What should I do concerning air pollution?

The Issue Wiltshire College
Solvent vapours from products containing Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs; they will use this term on the label and in product literature if a product contains VOCs) cause local air pollution, promote ozone production and can trigger asthma. They are also greenhouse gases. These might be found in paints, solvents, photographic chemicals, beauty products and others.
Damaging the ozone layer causes excessive ultra violet light to reach the Earth, causing skin cancer, damage to agriculture and to marine life. Ozone depleting chemicals may still be found in old fridges (the coolant, and gases within the insulation, may damage the ozone layer).

Ozone depleting chemicals (although banned by law) may still be found in old stores. In particular look for substances labelled as containing '1.1.1 trichloroethane'.
Burning of plastics, rubbers, PVC and other materials releases phosgene, dioxins, furans and other toxic (potentially carcinogenic) substances.

Smell and smoke from bonfires are nuisances to people.
No burning of man-made materials is permitted on Wiltshire College sites.
Vehicle exhausts can contain benzene that causes Leukaemia (from petrol engines), or particulates ('PM10') that cause breathing difficulties and possibly lung cancer (from diesel engines). Motor vehicle workshops have to run vehicles for extended periods during test phases, and manoeuvring vehicles around workshops.
Lead fume and dust can affect the central nervous system on absorption via the lungs or skin. Lead is used in plumbing workshops, including lead welding activities.

Control measures

Products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

  • These products should be substituted for more environmentally friendly alternatives where practical.
  • Suitable contains should be used that are self-closing and spill resistant.
  • Containers should be clearly labelled including any safety symbols and information provided by the manufacturer or supplier.
  • They should be stored securely with control over their issue and use.
  • CoSHH assessment should include restrictions on use, including reference to minimum competence levels of users and supervisors.
  • Disposal will generally need to be as hazardous waste - contact the Contracts and Procurement Manager or Environment Co-ordinator for advice.

Disposal of fridges

  • All disused equipment, including fridges, must be disposed of through the College's contract waste disposal contractor, who will arrange safe disposal with recycling of as many components as possible. Prior to disposal, waste equipment must be protected from damage and theft.

Ozone depleting substances

  • Ozone depleting substances must also be disposed of in a way that does not damage the environment. As with all waste, this must be organised through the College waste contractor. Any unlabelled bottles can be tested and safely disposed of the contractor. If in doubt, contact the Environment Co-ordinator.

Burning of waste

  • Burning of waste on College sites is not permitted, except at Lackham where organic wastes may be incinerated with the permission of the Farm Manager.

Vehicle Exhausts

  • Appropriate local exhaust ventilation systems shall be used.


  • Filtered local exhaust ventilation systems will be used for all lead welding work. Work liable to produce lead fume or lead dust will be subject to a specific CoSHH assessment.

Teaching resources

Contact the College Environmental Co-ordinator, who is collating teaching resources.

Further Information

Please contact the College Environmental Co-ordinator for further advice. You may also find the following websites helpful:


What are the issues? What should I do?