Piggy poo-llution causes stink in Wales

A council in Wales is blaming its poor air quality on Danish pigs, saying particles from their faeces are drifting over the UK.

Neath Port Talbot Council told Wales Online that its steadily increasing pollution levels are partly to blame on the 5,000 Danish pig farms located around 1,000km to the west.

“In situations where you’ve got a gentle easterly breeze, you would get higher concentrations in the trajectory of the air mass moving to England and Wales,” Roger Barrowcliffe, a meteorologist and air quality expert from engineering firm RWDI, told the website. “We’re sort of in a situation now,” he added.

The pig droppings give off ammonia, which turns into ammonium nitrate gas particles once in the atmosphere. The Danish Agriculture and Food Council claims, however, that highly-advanced technology is used by the country’s farmers to reduce the emissions.

In 2010, Port Talbot only exceeded its air safety threshold on 13 days, but this number has since risen to 29, according to Wales online. “Approximately 11 of the additional days were caused by trans-boundary pollution, in this case including pollution from Saharan sand and Danish pig farms,” the council’s climate change manager Geoff Marquis said.

Dr David Muir, from the Institute of Air Quality Management, however, claimed the issue is an “occasional episode”, telling Wales Online that, “[the pollution] they’ve got locally in Port Talbot, they’re going to exceed the standards without any help from Danish pig farms”.