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High pollution across east Kent leads to Defra warning

A warning has been issued about high air pollution across Kent today which may cause problems for people's health.

Elderly residents and people with heart and lung issues on Sheppey - where the level is forecast to be the highest in Kent - are advised to reduce strenuous activity outside.

Across east Kent levels are expected to be moderate according to the forecast published by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

A high air pollution warning has been issued by the government today. Stock picture
A high air pollution warning has been issued by the government today. Stock picture

The government uses the Daily Air Quality Index - produced by the Met Office - to predict levels of pollutants which can have an affect on people's health.

It measures the amount of five key pollutants in the air including: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles.

The index is a 10-stage scale ranging from low, moderate, high and very high.

Sheppey has been rated as having a level eight index, meanwhile Herne Bay, Birchington and Margate are rated level seven index.

Elsewhere across the county Folkestone, Dover, Deal, Sandwich have a level six rating (moderate) for the rest of the day.

Defra has released a warning to the public about the associated health risks with high pollution.

For the higher areas - index seven to nine - people with lung and heart problems are advised to reduce strenuous physical exertion outside.

Pollution levels are high in parts of Kent
Pollution levels are high in parts of Kent

Older people have also been advised to reduce physical exertion.

Other people experiencing discomfort like sore eyes, cough or sore throat are advised to consider reducing activity outdoors.

Residents in the areas regarded as moderate who suffer from heart and lung problems have been advised to "consider reducing" outdoor strenuous activity.

The general population have been advised to continue as normal.

The pollution levels are expected to return to low tomorrow for the next five days of the forecast.

Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP for the south east and clean air campaigner, said: "These high levels of pollution highlight just how serious a threat bad air is to our health.

"Air pollution causes serious heart and lung problems and is linked to almost a thousand deaths every year in Kent.

"Episodes like this often have a number of contributing factors, but what is clear is that towns and cities across South East England need to reduce the level of air pollution in their streets."

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