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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

High air pollution forecast in Northern Ireland

Woman taking inhaler

The Department of Agticulture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) have advised that parts of Northern Ireland are expected to experience high and moderate levels of air pollution this week.

The Department forecasts high and moderate levels of particulate matter are forecast across the province until Friday (12th January), with "potential for isolated areas of high air pollution to occur during this period".

Weather Conditions

The high levels of pollution are expected as a result of increased home heating emissions along with the forecasted cold, calm weather conditions, which prevents these pollutants being dispersed. During winter, cold, still conditions can increase the level of pollutants at ground level. In summer, hot weather, without much wind can also lead to raised concentrations of pollutants.

Air pollution is classified for particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone, as follows:

• low (one to three)

• moderate (four to six)

• high (seven to nine)

• very high (10)

Stay Up-to-date


For further information and hourly updates on levels of particulate matter in Northern Ireland please see the Department’s website: 

Text Service

You can receive high air pollution alerts free to your mobile phone to let you know when air pollution levels are high. To subscribe to the 'Air Aware' service text AIR to 07984 405 722. Alerts are free but text messages to the service cost your normal standard rate.

Free App

The public can also download the DAERA Air app free of charge from both Android and iPhone stores from

App Store logo
Google play store logo

Health Advice

During periods of high air pollution, the symptoms of people with lung or heart disease may worsen. Healthy people are unlikely to experience any ill effects.

If you think you may be affected by air pollution levels, you should consider modifying your treatment when symptoms increase and speak to your doctor if this is not effective.

You could reduce the time you spend outdoors or avoid busy, congested streets.

If your breathing is affected during cold, calm conditions or on hot, sunny days, you should:

• avoid strenuous outdoor activity

• make sure you have medication, such as an asthma inhaler

Children with asthma should be able to take part in games. They may need to increase their use of reliever medicines before participating. They shouldn't need to stay away from school.

If you suffer from a heart condition and notice a change in your symptoms, you should get medical advice.


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