Air Pollution: Current Problems and Future Trends
Environmental pollution is one of the greatest problems on the planet. It is increasing from day to day nowadays, and it is difficult to eliminate it. Do the people destroy the nature deliberately or unintentionally? Why do the humans do harm to Earth, the place where they live? The answer is the simplest one: people are shortsighted, as they do not think about the coming generations and just live for today, enjoying all the benefits of the nature and its resources. Less and less people care for the world in which we live.
The people poison the water they drink, the food they eat, and the air they breathe. Accordingly, they destroy their lives. The virgin and pure nature has been created to bring the benefits and facilitate the humans’ lives. Air and water poisoning, the depletion of the ozone layer, acid rains, disboscation, and global warming are main ecological problems. It is not the full list of the global problems that cause numerous diseases and troubles to the humanity. None of this goes unnoticed. The pollution of air and water is the biggest problem of modern civilization. It leads to many dangers to everything living on Earth. If it continues for the next several centuries, people will not be able to live on this planet, which is not an exaggeration.
Numerous factors cause air pollution. The first factor is the emissions from the factories and industries. The plants emit such life-threatening substances as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Industrial, toxic waste, air emissions, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and especially nuclear waste have such an influence on our planet that the consequences could be worse and worse. Agricultural activities are another factor as ammonia, the most dangerous of all gasses in the air, fills the atmosphere. The mining process is also an important reason for the environmental pollution. Not only the dust, but also various chemicals are emitted into the air. The miners and other people who reside in the mining region often suffer from the lung and heart diseases.
Due to the technical breakthrough, the industry enterprises develop rather quickly. The factories emit various kinds of dangerous waste. Air is full of substances that people inhale. Nuclear power stations and industrial enterprises emit tons of various toxic and dangerous substances. Such emission has harmful consequences for the planet. People have to realize that the results can be life threatening. Outdoor air pollution is the most terrible among all environmental risk factors for the health. The indoor air pollution exists as well. The household chemicals, cleaning items, paints, sprays, and glues emit toxic chemicals in the air. People should use cleaner substitutes to the coal stoves as well.
Every ten minutes one type of animal, plant, or insect becomes extinct. If there are no positive changes, one million species will die in twenty years. Air pollution is perhaps the most serious problem in the world. The situation in Cairo and Mexico City is a striking example of severe air pollution. Just breathing the air in those cities is so dangerous for life that one can compare it to smoking approximately two packs of cigarettes a day.
People have a full right to know what they breathe, the quality of the air that they inhale, and the degree of air pollution. It is essential for every person to think about the reasons of air pollution and the ways of combating the problem. Air pollution is a complex issue. As a rule, it occurs due to the incorrect, unreasoned city planning. Lack of public transport such as buses causes an increase in using personal transport. Due to the insufficient number of bicycle paths, most people use cars. Deficiency of power supply leads to the use of diesel generators. As there is no adequate traffic management, traffic jams occur.
The biggest problem is the lack of the adequate waste management system. The treatment and disposal of waste, reuse, and recycling systems need to be improved. All of it means that the problem of air pollution occurs due to the various factors, and different departments of government should work together to improve the situation.
According to a new report from the World Health Organization, air pollution causes seven millions of deaths every year. This number is striking. One of the eight of all deaths in the world happens due to the poor quality of air. The air pollution causes more deaths than AIDS or malaria. When a person breathes polluted air, little particles come deep into the lungs. They cause irritation, pneumonia and later the inflammation in the heart.
According to the studies, almost four millions of the deaths in 2012 occurred due to the household air pollution, as coal stoves are the greatest danger. The World Health Organization reported that almost forty percent of those deaths happened in China. Nowadays, many of the deaths occur due to environmental pollution, mostly in East and South Asia. They are overpopulated, and the air pollution is more terrible than in other continents.
Columbia University carried out a study regarding the effects of the polluted air on the development of the infants. They studied two groups of women and their children who lived on the same territory, but with different levels of air pollution. The first group of mothers and infants lived near the coal-fired power plant in China in 2002. During that period, the factory was active, and the emissions were eight times greater than the US legal limit. The second group of women gave birth to their children in 2005 after the same plant had been closed. As the factory was idle, the second group of women gave birth during the time when air was eight times cleaner. The researchers found out that every single child born in 2002, when the plant was active, lacked a protein needed for sufficient neurological development. As a result, those children, who had inhaled the polluted air, had problems with their memory and were unable to learn or remember things in a proper way.
Why does the problem of air pollution exist and bring the real danger to society? Of course, people need to breathe pure air. They fully understand that fresh and pure air helps them to extend and improve the quality of their lives. Indeed, achieving clean air requires numerous resources. However, unfortunately, society has other uses for these resources. In the United States, the resource allocation process is left to the market mechanism.
How can humanity solve the problems of the environment pollution? First, people must realize that the problems apply to everyone on Earth, to all human beings, and they can cause serious health problems that can lead to death. People must fully realize that in case they do not act now, the danger will be inescapable for them. They must understand that fresh air is the key to their health. The transformation must start from the people’s minds. They need to treat others with respect. For instance, people should not smoke on the streets. People should stop using various sprays, perfumes, disinfectants, chemical cleaners, air fresheners, and glues. They are toxic and they poison the air. People should pay tribute to those who use bicycles as means of transportation or walk on foot. It is not only good for health, but it also reduces the number of cars, thus decreasing the traffic jams and pollution. Additionally, people need to save energy, to switch off the lights, try to reuse and recycle the items instead of throwing them away. Growing and selling the local crops and other food can reduce the amount of exports, thus decreasing the food travel for long distances and waste of energy. Speaking about the larger scales, people must learn how to get free sun and wind energy. In such a way, they can reduce the excessive, uneconomical energy consumption.
Frank Kelly, the director of the environmental research group at King's College London, considers that the government is responsible for controlling the pollution level. The government must move the power stations away from the big cities. The government must take urgent measures regarding the environmental pollution. It should accelerate economic development to make a real change towards the improving of the air quality. At first, it is necessary to track and monitor the air quality. It is not easy, as the problem of air pollution is great and very complicated. However, change should begin somewhere before it is too late. The government should consider various aspects of air pollution: physical, chemical, and technical sides. However, the social aspect is the most important one. Environmental protection agencies as well as government show that air pollution is a social issue. The air pollution policy is socially and politically constructed.
The global concern about the increasing number of natural disasters aroused the scientific community to sound the alarm. One of the necessary measures is analytical description of pollution: formation of the operational and effective models with quantitative predictive power. They shall provide the researchers with the realistic information regarding the consequences of the environmental problems and help to reduce their negative impact. Air pollution control can be also approached from various engineering disciplines: environmental, chemical, civil, and mechanical.
The state-of-the-art approaches to the air pollution contribute a lot to the solving this problem. The World Health Organization included the air pollution to the same class as ultraviolet radiation, tobacco smoke, and plutonium. What is similar between those hazard factors? All of them are carcinogens and they cause cancer. They damage the genome and disrupt the metabolic processes in the cells. However, even if people can stop smoking and avoid sunlight radiation, what can they do with the pollution? The innovative technologies can help humanity clean up the air. Nowadays and for future, it is very important to use innovative methods to reduce air pollution. China shows a vivid example of such innovative technologies.
The latest air purifiers can be one of the solutions. As it is difficult to clean the air outside, people should at least reduce the pollutants indoors. One negative thing with air purifiers is that they use power to work. Professor Shangguan Wenfeng recently introduced a new advanced type of the air purifier. It prevents creating the pollution. The newest air purifiers use filters to absorb the dangerous substances from the air. However, Wenfeng’s invention removes air pollutants using chemical methods. Another useful innovation is home pollution detectors. Monitoring and controlling pollution inside the house may be a standard procedure in the future. Birdi is a device similar in style to a traditional smoke detector. However, it also controls the air quality indoors. Birdi is the invention of Mark Belinsky. Electronic tree is a very interesting invention as well. This device uses a water filtration system to remove various bacteria as well as carbon dioxide from the air. There is one more useful technique that detects nitric oxide. This device can measure the absorption of a gas sample by opt acoustic spectroscopy. This technique can detect a concentration of 0.01 part per million of nitric oxide pollution in air samples.
Biofiltration is also one of the technologies invented to control the air pollution. With the help of this air purifier, the noxious gases and toxic inorganic compounds go through a biologically active material. This technology helps to filter the air and deprive it of the gases that contain biodegradable volatile organic compounds that are poisonous. This technology is popular in the Netherlands and Germany. This innovation has many advantages. It does not require significant costs as it uses biomaterials. What is more, it can filter almost ninety percent of toxic gases, organic, or inorganic compounds.
The greatest mortality rate through the air pollution falls on Asia, namely China. That is why the Chinese government actively combats this problem. Four Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, use the policies such as auctions and lotteries of limited licenses to decrease the number of cars. Solar and wind energy technologies are developing nowadays. The governments of many countries assist the people who wish to install the solar panels for their homes.
Concluding, the humankind has been searching for the profits and conveniences thus it has been destroying the natural habitat. Often unintentionally, humans become the hostages of their negligence. However, nowadays, people are only beginning to understand all the negative consequences of the environmental pollution. People join different international organizations and green parties. The government must take the important measures and support such organizations to prevent the global disaster. If people get access to the clean power, it will be beneficial for health of all humankind. They need to learn more about the consequences of the air pollution. The modern approaches to the problem of air pollution are essential. The social issue is the most important one. People need to be more aware of the problem to avoid a real catastrophe. The world needs more discussion, research, and observations. The people should pay tribute to those researchers, scientists, and engineers who work to develop innovative technologies to combat the air pollution. In this field, they have already achieved much to help the humanity.