Air Pollution Control: Does Your Action Matter?

air

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Margareta Evelyne Adriani, a fourth year medical student from Sebelas Maret University, Indonesia. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Everybody knows that air pollution is a serious threat happening that affects not only the climate but also our health. But, pollutant-emitting activities has been a big part of our life and a habit we can’t easily change. Changing trends to a more eco-friendly transportations and energy generations, preventing deforestation, and reducing industrial emissions sounds like a big thing we can’t do by our own. What can we do, as a citizen, and how significant our actions could be?

One of the air pollutant that affects our health, even in a very low concentration, is the particulate matters (PM). There are three categories of PM based on its diameter size, but let’s focus on the common fine PM with high damaging capability, PM2.5, particulate matters that has diameter of less than 2.5 μm. Compared to human hair’s diameter that has an average of  90 μm, PM2.5 is very small that it can penetrate into our lungs barrier and enter the blood system, eventually cause inflammation and lead to diseases.(1) The World Health Organization air quality guideline(2) stated that the highest level of PM2.5 concentration allowed is 10 μg/m3 annually and 25 μg/m3 daily. Based on WHO global health observatory data(3), PM2.5 concentration assessed in 194 countries by 2016 has an average of 24,84 μg/m3, with the lowest concentration at 5,7 μg/m3 and the highest at 94,3 μg/m3. Every 10 μg/m3 raise of PM2.5 concentration, increase the relative risk of stroke by 1%, heart failure (2.1%), diabetes (39%), atrial fibrillation (0,89%), and 1-3 mmHg blood pressure elevation.(1)

Two main source of PM2.5 emission that we can control as a citizen are emission from fossil fuel combustion for transportation and electricity power generator. Passenger cars in Europe consumed a mean of 0,07 kg/km petrol fuel, while heavy duty vehicles (HDV) such as buses consumed 0,5 kg/km compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel. PM emission in passenger cars has a mean of 0.03 g/kg fuel for petrol, while PM emission from HDV has a mean of 0.02 g/kg fuel for CNG. Therefore, passenger car emits 0,0021 g/km (2100 μg/km) and CNG bus emits 0,01 g/km (10.000 μg/km). With one bus can carry up to 70 passengers, pollutant emitted per person using bus is 142,85 μg/km and 525 μg/km per person in a passenger car filled with 4 people.(4)

65% electricity power source in the United States (US) are using fossil fuels and it also emitted PM2.5. The majority of power plants in the US have PM2.5 emission rates ranges in 0.00 to 0.10 kg/MW-h (0 to 100.000 μg/kW-h) for natural gas, oil, and coal fired plant. (5) An average household usage of electricity in the US are 539 to 1.289 kW-h per month.(6)  Therefore, 1 kilometer trip using public CNG bus and 1 kilowatt hour reduction of electricity usage can reduce PM up to 382,15 μg and PM2.5 up to 100.000 μg.

As everything else in life, there are things we can control and things we can’t. Our duty is to maximize things we can control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

  1. Rajagopalan S, Al-Kindi SG, Brook RD. (2018). Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 72(17), 2054–2070.
  2. (2018). Ambient (Outdoor) Air Pollution. World Health Organization.
  3. (2016). Global Health Observatory Data Repository. World Health Organization.
  4. Ntziachristos L, Samaras Z, Kouridis C, Samaras C, Hassel D, Mellios G, McCrae I, et al. (2019). EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook 2019. European Environment Agency.
  5. (2016). North American Power Plant Air Emissions. Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
  6. (2018). 2018 Average Monthly Bill Residential. US Energy Information Administration.

About the author

Margareta Evelyne Adriani is a fourth year medical student from Sebelas Maret University, Indonesia. She worked in CIMSA Indonesia, an affiliated NMO of International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). Formerly worked as Treasurer of the National Committee on Research Exchange (NCRE) CIMSA Indonesia and currently as Treasurer of CIMSA Indonesia. She has a keen interest in environmental and health issues and wanted to be apart of the change for a better environment.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

The Catcher in the Rice

Heat stress spike predicted to cost global economy $2,400 billion a year

Brexit and migration dominates the debate on October’s EU summit

Plans to keep EU budget funding in 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit

EU car manufacturers worry about an FTA with Japan

Brexit: EP Group leaders support a flexible extension until 31/1/20

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

Turkey needs to step up investment in renewables to curb emissions

In Afghanistan, attacks against schools have tripled in one year

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

Independent UN rights experts call for ‘immediate investigation’ into alleged Bezos phone hack by Saudi Arabia

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

4 things President Trump could learn from Jimmy Carter

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

North Sea fisheries: MEPs back EU plan to sustain stocks of demersal species

Six months into DR Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, top UN official praises ‘brave’ response effort

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Wednesday’s Daily brief: Day 3 of anti-hatred summit, UNFPA turns 50, Ben Stiller #WithRefugees, updates on Abyei

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

UN relief chief urges Security Council to back aid delivery, more funding for millions of Syrians hit by harsh weather

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres in Kenya, Prisoners sick in Iran, #GlobalGoals, Myanmar, Ukraine updates, and new space partnership

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

Millions of Bangladeshi children at risk from climate crisis, warns UNICEF

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Why income inequality is bad for the climate

OECD strengthens co-operation with Morocco – Renews Morocco Country Programme Agreement

How quantum computing could beat climate change

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

Have we reached peak smartphone?

Africa: Urgent action needed to mobilise domestic resources as tax revenues plateau

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

We can save our ocean in three steps – if we act now

4 bold new ways New York is going clean and green

Denmark plans ‘Silicon Valley’ on 9 artificial islands off Copenhagen

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

A win-win strategy for private equity deals

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

5 libraries doing innovative things to help their communities

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

Smart devices must come with trust already installed

Reusable packaging: 6 benefits beyond sustainability

Commission: Gifts of €6 billion and free trainees to ‘help’ poor employers

Air pollution could be responsible for 1 in 7 new cases of diabetes

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos

Community Manager – 1289

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

What makes a great CEO? The people they surround themselves with

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s