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Dust from Sahara blows into London

I went to the gym this morning. So what, right? Working out is the big thing nowadays. Beats lying in, that is if you wear a Nike Fuel Band like I do. That’s why I take to the Thames Path three times per week and spend one hour weekly training with an expert.

Of course, racking up fuel points is not the only reason for exercising, but it sure is a good motivator for it.

Admittedly though, after hearing on BBC Breakfast this morning that the UK air might not be the best place about now for anyone, let alone asthma sufferers, I stalled.

For the last several days, high winds have brought dust from the Sahara Dessert to England and Wales. A haze, for instance, hangs over Birmingham today. Yesterday, many Londoners found their cars lightly coated with red dust.

No wonder I couldn’t see the Thames for the smog yesterday and I was a stone’s throw away from it.

Umm… with low-grade asthma and sore muscles that hadn’t recovered from yesterday’s intense work out, I pulled on my kit, warmed up, and begrudgingly headed for the gym instead of the Thames Path.

Wrong answer, I thought as I laboured for thirty-minutes on the treadmill. As soon as I was done, I rushed outside to the nearest bench and went into an extensive stretching regime, using any breathing techniques I remotely knew of.

As I took in the seemingly fresh air, it got me thinking about the environment.

How is it that dust from the Sahara could settle in the UK? What, if anything, does this have to do with climate change? And is running in a haze of dust actually worst than toiling and sweating in a stuffy gym.

While I don’t have the answers to the former two questions, I have my opinion about the latter one. I’d much rather run outside any day than in a sweatbox, no matter how swish and roomy it is. But if the air is polluted, I have to be realistic, don’t I.

Fortunately for me, the air is expected to clear by Friday. Even so, environmental issues won’t flee.

While the Sahara’s dust will soon pass over the UK, it will sweep into another country and other issues will crop up or flow in here—something for us all to think about wherever we are. What does it all mean and what can we do about it? No soapbox or scare tactics here, just plain on realistic questions.

In the meantime, I am lagging in fuel points; I need to get going, perhaps for a short walk, even if it is hazy outside.