Find out the causes, effects and solutions to air pollution, and how you can contribute to prevent, control and reduce it.
Air pollution is one of the biggest threats for the environment and affects everyone: humans, animals, crops, cities, forests, aquatic ecosystems...
What causes air pollution? What are the effects? And most importantly, what are the possible solutions to tackle it?
The Solar Impulse Label is granted to innovative solutions to air pollution that meet high standards of sustainability and profitability.
Each solution goes through a strict assessment process performed by independent experts.
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Air pollution can be defined as an alteration of air quality that can be characterized by measurements of chemical, biological or physical pollutants in the air. Therefore, air pollution means the undesirable presence of impurities or the abnormal rise in the proportion of some constituents of the atmosphere. It can be classified in 2 sections: visible and invisible air pollution.
this concerns the quality of ambient air within a radius of a few kilometers
pollution like acid rain, photochemical reactions and degradation of water quality at distances of a few kilometers to a thousand kilometers
depletion of the ozone layer and global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2)
Air pollution is caused by the presence in the atmosphere of toxic substances, mainly produced by human activities, even though sometimes it can result from natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions, dust storms and wildfires, also depleting the air quality.
Anthropogenic air pollution sources are:
It is impossible to describe the whole extent of potential and actual damage caused by all forms of air pollution. But here are the main consequences:
On the environment
Air pollution has a major impact on the process of plant evolution by preventing photosynthesis in many cases, with serious consequences for the purification of the air we breathe. It also contributes to the formation of acid rain, atmospheric precipitations in the form of rain, frost, snow or fog, which are released during the combustion of fossil fuels and transformed by contact with water steam in the atmosphere.
On top of that, air pollution is a major contributor to global warming and climate change. In fact, the abundance of carbon dioxide in the air is one of the causes of the greenhouse effect. Normally, the presence of greenhouse gases should be beneficial for the planet because they absorb the infra-red radiation produced by the surface of the earth. But the excessive concentration of these gases in the atmosphere is the cause of the recent climate change.
On human health
Our continual exposure to air pollutants is responsible for the deterioration of human health.
Air pollution is indeed a significant risk factor for human health conditions, causing allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as lung damage.
There are ways to prevent, control and eventually reduce air pollution:
1. Renewable fuel and clean energy production
The most basic solution for air pollution is to move away from fossil fuels, replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind and geothermal.
2. Energy conservation and efficiency
Producing clean energy is crucial. But equally important is to reduce our consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using more efficient devices.
3. Eco-friendly transportation
Shifting to electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles, and promoting shared mobility (i.e carpooling, and public transports) could reduce air pollution.
4. Green building
From planning to demolition, green building aims to create environmentally responsible and resource-efficient structures to reduce their carbon footprint.
In addition, monitoring air pollution levels has become very important to detect pollution peaks, better control air pollution and eventually improve air quality.
How is air quality measured?
With measuring devices using laser-based technologies, chemiluminescence, flame ionization, etc. These devices are, for instance, located close to the traffic, far from the traffic and close to industrial zones. All the collected data are compiled into a value scale, called the Air Quality Index (AQI).
A label focused on both the environment and profitability.
For the first time a label proves the economic profitability of solutions that protect the environment. The Solar Impulse Foundation is selecting 1,000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way and awarding them the Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions Label.
Collaborating with independent experts and with renowned institutions, the World Alliance proposes to evaluate its members solutions free of charge. The Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions label will offer a competitive edge to innovators and a guarantee of quality to solution seekers.
A label focused on both the environment and profitability.