Sources of air pollution include traffic, commercial buildings, manufacturers, and even residential areas. But it’s particularly rampant in large cities where there are millions of people creating smog that spreads into and across the atmosphere.
Whether you believe in climate change or not, air pollution alone clearly causes some negative health effects. Knowing the risks may broaden the spectrum of citizens who are willing to participate in fighting it.
This is vital, since many consumers don’t regard air pollution as their problem. They see it rather as a big business issue, and therefore they feel no duty to help.
If you’re at all inclined to dismiss air pollution as someone else’s problem, consider some of the negative health effects you should know about.
1. Lack of Exercise
Exercise is essential to your health, for both weight loss reasons and long-term health benefits. When air pollution becomes too heavy, though, regular outdoor exercise becomes overly challenging.
The air is thick and difficult to breathe, and people are less willing to spend time outside. Not everyone can afford a gym membership, so this is how air pollution contributes to the epidemic of obesity.
2. Respiratory Illnesses
Respiratory ailments such as asthma get aggravated by high carbon dioxide content in the air. Although air pollution has mostly improved across the nation since the 1990s, citizens who have respiratory illnesses are still counseled to move to a rural area where there’s less pollution, because pollutants irritate the condition.
3. Reduced Immunity
A direct result of air pollution, particularly for children with respiratory conditions, is the suppression of the immune system. In a study of 181 children with asthma in Fresno and Palo Alto, California, it was revealed that the particulates in the polluted air suppressed the T cells that regulate the child’s immune system.
As a result, it was more difficult for their bodies to manage illness. Also, it was found that pregnant mothers exposed to air pollution were more likely to give birth to children with a compromised immune system.
4. Increased Cancer Risk
The particulates in air pollution primarily consist of carcinogens. As you probably know, carcinogens are substances that encourage the development of cancer cells.
Though the majority of these carcinogens are benign, they can lead to an increased risk of cancer. Research has shown that lung cancer is a particularly hazardous risk because of the respiratory effects of air contamination.
5. Challenges to the Reproductive System
Though air effluents and reproductive health are not often linked, some cases of infertility have been directly attributed to prolonged exposure to smog. There have also been links to birth defects.
This research came out in the 1990s, before major measures to curtail air pollution had taken effect. Though birth defects are still found in urban areas today, they’re not as common as they once were. This is a strong indication, however, that as air pollution becomes worse, more birth defects are likely to result.
6. Potentially Poisoned Food Chain
Plants are directly connected to the air. When the air is diseased, it will damage the plants. When animals eat those plants, their flesh will become contaminate contaminated.
When humans eat the plants or the meat, the contents can make them sick. It’s a vicious though complicated cycle, and it can pose long-term effects for the human race.
7. Contaminated Water
Water can also be contaminated by pesticides, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants that build up in the air. Aside from poisoning the food chain, this process can directly poison human water supplies, and make people sick.
Air pollution is definitely not a problem of and for big businesses alone. It’s something that individuals must fight as well if we want to live a happier, healthier lifestyle … and have one to pass on to our children.
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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