As an increasing number of countries worldwide emerge from a strict pandemic lockdown, air pollution levels are predicted to skyrocket. There are, in fact, a number of cities across the world, including Los Angeles, Beijing, Cape Town and New York that have already noted a double-digit increase in their particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels. This is a great concern, considering that more than 4 million premature deaths can be attributed to pollution-related health concerns every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While there are many contributors to the world’s increasing air pollution concern, there are some sectors that are known to be bigger polluters than others. The construction industry and industrial manufacturing continue to be the two largest polluters, both actively contributing to the second-largest increase in air-borne contaminants in over 20 years.
Air Pollution Increases Amidst a ‘New Normal’
During June and July, New York City experienced a 33% increase in PM2.5 air pollution, according to a report by Forbes. Just months earlier during May and June when lockdown was at its strictest, PM2.5 levels dropped by as much as 59%. This decrease in air pollution was directly linked to a decrease in emissions generated by industrial activity. When the global industrial activity was paused due to the pandemic, air quality improved considerably. This even lead to a number of memorable moments, including the fact that, for the first time in 30 years, the Himalayas became visible from India. Air pollution levels increased significantly in six of the 15 countries that were analyzed by the World Air Quality Index.
Investing in Pollution Control Systems is Vital
Industrial sectors generate a range of airborne pollutants, including solid particulate matter (SPM), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As these pollutants have been linked to various serious health concerns, it is of the utmost importance that industries do everything in their power to prevent and minimize air pollution. Air pollution equipment such as scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators and oxidizers can be of great benefit. Not only will it decrease the number of pollutants released into the air, but it can also help conserve natural resources and limit the health threats posed by air pollution. In order for air pollution control equipment to function optimally, however, it is essential that it gets serviced at regular intervals. According to PolSys Services, regular maintenance and swift repairs are needed to reduce downtime, remain compliant with air permits, and reduce fuel costs.
Health Concerns Will Increase if no Action is Taken
Knowledge pertaining to the link between air pollution and human health has advanced a lot over the last decade. According to a study published in the Environmental Health Journal, exposure to industrial air pollution can result in decreased lung function. While air pollution has long been associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disease, it has recently been established that even short-term exposure to PM2.5 can be extremely dangerous. This is particularly true for individuals over the age of 65 with a predisposition to heart and lung disease. Other common health concerns associated with exposure to air pollution include eye infection, skin allergies, and cancer.
Industrial air pollution has been steadily increasing over the past few months. In order for the effects of this to be negated as far as possible, it is imperative that all operators within the industry do everything in their power to reduce their harmful emissions.
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