Clean Air Day 2023: How Does Air Quality Affect Our Mental Health?

Clean Air Day is an annual event that increases the awareness of air quality issues, in the aim of making our air cleaner and therefore healthier for our population. This year’s theme focusses on mental health: ‘Clean up our air to look after your mind’.

It is vital for our physical health that we breathe in clean air; however, research has shown that poor air quality also negatively affects our mental health too. Populations who live in areas of very poor air quality are more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, poor cognitive functions and have an increased risk of developing dementia. This is specifically dangerous for children living in heavily polluted areas, as air pollution can significantly impact their brains and behavior during early years development.

The leading cause of poor air quality in the UK comes from vehicle emissions, which pollute high levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter, pollutants which are directly linked to respiratory-based illnesses and mortality. There are many ways to mitigate against poor air quality, for example by using public transport, avoiding ordering non-essential deliveries and asking local decision-makers to take action. Indoor air quality is also a huge problem with respect to mental health issues as people typically spend the fast majority of their time indoors, and therefore mitigation measures should also focus on the indoor environment, for example with the use of air purifiers at home or in the car. Mass action will create a big change and therefore a healthier environment for us to live in.

Wardell Armstrong’s air quality team comprises specialists from across the UK, and has expertise in undertaking air quality, dust and odour assessments for planning and permitting applications. If you have any questions regarding air quality or have a project that requires our support, please get in touch.


Source: Is there a link between air pollution and mental health? | IQAir

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