Airports Polluting the Air too much

If you are a smoker then you must have visited the smoking zones at airports as airports have got a reputation as no-smoking zones around the world. We usually think that such places have really very low air pollution due to such rules, but the truth is just opposite. The amount of air pollution caused by takeoff and landing of airplanes cause a lot of air pollution. Even if the terminals are kept closed as air purifiers are used there, the people working outside and those living nearby face a lot of air pollution. The amount of air pollution faced near airports is worth giving a look.

According to a 2012 data, 87000 flights occur in a day in US. According to an EPA study, 747 landing and takeoff at an airport emits:
  • 31.55 pounds (14,300,000 milligrams) of carbon monoxide
  • 115 pounds (52,210,000 milligrams) of nitrogen oxide.
This amount is equivalent to carbon monoxide emitted by 357,000 cigarettes and nitrogen oxide emitted by 17,000,000 cigarettes. All these remain in large amounts near airports and also sucked into the pleasant smoke free airport lounge. The only difference is the nicotine found in cigarettes, so the harmful air don't do the perfect job for smokers, else they don't need to smoke near airports and often build their house near airports.

The harmful gases found near airports in not only sucked by lungs of passengers but also the family and friends who come to drop or receive a passenger.

Some facts about air pollution caused by airports

  • Airports are the largest source of air pollution in United States.
  • Largest source of Carbon Monoxide in air of California State is Los Angeles International Airport.
  • The amount of time spent by an airplane between gate and runway increased by 23% between 1995 and 2007, which means more than one million hours are spent running idle by airplanes. It pollutes the air of nearby areas very much.
  • Respiratory and heart related hospital admissions has increased in area adjacent to California airports, especially those who face downwind from airport.
  • 6 million people living in 10km radius of California airports are affected due to such air pollution. Most of the affected people are kids or senior citizens.
  • According to the study, this pollution costs the people living within 10 km radius of California airports around $1 million per day in hospitalization.
An aircraft jet engines produces following pollutants in various phases of landing and takeoff.

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 )
  • Nnitrogen Oxides (NO x )
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Oxides of Sulphur (SO x )
  • Unburned or partially combusted hydrocarbons
  • Particulates (PM10, PM2.5)
  • Other trace compounds

We often see pollution regulations of cars running on roads, but never worry about pollution caused by airplanes. Media and governments don't let us see above cars on road, jungle fires and cigarette smoking bans. Our own awareness is necessary for governments to work on this issue.

Reference:
[1] http://www.nber.org/digest/may12/w17684.html
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