Air Pollution Needs to Be Taken Care of


The Considerate Constructor Scheme (CCS) surveyed more than 600 workers from sites in the UK and Ireland at the end of last year and the findings show that 84% of respondents believed air pollution created by the industry was an issue, while nearly two-thirds (64%) said the sector needed to do more to address it.

Construction sites are full of dust and exhaust fumes from heavy machinery, both contributing to air pollution, which can later cause health problems such as asthma, bronchitis, cancer, and respiratory illnesses among workers and the general public. In addition, it is estimated that it costs the economy more than £20 billion a year.

“While some of the survey results were encouraging, there are clearly areas for improvement and the need for the industry to work together to help reduce air pollution,” commented CCS on the findings.

To tackle this problem further, the organisation has launched a new campaign called “Spotlight on… air pollution”, which features an online hub with information on how to minimise air pollution on construction sites written primarily for contractors.

For example, on how to handle dust control better, the hub lists a few steps that site management can take to minimise dust levels including: reducing idling, wheel washing and the use of dust suppression and extraction systems; using chutes, conveyors, and covered skips; minimising cutting, grinding, and sawing; and restrictions on burning.

“As construction is a significant contributor to air pollution, it is essential for the industry to put measures in place to clean up our air by working together to reduce our impact on air quality,” said CCS chief executive Edward Hardy. “[Our campaign] provides everyone within the industry access to a practical suite of resources, including best practice, guidance and case studies from Scheme-registered construction sites, companies and suppliers on how to tackle this issue, as well as guidance from organisations including the Institute of Air Quality Management, Health Air Campaign and the Greater London Authority.

The two main forms of air pollutants are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from diesel engines, and particulate matter comprising small airborne solid and liquid particles. Construction workers are particularly vulnerable to NO2 because they work in the proximity of polluting vehicles, so it is vital that the construction industry starts improving air quality on its sites.


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BDC 309 : Oct 2023