Pollution warning as Sahara dust swirls over Portsmouth

Dust has swirled in from the Sahara Desert
Dust has swirled in from the Sahara Desert

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People in the Portsmouth area have been warned to beware air pollution over the next few days - because of dust swept in from the Sahara Desert.

The south coast is expected to be one of the worst-hit areas as large swathes of England and Wales are affected.

The elevated pollution levels have been caused by a combination of light south-easterly winds, the continental air flow and dust which has blown up from the Sahara desert, a spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pollution forecast, the people in North West Norfolk can expect “very high” levels of pollution.

Other parts of East Anglia will experience “high” levels and parts of south-east England and the Humber region will experience “moderate” pollution.

“The current elevated pollution levels over parts of the UK are caused by light winds allowing the build-up of pollution, plus dust from the Sahara contributing to pollution levels,” according to the Defra forecast.

However, tomorrow experts are anticipating “high” or “very high” air pollution levels across much of England and Wales.

And the high levels of pollution are expected to continue across East Anglia and the Midlands on Thursday.

But the air pollution is expected to ebb away by Friday.

Last weekend, some people found their cars to be covered in a light coating of red dust. The Met Office said that a large amount of sand and dust was swept up by storm winds in the Sahara Desert.

Experts said that the airborne particles of dust were blown north to the UK where they combined with our warm air and were deposited during showers.

A Defra spokeswoman said: “The high level of air pollution this week is due to a combination of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara.

“We want to keep improving air quality and have introduced a new five-day forecast service in addition to investing heavily in local and transport initiatives to tackle this issue head-on.”