There seems to be a deep debate about almost everything nowadays!  Well pollution of air in the countryside is no different and is certainly a topic of debate for many people at the moment.  Let’s explore this further and try to find out if our country air really is polluted.  If so, what might we be able to do about it?

Breathing in toxic air

According to Friends of the Earth, up to 2/3 of us who live in the countryside might be in danger! To clarify further, this means if you live in a rural area you might just be breathing in illegal levels of air pollution and it has even been suggested that, depending upon where you live, you might not be able to escape it. This is a far cry from what we thought were the benefits of breathing cleaner air in the countryside!  If true, then could our “healthy” outdoor pursuits actually be harming us? And what, if anything, can be done about it?

Possible risks to everyone’s health?

Well some pollution experts suggest that countryside activities such as livestock farming is adding to levels of ammonia and methane pollution. The notion is that country air is contaminated by ammonia and methane directly from farm animals. Allegedly, even traditional muck spreading is associated with pollution!

Okay, so you can’t see it and sometimes you can’t smell it but reports tell us that it’s there!  It seems that up to 40,000 premature deaths sadly occur each year because of outdoor pollution.  Further, increased serious conditions such as asthma, heart attacks and strokes can be attributed to it, if we are to believe the reports.  So just how good – or bad – is air in the countryside?

Interestingly, Part V of the Clean Air Act 1956 (amended 1993) covers air pollution from a range of sources. It would appear that power stations are a source, as is transport. In fact, there are suggestions that vehicle emissions are carried through the atmosphere, resulting in more pollution in countryside areas than in built up areas!   Further, a very disturbing claim is that polluted air in the countryside may be responsible for underdeveloped lungs in children.  The World Health Organisation shares concerns too.

Being aware

Countryside Pollution

Lichen on Oak Tree Branches

Just being aware can help. After all, if we think our house might be polluted we find a way to ventilate it. We should remember though that logs and other solid fuels, when burnt inside, can release fine particles that can enter lungs. Experts say that plants such as Lillies and Dragon Trees can help us to clean the air in our houses.  Back outside if you take a look at trees, such as Oak, if there is evidence of yellow ‘lichen’, on branches be aware!  This means there is likely to be a high level of ammonia pollution in your countryside air. Ideas to help prevent high levels of pollution from sources such as traffic are often floated around.  It seems that maintaining tall, dense hedgerows can serve as filters from traffic emissions.  (It is even suggested that ‘Electric cars’ contribute, through brake and tyre wear and road abrasion!)

Well, whether we should believe the experts’ reports or not is down to an individual’s own thoughts.  It’s quite a subjective yet emotive topic!  As you might imagine the team here at Cherry Tree Country Clothing simply loves walking the hills. Whenever we can, we’ll be out and about doing something!

We too have always believed that being outdoors, enjoying the countryside air, is really healthy!  Of course everyone should always take note of what the experts tell us  – but perhaps then make up their own minds.

Well, we all agree here that we’ll continue to take advantage of the many enjoyable benefits of being outdoors. But what do you think?  Please feel free to let us know your own thoughts on this.

We’ll always be very pleased to hear from you!