Work from home increasing pollution? Here’s what study in the UK found

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October 26, 2020 1:52 PM

While the ECIU report is specific to the UK, an earlier report by US’ Health Effects Institute stated that the pollution in India has the third highest exposure to PM 2.5.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has released a report recently. (Image: Reuters)

Work from home: Working from home this winter could cause air pollution to rise in London! The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has released a report recently which states that the level of air pollution in some parts of the United Kingdom could increase in the winter season due to the coronavirus-induced work from home setting. The report states that while working from home, people would use gas boilers for heating during the winter, which would cause nitrogen oxides emissions to increase, according to a report in IE. These new emissions would be about enough to negate the improvement made in two years due to traffic pollution measures.

Cause for increased pollution

As per the ECIU report, combustion of gas by boilers and cookers in buildings is one of the biggest reasons for air pollution in the local area. It cited the example of Greater London, where gas combustion forms 21% of the nitrogen oxides emissions. Due to the increased use of boilers and cookers, therefore, the report said that some towns and cities in the UK would see an increase in emissions of nitrogen oxides to the tune of around 12%.

The ECIU analysis has also shown that in London itself, there could be a growth of about 56% in the nitrogen oxides emissions from boilers.

Air pollution: Similar trends for India

While the ECIU report is specific to the UK, an earlier report by US’ Health Effects Institute stated that the pollution in India has the third highest exposure to PM 2.5, according to an IE report. PM 2.5 is among the most harmful pollutants for the health of humans. These particles can enter the bloodstream or the lungs and cause several illnesses, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The report stated that the coronavirus lockdown in India caused a significant improvement in the air quality in many parts. An analysis on pollution in India by the World Bank showed that the pandemic brought significant relief, but the quality of air in the country has been improving since 2018. Compared to 2018, there were fewer days in 2019 when the daily national standard for PM 2.5 was breached.

However, the setting in of winter brings increased pollution in the northern part of the country.

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