Air pollution will be the main focus of this year’s World Environment Day, organised by the United Nations, and taking place today – 5th June 2019.
First established in 1974, the annual day aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect everyone. This year’s subject matter is very topical for DCS Limited as our services actively reduce air pollution in industrial workplaces.
Fitting effective dust and fume extraction means that contaminated air is captured at source. This significantly reduces the potential for polluted air to escape into the environment and supports productivity by helping to protect workers from exposure to harmful airborne particles.
Air pollution has been high on the global agenda for many years now, but it is not a new problem – in fact, experts now know humans have been responsible for an increase in pollutants for at least 2,100 years.
By extracting layers of ice which have accumulated in Greenland over many millennia and analysing the methane trapped within them, scientists have been able to link increased levels with activity we know civilisations such as the Ancient Romans and the Han Dynasty in China were undertaking at the time.
Despite humans being aware of pollution for many decades (and having caused it for many more), our knowledge has grown exponentially over the last 50 years. So too have the efforts to reverse the trend by environmental groups, scientists, Governments and world leaders.
Air pollution is defined as a ‘mix of particles and gases that can reach harmful concentrations both inside and outside’ – excess pollution has an impact on the environment (including contributing to rising temperatures across the globe) and humans too: through diseases caused by poor air quality.
There are many different substances which class as air pollution when released into the atmosphere, including carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter (PM). PM can be divided into categories depending on the size of each individual particle: PM10 comprises of particles less than 10µm (microns) which can enter the lungs when inhaled, while PM2.5 can permeate the gas-exchange regions of the lungs and enter into the blood stream.
Since the 1970s, the majority of countries worldwide have seen a decline in exposure to PM2.5, at least partially thanks to stricter regulations. However, some countries including India, China and Greece have all seen an increase which may be attributed to the rapid rise in industrialisation over the last few years.
With climate change scientists advising that we have just 11 years left to try and reverse the effects of global warming before it is too late, there are many global campaigns to raise awareness of pollution levels and action that can be taken to reduce these levels. Breathe Life 2030 is one campaign which urges people to take action. According to Breathe Life, 20,711 deaths a year in the UK are attributed to air pollution, with PM2.5 levels 20% over the recommended safe level in Leeds.
Please contact our team to discuss how DCS Limited could help ensure your workplace is not responsible for releasing harmful dust and fume particles into the atmosphere.