In the past century and a half, air quality around the world has grown less and less healthy. One prominent example is sulfur dioxide emissions, demonstrated by this chart, which spans more than 150 years. As more than 4 million people die every year due to ambient (outdoor) air pollution, it is clear poor air quality is tangibly influencing lives around the world. Today, air pollution is growing in developing regions while older countries are struggling to slow down themselves. This concern is more vital than ever. While air pollution is becoming an urgent issue for modernity, the technology that can help abate it is progressing at an even faster rate.
Here are some areas in which technology — new and old — are coming together to help solve this pressing problem.
In the past few decades, energy-efficient cars have hit mainstream culture. Cars that use fewer miles per gallon, and cars that run on renewable energy alone have become increasingly popular. A more recent development is that of the autonomous car. Autonomous cars are part of a movement spearheaded by Google and Uber, among other companies. You should be eager to see the exciting results of more research into this realm; more and more prototypes are being developed to reach the market! Furthermore, some studies have estimated that a shift to autonomous vehicles could improve fuel efficiency by 15% to 40%.
The integration of self-driving cars would not only contribute less local pollutants into the air but will also release fewer greenhouse gases compared to traditional cars. This positive change could radically transform air pollution in the United States; changing more of our focus on fixing existing air quality rather than contributing more to it.
It will be exciting to see how technology continues to shape the automotive industry. Driverless cars will begin to make an impact and we will continue to research, explore, and implement more eco-friendly energy sources into our transportation. Additionally, you can directly invest in this technology to help further the goal of environmentally-conscious automotive tech!
There are also many technological solutions that solely focused on purifying our air and air quality. For instance, the creation of “Smog Free Towers” and artificial trees have spearheaded new tech initiatives.
Smog Free Towers
Smog in urban environments has become more and more relevant, notable, and dangerous. In response to this urgent matter, a Dutch design company developed a “Smog Free Tower,” a tower that sucks in polluted air while ejecting clean, pure air. The extracted pollution is then turned into jewelry. The first tower, installed in Rotterdam, has been claimed to clean 3.5 million cubic meters of air each day.
Another great modern innovation is the artificial tree. These “supertrees” intake 200,000 cubic meters of polluted air each day, expelling only pure oxygen in exchange. This is done through the innovative and creative use of a water filtration system. Though they cost more than $100,000 currently, the prototype in Peru has shown exciting results. Assuming these results can be replicated, these supertrees will be a lifesaver to cities and populations around the world.
Home Air Pollution
Furthermore, the impact of individual actions on air pollution shouldn’t be underestimated. Just as the Smog Free Towers clean air on a city-wide level, you too can contribute to cleaning the air and promoting healthier air quality on a more local level.
By regularly replacing the air quality filters in your home, you can foster cleaner air in your house or apartment for all your family to enjoy. By installing eco-friendly, washable, and reusable air filters, you will save time, money, and the environment!
Home air purifiers have grown in popularity in recent years as well. These machines work to remove chemicals and odors, as well as airborne allergens like dust, from the air in your house or apartment. There are many different options that vary in efficacy, price, size, and appearance.
In conclusion, there are many wonderful technologies today that build upon older ones to better humanity’s relationship with air pollution. Though the road ahead to better air quality is long, innovations through the automotive industry and air purification initiatives should give us renewed hope in human ingenuity in the face of seemingly insurmountable issues.