Air pollution is on the rise, meaning we should expect more deaths and environmental consequences. A recently conducted study has revealed that over 3000 cities around the world recorded an 8% increase in pollution between 2008 and 2013. The findings cited that conditions are worse in low and middle-income regions where 98% of the cities don’t meet the WHO standards on air quality. In wealthier cities, the percentage is lower to 56%.
In the past two years, the cities included in the database have increased to over 3000 cities in 103 countries. The number is nearly double from 2008s cities meaning more regions are becoming aware of the ever-raising air pollution levels and the associated health impacts.
Research has shown that tiny particles of nitrogen oxide, sulfur, black carbon and other pollutants contribute to the death of more than three million people each year around the globe. Air pollution is currently a bigger killer than malaria or HIV/AIDS.
With the ever-evolving technology, science has shown that it is possible to remove this polluted air. For many, they would advocate for a removal of this air, but the underlying fact is that this would worsen global warming which would result in severe environmental impacts.
Toxic particles especially those with silver lining help the planet cool. This is true for sulfur compounds commonly emitted from coal-fired power plant. They reflect sunlight back into space preventing it from reaching the Earth’s surface. Soot particles provide a bit of shade, absorb sunlight and heats up the atmosphere at higher altitudes, between 2 to 6 kilometers above the sea level. The unfortunate factor about this is that most of the world’s continental glaciers reside in the higher altitude. overally, the cooling effect of these particles is colossal.
The most viable option that humans have in reducing industrial smokestack emissions is by increasing the use of renewable power sources the likes of wind and solar. Governments’ organizations, and individual people should prioritize rapid transit including cycling and walking among other.
Featured image: londonist