Why Air Quality Should Matter…

Most of us have a vague idea of why pollution is a negative thing. We read occasional reports in the news about the effects of cO2 on climate change, or skim articles about the effects of pollutants on public health. And then, most of the time we forget about them. To many of us, air quality is an abstract concept – but it shouldn’t be.  

Air Quality

Here’s Why It Should Matter…

According to the GOV.UK website, “poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK”. Studies have shown that exposure to poor quality air:

  • Reduces life expectancy.
  • Increases risk of heart disease and respiratory diseases like lung cancer.
  • Increases risk of asthma and poor lung function.
  • Can be linked to dementia and reduced cognitive function.

Overall, air pollution reduces lifespan by two years globally. On an individual level, this is a tragedy – especially with the elderly and children being listed as among the most vulnerable groups. Nobody wants themselves or a loved one to be affected by a serious health condition that could have been preventable.

On a societal level, it’s a disaster. Air pollution highlights inequality – those most affected will disproportionately be the socioeconomically disadvantaged. For example, in London, of the 400 schools located in areas that exceed limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution – around 80% of these are in deprived areas. In the worst-case scenario, the combined health and social care costs could reach £5.3 billion according to Public Health England.

Despite all of this, the UK is very lucky. Here, we have had legislation to promote the improvement of air quality since 1960. If we’re experiencing such detrimental side effects of air pollution, what about those in other countries? According to the UN:

  • 9 out of 10 urban residents in 2016 were breathing polluted air.
  • Air quality worsened by 50% for over half of the world’s population.
  • 90% of air pollution related deaths occur in middle to low income countries.
  • Areas most affected are central and south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The air pollution legislation that we have in UK is seen to be so ineffective that the government has actually been sued three times. And yet lower income countries are so much worse off than us? Collectively, we need to be doing more.

Air quality affects everyone – so what can we do?

We all feel a responsibility to do what we can for our communities. However, with a topic as complex as air pollution, it can be difficult to know how. In this report by the Royal College of Physicians, several strategies for tackling the problem are outlined. One of these is the effective monitoring of air pollution levels, which here at Pulse Systems we have a solution for.

Our sensors monitor the level of pollution in the air, and provide data to enable you to react to the levels of pollution near you

For instance, together with our partners at Butterfly http://www.butterfly-air.com/ , we have created a unique sensor solution which has the capability of measuring the following:

Inside your building, it can measure: – Particulate Matter PM1, PM2.5, PM10, CO2, O3, VOC and Formaldehyde H2CO.

We also have an external sensor solution for outside your building, giving insight into outdoor air quality and linking this with your buildings air handling units. This device can measure:- Particulate Matter PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NOx, SOx, O3 and more.

In addition, both sensors measure:- pressure, humidity, temperature, light Level and noise which can help lead towards WELL building accreditation.

A device like this (which is easily integrated into existing Building Management Systems) enables its user to see and react to the quality of the air both in the office and out of it.