Showing posts with label Pollution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pollution. Show all posts

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

Cigarette Butts - The lesser known Murderer

When we talk about smoking, we usually forget that what remains after smoking a cigarette is its smoke and cigarette butts. Cigarette Butts are used to filter the smoke and mostly considered as biodegradable. But the truth is that they contain some minor amounts of plastic, so it takes at least 18 months to breakdown. Even after such a long duration plastic particles remain in soil. Cigarette butts are toxic which can leach into soil and pollute the water as well. After reading this article your view about cigarette butts will definitely change and you will yourself call them murderers.

Facts about Cigarette Butts


  • 4.5 trillion filtered cigarettes are smoked everyday around the world, which means equal number of cigarette butts.
  • This amount of cigarette butts create 500,000 tons of pollution every year.
  • Cigarette butts are the number one item littering U.S. roads.
  • In 2005, 28% of visible litter in Texas was made up of cigarettes.
  • Cigarette Butts are toxic and have a huge impact on marine life. 30% of total litter along US shorelines are cigarette butts.
  • Breakdown of cigarette butts in fresh water takes 15 months, while in sea water it takes around 5 years.
  • Within one hour of contact with water, cigarette buds start leaching harmful toxic chemicals.
  • Cigarette buds are found in stomachs of fishes, birds, whales and other marine animals. It not just causes digestive problems, but sometimes death as well. 

Cigarette Butts and carelessness costs a lot

90,000 fire incidents are caused by careless throwing of cigarette butts. It results in 900 deaths and 2500 injuries every year. Out of the death toll, approximately 100 are children and nonsmokers. Such fires cost around $6 billion of property.

Still if a person thinks that he is only harming himself through smoking, not anybody else, then he is fooling himself and dragging the whole humanity into the litter of cigarette buds.

Cigarette contributing to Air Pollution more than automobiles

Whenever it comes to Air pollution we think about automobile exhaust and smoke coming out from chimneys in an industrial area. We never think about the smoke coming out of those humans who are are not only putting their health at risk but also others. When it comes to cigarette smoking, we usually think that its contribution to air pollution must be negligible compared to other well know sources, but it is just a lack of knowledge. Recently some researches but targeted on this particular subject and the results were surprising.

Italy's National Cancer Institute conducted a study by using a 2002 turbo diesel Ford Mondeo and "MS" filter cigarettes. They kept the vehicle in running condition in a garage for 30 minutes. The  the kept the garage ventilated for 4 hours and then then lit three cigarette one-after-another, which took three hours. As they compared the PM2.5 level, cigarette smoke created 10 times more PM2.5 than the 2002 model car. Today's newer models emit far less PM2.5, which means that it would be 100 times more than new cars. PM2.5 is a major pollutant in metro cities and now you know how much smokers are contributing in it. [1]

Usually we think that indoor air is cleaner than outdoor air, but if a smoker lives there then indoor air can be far worst than outdoor.

Some smokers speak against smoking bans by providing the fact that overall pollution through cigarettes is far less than any other source, but what they don't tell is the above fact which is visible through a test done in Beijing, where indoor air quality gets worse than outdoor through smoking. Actually the ban should be applied on indoor, which is making kids sick, but the truth is that such ban can't be implemented as no law can monitor what a person is doing indoor.

Around 15 billion filtered cigarettes are smoked every day. It will create as much PM2.5 which is created by 1 Billion Ford Mondeo running for 2 and half hours. In 2010 the number of vehicles in the the world crossed the 1 billion mark, which included cars, buses and trucks. Still if a smoker says that what harm is his little filtered cigarette doing, then it is just knowingly not understanding the facts.

I have seen smokers presenting facts against smoking bans and saying that they contribute a negligible amount in air pollution. After reading the above report, if a smoker can't quit, then at least he/she should not present cigarette smoking as something negligible. Smokers are putting everybody's health at risk, not just their own.

Most of the experts and governments refer to cigarette smoke only as a health hazard but never as air pollutant. Only due to health hazard of active and passive smoking some countries have banned smoking at public places, but what they are not considering is that air has got no boundaries and cigarette smoke is polluting our air more than we think. Apart from restrictions and heavy taxes on tobacco products, governments should educate the society, so that smokers quit and new generation never smokes.

Reference: 
[1] https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/tobaccocontrol/13/3/219.full.pdf

Can Air Pollution can cancel your Exercise benefits !

Exercise is good for your health but polluted air is not. Everybody know this fact, but what everybody don't know if it is OK to workout in a city with polluted air. Does polluted air cancel the benefits of exercise ? The answer to this question is really important because most of the health counselors advise to workout for at least 30 minutes daily, but if polluted air is cancelling the benefits the why should we do that.

Living in metropolitan city with traffic in streets is not an easy task, as the polluted air is always making you prone to serious health risks. You must have seen people walking, jogging, cycling and exercising in streets and parks. Even you may be one of them and must have started worrying now, if it is OK to exercise in such conditions. Don't worry ! The answer is that exercising still improves your health and reduces the risks of heart diseases. Exercise can reduce the ill effect of bad air, but there is noting better than clean air for your health.

Air Pollution should never be an excuse to skip your workout, especially if you are not already suffering from a medical condition. An asthmatic person should avoid exercising if air pollution stats are bad as it can trigger asthma attack. But a healthy person will still reap the benefits of exercise.

Some researches were done to know the effect of different types of physical activities on health of people living in metro cities with a reputation of bad air. The results of these studies are enough to clarify this issue.

  • According to a study, active commuting, walking or biking, can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack by 11 percent.
  • Normally 10% of first heart attack cases result in recurrent heart attack. But playing sports, gardening, biking and walking for four or more hours a week reduced that count to half. Moderate cycling have the best effect, which reduced the count of recurrent heart attack by 69%.

Living in a city with high air pollution increases the risk of first heart attack by 17% and recurrent heart attack by 39%. Overall bad effect of polluted air is always bad, but regular exercise can reduce that bad effect to some extent.

Some experts believe that exercising in polluted air can put your lungs at stress as they work harder with polluted air, while you were exercising.

Note: It is better to use a park with lots of trees to jogging or exercising purpose, instead of some road or street with traffic running on it.

Do plants remove PM2.5 and PM10 ?

We all know that plants purify air by removing the harmful gases and putting oxygen back into it. Even most powerful air purifiers can't do that. But do plants remove particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) from air. It is a topic of huge importance as most of the air pollution in metro cities is due to this particulate matter.

Do Plants remove Particulate Matter from Air?

Yes, plants do clean the Particulate Matter. However it is not clear if they can absorb and transform it into something useful. Stomata size of plants leaves don't allow absorption of PM2.5 and PM10 as they are larger in size, compared to gaseous molecules which are of the size of PM0.1 . But still plants can collect a lot of PM2.5 and PM10 on their leaves. According to a study some plants can reduce particulate matter by 50%. Particulate matter not only accumulate on plant leaves but also got stuck on the plant wax which increases air quality.

Facts about Air Purifying Plants

  • Spider plant is given an efficiency rating of 8.2 out of 10 by NASA.
  • Buildings with Money Plant, Mother-in-laws tongue and Areca Palm results in 32% less respiratory problems, 52% less eye irritation and 24% less headaches.
  • Air purified by plants can increase your memory retention by 20%.



Paharpur Business Center (PBC) in Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in world, is known for the mountain fresh air. It is because of the fact that it houses more than 1200 plants in a scientific way which allows it to keep the air flowing inside the premises. All types of air pollution are monitored here using automatic monitors which keeps telling the quality of indoor air vs outdoor air. It is the best example how air pollution can be controlled using plants. Areca palm, snake plant and money plants are the most used plants in this office complex. The medicinal air with good hygiene and lower fungal levels of the restaurant of this office makes it better than any hospital in India. According to Kamal Meattle ( CEO of PBC), even if a surgery is performed here, the chances of infection are less than any hospital. Productivity level of employees is better than any other office of Delhi as they face comparatively lesser health issues. PBC has given its services to US American Embassy School, Fench Embassy School in Delhi and 750 different homes in India to provide better quality air and a healthy life to their occupants.

Note: Plant trees outside and some garden plants inside your residential and office area. It will make the air clean and improve your health to a great extent.

Indoor Plants - The better Alternative of Air Purifier

Today educated people are more concerned about the indoor air, so that they can spend some quality time with their family in good quality air. Air purifiers cost a lot and also make irritating sounds sometimes. Due to these factors some people who are more inclined towards nature think about using indoor plants as an air purifier. But is it really possible for indoor plants to remove all pollutants from air ? Air pollution consists of all harmful gases present in the air that we breathe, but when it comes to air purification then it is more about particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) which is a major pollutant in metro cities and causing more health concerns.

Here our main motive is to know about the efficiency of indoor plants in removing air pollutants, and if they can act as a better alternative of air purifiers. But before we proceed, you must know that in reality air purifiers are an alternative of plants. We the humans have made air purifiers because we don't have enough plants in cities to keep the air clean.

How many pollutants of air can be removed by indoor plants?

We all known that plants consume carbon dioxide and generate oxygen (i.e. photosynthesis). Carbon Dioxide is just one pollutant that plants can remove from air. Ammonia, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Trichloroethylene, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Monoxide are some of the other harmful compounds that plants can remove from air. Truth about the pollutants mentioned above is that they come from home-building materials itself. So first we create a house that is itself a pollutant and then we put some plants inside it to keep the air clean (Such serious things make me laugh, whenever i write such articles).

Can we get rid of PM2.5 and PM10 using indoor plants ?

It is not sure if plants can consume particulate matter as a food, but they can capture particulate matter on their leaves. Some studies have shown that PM level decrease up to 50% if a house is surrounded by trees. Tree leaves even capture the metallic pollutants in the air. Spider plants are considered best to get rid of Particulate Matter (PM). Some of the particulate matter is trapped i its wax and some accumulate on their leaves. This accumulation is always more than what accumulates on plain surfaces of home, which means that spider plants accumulate more PM than what gravity pulls toward itself. Studies have shown that Spider Plant can decrease PM level by 35% (Reference). Even if we can't get rid of PM completely through indoor plants, the level can be easily dragged down which can make it breathable. We would suggest you to plant trees outside and keep some indoor plants to get an effective solution of particulate matter.

Do plants remove tobacco smoke from air ?

Tobacco smoke include toluene, formaldehyde, acetone and ammonia. Harmful gases can easily get absorbed by plants. Other harmful residues like some heavy metals, carcinogens, and even radioactive materials that are found in tobacco smoke may not get absorbed by plants but it can be trapped on leaves and soil up to some extent. But still we would never suggest you to smoke inside a house as it heavily increases the pollution level inside a house.

Which plants are best to clean indoor air?

The list of such plants is large. Most of them come from tropical forests which grow as small plants under the big trees and require lesser sunlight. Philodendron, spider plant, English ivy, peace lily, Chinese evergreen, bamboo palm, golden pothos, Boston fern, dwarf date palm, weeping fig and lady palm are some of the good plants that can keep the air clean and also provide a good look to your home.

Some Facts about Indoor Plants:

  • According to a NASA study done in 1989, an average sized indoor plant is sufficient to clean the air in a 100 sq. ft. room.
  • It is not just leaves that clean the air. Bacteria and fungi residing in the soil absorb pollutants and provide it as a food source to plant roots. So lower leaves of indoor plants should be cut to expose more soil.
  • Shape of leaves, size of leaves and waxes present on plant matters a lot to measure its ability to remove pollutants from air. All plants can't survive inside a house. So do a proper research before putting some plants inside your home.
  • No air purifier can remove as many gases from air as plants can do. If we make an air purifier to absorb some harmful gases then it would weigh in tonnes.
  • Air Pollution causes cancer and kills more people than any other disease on earth. According to WHO 4.3 million people are killed every year due to household air pollution. So plant trees and also keep some inside your house.

Indoor Plants vs Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can't get rid of harmful gases. They are only meant to remove tiny dust particles (or particulate matter) only up to some extent (not 100%). At most they can remove some bad odors using carbon filters, which makes them expensive. If you compare them with plants then plants always win, as they remove harmful gases and capture some particulate matter as well at very less cost. The expenses you need to make for am indoor plant just some water and a little care. Gardening is itself related to a better health, plus it can also give you better air to breathe. 

Note: Breathing is not optional, so think about yourself and the upcoming generations and plant trees to make the air clean. Reduce usage of those things which cause air pollution. 

Air Quality in Indian Cities (PM10, NO2 and SO2 in your City)


Air Quality and Air Pollution is one of the things that most of the Indian population should known about. But only a few percent educated population of metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore seems to be searching for that on internet. PM10, NO2 and SO2 are three major pollutants and Indian government is monitoring them from past few years (but still it is increasing).

Here you will get air pollution data of most of the Indian cities. Usually only residents of metropolitan cities search for air quality index of their city and the residents of lesser known big cities remain unaware of their their air quality. Our intention behind this page is to bring that information. You may know about some major air pollutants (PM10, NO2 and SO2) level in your city by using the form below. Give it a try.

Check Air Pollution in your City (India Only)





Air Quality Standards for PM10, NO2 and SO2 (Annual) in µg/m3

PM2.5PM10NO2SO2
Indian Standards40604050
WHO Standards10204020 / day

Note: The air quality data provided here might have changed now, but most probably it must have increased (instead of going low). It is due to less aware citizens, increasing industrialization, increasing population and lack of implementation of laws to save the environment.

Air Quality Trends in the US Cities


Here we have brought you the data about your air quality directly from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). You can check the the Air Quality in your city during past 16 years. We have tried our best to bring almost all US cities in this data. We have made it simple and user-friendly to extract the data of your choice. However the states shown in the list provided below are actually categorized according to Core-Based Statistical Area. We hope that you will find it easy and user friendly to access air pollution data of past 16 years.

Check Air Pollution Trends in your City










Reference:

  • https://www.epa.gov/air-trends/air-quality-cities-and-counties
  • https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-07/airqualitytrendsbycity2000-2016.xlsx