Autumn Air Quality Concerns You Need to Know

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Nature paints masterpieces of vibrant hues during autumn, shedding the greens and replacing them with greens, tangerines, and yellows. Nature arrests attention, making one feel lost in crispy air, earthy smell, and cosy evenings beside the fireplace. As much as the scenic autumn picture mesmerizes the minds, it leaves you with one thing you should stay concerned about. 

It is air quality in fall.

With splendid beauty and cosiness, autumn naturally brings factors that impact the environmental air. The closed windows and doors to save oneself from the cold breeze also contribute to deteriorating indoor air quality.  

Besides, Australia has unique weather patterns and environmental conditions that give rise to some unique concerns regarding air quality during autumn. The naturally existing pollutants and those arising from indoor activities, especially during autumn, cause health issues and many other problems and must be taken care of. 

Today, in this read, we will discuss some primary factors affecting air quality in the fall. Give it a read to know the required details so you can take appropriate measures to save yourself and your loved ones from the adverse effects of poor air quality. 

Key Factors Affecting Air Quality In Fall

Pollens 

Drier weather conditions and reduced ventilation increase the prevalence of pollen from various sources during fall. In Australia, pollens from grass, birch, oak and pine trees, weeds such as plantain, ragweed and nettles, and introduced plants such as olives and plane trees. These pollens are spread through the air and are the main cause of autumn allergies. 

Mould Spores And Dust Mites

Mould produces spores to reproduce, which are spread in the air. The autumn beginning is the most favourable season for spore formation because of cooler temperatures and adequate moisture.  Air carries mould spores, which can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people on inhalation.

Similarly, dust mites spread widely during autumn as people use heating systems and humidifiers to keep warm and moist. The tiny creatures spread through the air and are invisible to the naked eye.

Bushfire Smoke 

With climatic changes, bushfires are a common summer disaster in Australia. Due to global climatic change, bushfires also occur during the autumn. They occur because of dry and hot weather, lightning, human activities, etc. They leave behind particulate matter and dangerous chemicals in the air, affecting air quality. The bushfire smoke contains many pollutants, such as: 

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide 
  • Nitrogen oxide 
  • PM10 
  • 5
  • Ultrafine particles
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) 

These pollutants impact the air quality and must be contained to save humans and animals from their adverse effects. 

Weather Patterns 

The inverting weather from hot to cold during autumn contributes to trapping more pollutants near the ground. Pollutants from industrial emissions, vehicles, residential activities, etc, stay trapped, affecting the air quality during autumn. When polluted air enters indoor spaces, closed windows and doors, it accumulates inside without getting a chance to move out because of closed doors and windows. Exposing the occupants to more pollutants than usual. 

Urban Factors 

Industrial emissions, urban vegetation, traffic, construction, sports and recreational activities are characteristics of urbanisation. These activities generate various forms of pollutants that affect air quality. Drier autumn conditions further amplify the effect of air quality on public health and the environment. 

Agricultural Activities 

The start of autumn calls for an increase in agricultural activities. Crop harvesting, prescribed burning and sowing new seeds before winter kicks in are some key ones done during autumn. All these agricultural activities increase pollutants, compromising the air quality in autumn. 

Autumn Festives

Autumn brings many festivals like harvesting, thanksgiving, Halloween, Oktoberfest and many cross-cultural festivals like Diwali, the Day of the Dead and Moon festivals. Australia, being a cross-cultural hub with migrants and students from many parts of the world, experiences most of the autumn festivals. Holiday decorations, scented candles, pumpkin carvings, lighting diyas, and natural and artificial floral decorations look pleasing to the eyes and create festive vibes. Still, they also increase the level of pollutants in the environment.

Formaldehyde and polyethene vinyl acetate (PEVA) are the most common pollutants from burning candles and holiday decorations that release pollutants and affect indoor air quality.

How To Address Your Concerns For Air Quality In Fall?

Based on the causes of autumn air quality, you can take some measures to minimise the production of pollution and your exposure to it.

  • Pollens exist naturally. There will always be a risk of pollen-induced fall allergies. If you are sensitive to pollen you must stay indoors to avoid exposure to pollen, use air purifiers to keep indoor air clean, and use a facial mask while going outside. 
  • Routine cleanliness and maintaining good hygiene help reduce risks arising from mould spores and dust mites. 
  • Individuals must avoid activities that put bushes and forests at risk of catching fire. Government authorities must take appropriate steps to limit bushfire spread. 
  • Humans must take appropriate steps to stop impacting the climate.

Although urban activities are unavoidable, one should consider more eco-friendly practices and avoid activities that pollute the environment.

Conclusively, a drop in air quality during autumn is a serious concern. Pollens, mould spores, dust mites, bushfire smoke, weather patterns, urban and agricultural factors, and autumn festivals release pollutants that affect the air quality. One should take appropriate measures to control the spread of contaminants and limit their effects on air quality in the fall.