder if anyone is actually taking samples and measurements of this sand fall as it progresses? It would certainly be wise to do so, and to distribute appropriate warnings of such a thing were it to be an imminent threat to people's lungs!

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 04:22 PM
reply to post by LanceonW

Yeah silicosis is a very nasty condition and I have been warned about it when choosing medium for sand blasting.

I did a 10 mile Time Trial on my bike today and I can say my lungs were positivity burning a lot more than usual, getting simular symptoms as when I ride in the height of summer when the pollen count is high. Itchy throat, slight wheeze for half an hour when I get off the bike and streaming eyes.

Its not nice and the levels are only supposed to me moderate/high here, it must be horrible where it as its worst.

posted on Apr, 3 2014 @ 04:27 PM
reply to post by TrueBrit

The Guardian were reporting yesterday that the problem with modern day smog is the small partial size due to most of the larger partials been captured before they enter the atmosphere. Whereas in the 40s & 50s when the smog was bad you could just cough most of it up and your nose would filter it out, but some of these small particles will just enter your lungs and possibly your blood stream.

The size of particulates is directly linked to their potential to cause health problems. The smallest particulates, those less than 2.5 micrometres, called PM2.5s, are the most dangerous because they penetrate deep inside lungs. Long-term exposure to particles is linked to higher levels of fatal heart and lung disease, including lung cancer.

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