Air Pollution Pandemic
The world is facing a pandemic crisis far exceeding Covid19, in number of deaths, as well as vast costs to our economy.
Air pollution kills millions of people every year. It's cutting life expectancy on a scale greater than diseases, wars and other forms of violence. Researchers say the world faces an air pollution ‘pandemic’. It's one of the leading causes of harm to human health affecting the physical, mental and psychological well being. It is also greatly exacerbating global warming, which will indirectly kill millions more.
Unlike Covid-19, air pollutions deaths and other impact is less visible, and less immediate. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg famously said: A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.
Apart from forward thinking Sweden, most governments made a conscious choice in 2020 to shut down the global economy. Undoubtedly this saved many lives, but at an onerous cost. The USA will pay $10 trillion in Covid-19 stimulus payments alone - solely related to economic shut down. If such eye watering payments and government policy was directed at reducing air pollution, vastly more lives could be saved. Covid-19 predominantly affects older people with health complaints, such as age care homes. Air pollution kills the young and middle aged too.
Transport is one of the largest contributors to air pollution according to the World Health Organisation. Traffic congestion is a massive contributor to this pollution, and there is a simple and almost universally accepted view by city planners - that congestion can be greatly reduced by congestion pricing. Which is easy to explain, but technically difficult to implement.
Neomatrix is focused on developing technology to specifically enable effective dynamic road pricing, redefining how vehicles are monitored for this purpose, and how privacy is managed.
Knowing hidden costs of avoidable air pollution, we can better allocate resources and policy.
Children give uncomfortably enlightening answers about choices over who dies. When interviewed for kids' podcast Short & Curly, children said the most important thing was to save the largest number of people possible. I.e. Not save those now at the expense of more elsewhere.
Who knew avoidable air pollution causes more harm than Covid-19! Air pollution links below.
Air pollution is linked to more severe COVID-19 cases and death, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, dementia, psychosis, diabetes, brain tumors, learning challenges, childhood death, mental fog, renal failure/kidney disease, fetal development problems, lower sperm quality, more bone loss and bone fracture risk, etc., etc.).
Air pollution kills crops
India is one of the largest global producers of rice, wheat, and cotton. A new study in Geophysical Research Letters found that, in one year, damage from ozone pollution – the main component of smog – cost the country millions of tons of crops, worth more than $1 billion. news.agu.org/press-release/ozone-pollution-in-india-kills-enough-crops-to-feed-94-million-in-poverty
Air Pollution Reduces Solar Power
Covid-19 Economic shutdowns result in extremely clear skies, with no air pollution. This enables solar panels to operate so much more efficiently, it even causes problems. This is a stark reminder of the hidden costs in air pollution, being reduced solar production usually.
cleantechnica.com/2020/04/22/clear-skies-over-germany-lead-to-record-amount-of-solar-energy/ & time.com/5824644/germany-coronavirus-solar/
Air Pollution Kills Bees
Bees are critical as pollinators, needed to ensure we can grow food to eat. Air pollution is increasingly and worryingly linked to harming bees ability to pollinate our global food crops. The growing threat to global food security is cause for some alarm, and already has massive economic impact due to reduced crop yields resulting from (largely avoidable) pollution humans are causing.
The report of World Health Organization revealed that an estimated 7 million people die prematurely each year as a result of air pollution, which is 1 in 8 global deaths.
The economic cost of air pollution is $5 trillion per year. Studies in USA show transportation is responsible for 26% of greenhouse gas emissions.cleantechnica.com/2017/08/11/investigating-air-pollution-crisis
In USA alone, 200,000 premature deaths per annum are due to air pollution. Air pollution from road transport cost OECD countries approximately 1 trillion a year.
With the introduction of clean air act, USA saved 370,000 premature deaths, had 189,000 less hospital admission for cardiac / respiratory illness, and net economic benefit of $3.8 trillion.
The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) converts air pollution concentrations into their impact on life expectancy. The public and policymakers can then determine benefits of air pollution policies in a most important measure: longer lives. aqli.epic.uchicago.edu
Even indoor air pollution kills lives: vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/5/7/21247602/gas-stove-cooking-indoor-air-pollution-health-risks
Air Pollution Retards Brain Development
American Psychological Association reports startling connections between air pollution and decreased cognition and well-being. Michigan public schools located in areas with the highest industrial pollution levels had the lowest attendance rates and the greatest percentage of students who failed to meet state testing standards, even after controlling for socioeconomic differences and other confounding factors apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/smog
Air Pollution Causes Depression
MohanKumar found air pollutants, specifically particulate matter, induce inflammation and oxidative stress in brains that lead to depression.2 Vert et al found that the rate of depression was 2 times higher for each 10 μg/m3 increase in nitric oxide level.8 Szyszkowicz reported a 7.2% increase in the risk of emergency department visits for depressive episodes with every 19.4 μg/m3 of PM10 concentration.3
These findings have important implications because most of the world's population resides in areas where particulate matter concentrations are greater than the WHO guidelines,1 and the association between air pollution and depression cannot be ignored. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6447209