At a venue in Vienna yesterday evening I couldn't help noticing that a significant percentage of the audience were constantly coughing. So much so, that after the intermission I moved to another part of the auditorium, thinking I'd be safe from any winter germs that were floating around.
And then it occurred to me that the coughing epidemic I was witnessing might not be due to winter colds and chills. I myself have a slight sore throat, I thought. And then I thought this might be due to something some more serious. The air I'm breathing might not be too healthy, I thought.
And so first this morning I logged on to an international air quality monitoring website which covers 300 cities around the world, and I checked the Vienna air quality for myself. What I discovered was alarming and surprising, since I had not seen any warnings in the daily newspaper or heard anything much about air quality on the radio; which tends to give us temperatures, snow conditions, and hours of sunshine etc., and only rarely, very rarely, reports on Vienna's air.
I discovered that in the last 31 days in Vienna we have had:
8 days of VERY HIGH POLUTION
19 days of HIGH POLLUTION
4 days of MODERATE POLLUTION
0 days of FRESH AIR
I then looked at the chart for the last 6 months, that is to say since 19th August 2016. What I found was almost beyond belief!
EXAMINING THE GRAPH FOR THE LAST 6 MONTHS I COULD ONLY FIND 9 DAYS WITH "FRESH AIR"*
*"FRESH AIR" IS DEFINED BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION.
It goes without saying that I have now downloaded the Air Quality App and that I will be closely monitoring the pollution levels when I venture out for my daily exercise. This morning the pollution at the time of looking, an hour ago, was classed as moderate and runners are today advised to "take it easy".
Since I value my health I shall do so.