Why Air Quality Is Essential to Our Existence
We breathe in oxygen because our body relies on it to survive. The absence of good air quality is the beginning of air pollution.
Every year, health experts express their concern over the long-term implications of air pollution on human health — the economic impact of air pollution on health costs billions of dollars each year.
But air pollution from modern industries and transport machinery depletes our air quality. Global eco-critic societies are advocating the need for air quality assessment strategies. These strategies would address the reduction of significant air pollutants in our atmosphere. The end goal is to free our climate of pollutants and protect our environment and health.
Air pollution has adverse health effects on all life forms. Today, people are becoming more conscious of the risks of developing chronic diseases.
Patients with lung conditions, heart situations, and other breathing difficulties like asthma fall into this category, likewise, parents, caregivers, and healthcare experts whose duties are to care for air-pollution sensitive individuals.
Eco-activists and health advocates are also examples of individuals who are passionate about air quality. The release of air pollutants in the air may cause precipitation of acidic rain. Its showers are dangerous to plants and the environment. With awareness and government legislation, we can minimize air pollution.
The Current Status of Our Air Quality
When the local news reports a code red day for the weather and ozone, questions arise. "Who is at risk?" "Are we at risk?" "What do we do in this situation for the environment and health sake?"
The alert is a warning on air quality and it seeks to educate the public about the extent of pollution in the air. The advice, most times, is directed to vulnerable groups. Examples are those with delicate respiratory conditions, the elderly, and children. Everyone, however, should take precautions.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is used to monitor, measure, and report air quality daily. The insights inform people to stay away from emission zones. It also helps them make the right health decisions for the week.
The Air Quality Monitor detects air pollution in more than 1000 locations in the US. The reports are on four significant pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act. They include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone pollution, and sulfur dioxide. Although the major is four, another worthy of note is the nitrogen dioxide.
The AQI Monitor has its systems for measuring the toxic levels of the pollutants mentioned above. An AQI result below 100 signifies safe air quality. A number beyond 100 calls for drastic measures. Vulnerable groups may need to take precautions. Sometimes, more than one of the four pollutants may exceed the 100 benchmarks. Agencies notify all groups concerned for precautions. Any level hitting 300 can be very hazardous.
In this case, state and local authorities in cities with a population of over 350,000 will report their AQIs.
Top Pollutants of Air Quality
The significant pollutants raising concerns for public health are the nitrogen oxides (NOx), the particulate matter (PM), and the Ground-level ozone (O3) contaminants.
The particulate matter creates the most damaging effect on human health. The matter contains ultrafine compounds that can travel into the lungs and other delicate organs. According to the WHO, there is no safe concentration level for the particulate matter. The idea is to avoid it at all costs.
Nitrogen dioxides (NO2), on the other hand, cause respiratory diseases and clamp down on lung functions. NOx are also culpable in the acidification eutrophication. It's a principle causative agent of the ground-level ozone (O3) and the PM (Particulate Matter).
Too much O3 in the atmosphere can affect respiratory health, cause asthma and lung diseases. It also affects agriculture and other life forms. It's a significant agent in global warming.
Current Attempts at Boosting Air Quality
Government institutions are paying more attention to air pollution. Eco-activists have resorted to tree planting and environmental advocacy to contain pollution. These attempts to boost air quality don't exempt industries. With the increasing urge to consider cleaner energy forms, enterprises may gradually reduce their emissions.
Even now, the outcry from scientists and health experts are hard to ignore. Hence, efforts must be deliberate. Specific legislation like the Clean Air Act and the Odors and Common-Law Nuisance litigation demonstrate the role of public officeholders. They can use their offices to further conversations on the need for a clean atmosphere. The EPA is one of the commissions on emission. Through them, the U.S. can achieve sector-specific legislation on pollution across industries. The AQI, for example, can be used to create emission rules for pollution-prone sectors and industries. Examples are the transport sector and other manufacturing and oil exploration industries.
Playing Our Part: What We Can Do
We, along with the government, can play our parts to attain safe air quality. Clean energy options can be the trend for transportation industries and domestics. International communities are beginning to think about sustainability, even in the use of energy. With WHO guidelines, nations strengthen their standards on environmental health.
Although these moves are great, total compliance may take time. Hence, while we try to minimize air pollution, let's also be informed. We all can learn to measure air quality and be prepared. There are apps and online solutions to measure air quality.
Remember, we don't have to be vulnerable or have respiratory issues to stay informed on air quality. The cleaner our atmosphere, the better and safer we are from the risks of chronic diseases and lung problems. Empower yourself and loved ones with the right information. Choose from our Best Apps for Air Quality Alerts.
Air Quality | AirVisual
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