WHAT PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUTDOOR AIR QUALITY
This article discusses the importance of outdoor air quality for any community and its people. By explaining the potential effects of poor outdoor quality, the article also conveys why it is necessary to the measures in achieving sustainable outdoor air.
Although a significant chunk of a person's time is spent indoors, many of us by choice or necessity spend a large part of our lives outdoors. For commuting to work, exercising, or simply having fun, the quality of the air we breathe is closely linked to the quality of life that can be enjoyed. Unfortunately, outdoor air quality in many parts of the world is declining. Exposure to outdoor air pollutants is not only linked to numerous health problems but also to environmental effects such as acidic deposition and smog. Ensuring the quality of outdoor air is of paramount concern to any community. Indeed, ensuring access to good air is now high on the agenda of many governments and communities across the world. The ambient pollutant concentrations should not be more than the standard set by the WHO, EPA and other environmental regulation agencies. Once the amount of a specific pollutant reaches the threshold, the concentration is deemed unsafe for public health. In addition, adverse economic and social consequences are attributed to poor outdoor air quality. With what's at stake, outdoor air quality should be taken seriously by any community or governing body. Outdoor air pollutants come from a wide variety of sources, both natural and athropogenic types. Since natural sources are beyond anybody's control, communities should devote their time and resources to combat the anthropogenic factors. Transportation emissions, industrial emissions and by-products of waste treatment are just some of the most common and prevalent anthropogenic sources of outdoor air pollutants. There are different types of air pollutants. One of the most common agents of air pollution is carbon monoxide, a result of incomplete and improper burning of fossil fuels. Automobile emissions are a major source of carbon monoxide, linked to health and environmental problems including cognitive impairment and asphyxiation, and increased smog formation. Sulfur dioxide is another common pollutant. Often emitted by coal-burning fossil fuels, sulfur dioxide, even at low concentrations, causes impairment of respiratory processes, as well as plant and water damage from acid rain. Combustion processes, such as those involved in power generation, should also be checked and monitored, as they can trigger the formation of
nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Respiratory problems and deterioration of water quality are just two of the major health and environmental consequences that could be brought about by nitrogen dioxide.
Any community should place the people's welfare on top of its priority list. Certain measures and initiatives should be put in place to promote people's quality of life. Investing in air pollution systems and ambient pollution monitors may require substantial monetary investment. However, this investment cannot compare to the worth of people's lives and safety.