AS SMOG smothered South Essex hazy views across the county were captured by Echo photographers.

Medical staff urged those who suffer with heart or lung disease to stay indoors and to keep away from any outdoor activities if possible as experts predicted it to be the worst smog for 60 years.

Essex Weather Centre forecasting pollution levels of ten, the highest possible score on the measurement scale, for 48 hours.

Honorie Anang, a nurse who runs a respiratory exercise group in Steeple View memorial Hall, in Willowfield, Laindon, said: “I will advise people who suffer with breathing difficulties to stay indoors and not drive through the smog.

“They should also keep their windows shut. People will have to use inhalers more, if they need to step outside then take your inhalers with you.”

Dust being carried in from the Sahara Desert tied with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ warning that light winds had caused a build-up in pollution, led to the smog.

A statement from Public Health England said: “Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.”

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Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: "The two-thirds of people with asthma who find that air pollution makes their asthma worse will be at an increased risk of an attack following the alarming Defra warning of high pollution levels around the country.

"Asthma UK warns the 3.6 million people at increased risk to be sure they always have a working blue reliever inhaler on them and take their preventer inhalers as prescribed."

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.


Ian Colbeck, professor of environmental science at the University of Essex, said: "This pollution episode comes just a week after the World Health Organisation estimated that seven million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution.

"It is now the biggest single environmental health risk. In the past, respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) were thought to be the main killers but it now emerges that heart disease and strokes account for up to 80% of deaths."

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