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Expert calls for research on waste site air quality

There is a “bad need” to build a representative picture of airborne particulate problems around typical waste sites, an industry expert on air quality has warned.

Kings College London senior lecturer in air quality Dr Gary Fuller told MRW: “It is important to build up a body of knowledge about best practice in terms of how these problems can be tackled. I think we’re lacking in information in this area at the moment.”

PM10 are particles comprised of mineral dust, sulphates, nitrates, ammonia, carbon and other materials, of under 10 microns in diameter, which could cause as many as 50,000 deaths a year, according to an environmental audit committee report.

The call for better data follows research from King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group, which identified three waste transfer stations that consistently breached air quality limits. But the three sites were only monitored following local authority air quality management procedures which identified the possibility that air quality targets were exceeded.

Fuller said: “The measurements we have are only at sites that have gone through this process, so we don’t have measurements at a representative number of waste sites. As a researcher I would very much like measurements across a representative set of the industry as a whole.”

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