Monitoring Air Quality for a More Sustainable Future | 2nd Green Revolution

Monitoring Air Quality for a More Sustainable Future

Air Pollution

News out of Beijing recently that the air quality has reached, and I quote, “Crazy Bad” levels serves as a warning that monitoring particulate matter is key to both environmental and public health. The 755 reading, on a scale of 0 to 500, outstrips the 522 reached a few years back on the United States’ pollution monitor at the embassy in Beijing.

In western countries, air quality has steadily improved as legislation including the Clean Air Act aims to prevent pollution and the concomitant health concerns that inevitably follow. In order to ensure healthy levels, as determined by the World Health Organization, the group that devised the 0 to 500 scale which proved incapable of measuring the Beijing pollution, air quality monitoring is an essential step toward realizing the goal of healthy air for all.

With the cost of healthcare still on the rise, albeit more slowly than in the previous decade, air quality may become one of the touchstones of a healthier society. Improving air quality will be essential to keeping healthcare costs down, making this a prime example of triple bottom line thinking.

Whether lobbying from industry prevents stricter regulations or businesses can step ahead of the curve and lead the way remains to be seen. What is clear though, is that the high levels of pollution found in rapidly industrializing countries,  much like England in the 18th and 19th centuries, have a profoundly negative impact on quality of life due to increases in respiratory illnesses and degraded outdoor opportunities.

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