Longleat Safari Park installs air-cleaning technology on its Safari Buses as extra protection for visitors
Longleat Safari Park has installed almost 200 air-cleaning devices on its Safari Buses to protect visitors from COVID-19, as the site fully reopens to the public this week (17 May).
One of the UK’s most iconic family attractions, Longleat has installed 63 AirLabs AirBubbl devices in each of its three double-decker buses – one on the back of every seat – as an extra protective measure for passengers.
The installation enables Longleat to operate the popular buses for the first time since the first lockdown in March 2020, as each AirBubbl removes 95% of airborne pollutants and pathogens, including coronavirus, and provides 30,000 litres of clean air per hour to keep visitors safe from airborne threats.
Scott Ashman, operations manager, at Longleat Safari Park, said: “We are excited to welcome visitors back on board our Safari Buses this week, as we fully reopen following the winter lockdown.
“The safety of our visitors is always our number one priority, so we have installed the AirBubbl air-cleaning devices as an additional measure to enable our passengers to safely and confidently get back on board our iconic buses.”
The buses run up to six times per day, with a full safari taking up to three hours. They will initially operate at half capacity (40), with passengers also asked to wear masks as an additional precaution.
The bus gives visitors the opportunity to go around the Safari drive-through via a bus instead of their own vehicles to see giraffe, zebra, rhino, tigers, lions and the infamous monkey drive-through.
Longleat has put in place a number of measures to protect visitors as the site reopens, including reducing capacity to allow for social distancing, mandating mask-wearing indoors, and introducing a new cleaning regime.
The AirBubbl is an extremely easy to install and cost-effective solution that is being deployed in public transport and a range of other settings around the globe to restore confidence in passenger safety as countries emerge from the pandemic.
Marc Ottolini, CEO of AirLabs, said: “The tourism and hospitality sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis, so it is fantastic to see a world-renowned attraction like Longleat take this step to protect visitors as they fully reopen this week.
“Our AirBubbl technology will help transport operators and attractions to restore confidence in public transport, by prioritising passenger safety as UK tourism comes back online and lockdowns lift.”
The AirBubbl removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the vehicle with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour, creating a constant clean air zone for the driver and passengers to keep them safe. The AirBubbl is equally effective at removing air pollution, including harmful ozone gases, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particle air pollutants PM2.5 and PM10, playing a vital role in protecting drivers and passengers long after the pandemic has passed.
Aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2
Coronaviruses such as the one that causes COVID-19 are spread via respiratory droplets produced by infected persons when they cough, sneeze, talk or breathe. While larger droplets quickly fall out of the air, smaller droplets persist as aerosols. Smaller aerosol particles are of concern because they may stay in the air for longer, travel further and be able to penetrate further into the respiratory tract when inhaled.
The WHO advises that the virus is spread:
The Lancet has reported that airborne transmission is “the most likely route” for the transmission of the disease.
AirLabs has published a white paper on reducing exposure to airborne viruses using air filtration systems. It sets out the evidence behind airborne virus transmission and how air filtration can effectively remove bioaerosol particles.
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Max Boon, Greenhouse PR: firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 7765 325141.
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AirLabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. More than 90% of the world’s population is exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution and AirLabs’ mission is to deliver measuring, monitoring and cleaning solutions that provide valuable insight, enable action and clean polluted air to make it safe for people to breathe.
Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting-edge and scientifically proven solutions for use by governments, businesses and individuals to tackle the growing problem of urban air pollution.
The AirBubbl in-car air cleaner contains patented filtration and air-flow technology that effectively removes particulates such as dust, pollen, soot, fibres, PM2.5 and PM10, along with bacteria and viruses and gaseous pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
AirLabs is headquartered in London and has its R&D labs in Copenhagen. www.airlabs.com
About Longleat Safari Park
Set within 900 acres of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped grounds, Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and one of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public.
Home to the Marquesses of Bath since the 1600s, Longleat has been welcoming visitors for more than 400 years. The Wiltshire estate was the first to open its doors to the public back in 1949 and totally re-defined the world of tourism in 1966 when it launched the only drive-through safari park outside of Africa.
The drive-through safari is home to exotic animals from around the world including giraffes, tigers, cheetahs, mischievous monkeys and majestic lions.
Today it is one of the UK’s most iconic and popular family attractions, annually attracting around a million visitors with its unique mix of magical wildlife encounters, rich history, astonishing family experiences and year-round programme of immersive events and festivals.
One of the defining images from the past year was the sight of the world’s great cities standing empty, as people around the globe were ordered to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The desertion of our cities led to a striking reduction in air pollution, with the Centre for Cities reporting a 60 per cent drop during the first lockdown in some areas of the UK and reports of 150 fewer air pollution-related deaths in Spain in the same period.
The physical impacts of air pollution are well reported – it’s now considered to be the world’s largest environmental health threat, accounting for almost nine million deaths every year and reducing life expectancy by an average of 2.9 years for people across the globe.
But the impact on mental health is often overlooked. A recent study in London found that increases in the key air pollutants – PM2.5, NOx and NO2 – are associated with up to 39% increased odds of common mental disorders.
As lockdown restrictions ease and our cities begin to come back to life, governments around the world must take action now to tackle the air pollution crisis and protect our physical and mental health.
An increasing threat
Air pollution levels have slowly crept up since the first lockdown and there is real concern that they may continue to increase beyond pre-pandemic levels. This is largely due to people using their cars more frequently because of a reluctance to return to public transport. YouGov research revealed that 60% of people in Brazil would use their car more following the pandemic and 40% of respondents in the US and Australia also said they expected to drive more.
This is a concerning trend and should be tackled as a matter of urgency. We must make public transport the quickest, cheapest and safest way to travel around our urban spaces or the rapid, dramatic drop in ridership will become permanent.
During the pandemic, urban spaces have opened up and become pedestrianised to enable cafes, bars and restaurants to serve customers outside. We should aim to lock in these changes to remove cars from our towns and cities longer term.
But we can and must do more. In the UK, we learnt in this week’s Queen’s Speech that the Environment Bill will return after months of delays caused by the pandemic, and is set to include a framework for tackling air pollution. That framework has to set legal limits on air pollution and funding must be made available to our towns, cities and public transport operators to make long-lasting change to tackle the issue.
Sleepwalking into a mental health crisis
The pandemic has placed real strain on the mental health of people around the world, who have had to adjust to living in increased isolation under lockdown.
A Swiss study found that many young adults, and young women in particular, experienced symptoms of mental illness during the first lockdown. More than half of young women and 38% of young men reported mild to severe symptoms of depression. The results relating to anxiety were similar.
A study co-led by City, University of London and UCL researchers found that those with pre-existing mental health conditions were especially impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns, due to the loss of normal coping routines, barriers to accessing care, and the unequal impacts of the pandemic.
With air pollution expected to increase in urban spaces and a fragile public returning to our cities, there is potential for us to sleepwalk into a post-pandemic mental health crisis.
So what can be done by politicians to tackle this combined threat?
Tackling urban air pollution
Along with pedestrianizing our cities and introducing legal limits on air pollution, there are a host of other measures that could protect bodies and minds.
The first and most important step is to act smarter in how we monitor air pollution in urban spaces.
Currently most cities install a limited number of monitoring stations in a few areas where air quality is expected to be a problem. While this setup can indicate air conditions in a city, crucially, it lacks the ability to pick up on localised and/or short-lived pollution hotspots.
This is a profound issue as air pollution is extremely dynamic, fluctuating significantly in time as well as location. For example, Imperial College London’s regular pollution monitoring shows that air quality can be four times worse in some streets than others, even within the same district.
Well-intentioned local authorities rightly want to improve the air quality in their urban spaces. But their limited data only offers a tiny fragment of the picture necessary to make informed and impactful decisions – meaning significant sums of public money can be spent without addressing the issue.
This has to change, and it will only change by using monitoring technology that gives decision makers a full and detailed picture of the air pollution problem in their cities.
By creating a dense, high-resolution network of air-monitoring sensors and a visualisation and analytics software platform such as our AirIntel system, local authorities, health groups, businesses and communities will be able to assess air pollution data across an entire city.
The real-time data enables us to build an accurate and useful picture of exposure – creating a detailed map that can be used to gain a full understanding of pollution hotspots and provide real insight into which mitigations will have the most impact and best protect the public. It can provide information for health researchers or can be shared with the public to advise on the healthiest route for them to commute, or even where to live and work to reduce their exposure to air pollution.
Another solution, which can help to reduce the cars on our roads by encouraging people back into public transport, is the AirBubbl, our in-vehicle air-cleaning device, which removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter, including airborne coronavirus. The AirBubbl floods the vehicle with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour, creating and replenishing a clean air zone for the driver and passengers to keep them safe.
Rethinking our cities following COVID-19
Mental Health Awareness Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on a challenging year for all of us, but also to think about the society we want to create after the pandemic.
In much of the western world, we are on the verge of tackling the invisible threat of COVID-19, but we must act now to mitigate the long-term mental health impacts of the virus.
To do that we must reshape our cities and place health and wellbeing at their heart: by pedestrianizing public spaces, reducing traffic congestion, investing in public transport, and tackling the air pollution crisis before it’s too late.
Written by Matthew Johnson, chief science officer at AirLabs and professor of chemistry at the University of Copenhagen.
When Coronavirus struck at the beginning of 2020, Floris faced one of the greatest challenges in its almost 300-year history. The perfumer, which supplies fragrances to the British royal family and celebrities including Michael Caine and Liv Tyler, was forced to close the doors of its famous West-End store and move most of its sales online.
For a business which relies so much on the senses, this was a considerable setback, explains Edward Bodenham, Director and descendant of the founder Juan Floris. “Other organisations can continue to run when staff are working remotely, but you can’t develop and experience fragrances on a video call. We need our people in the office so that they work on new perfumes in person.”
One of Floris’s most famous customers was the nurse, Florence Nightingale, who made an early connection between ventilation and health in hospital wards. Nearly 160 years later, Bodenham had to solve a similar problem. Most of Floris’s seven employees work in an office beneath the showroom where opportunities to circulate fresh air are limited. “Understandably our staff are concerned about the transmission of Coronavirus when they are in the office,” he says. “We want them to feel completely safe when they come back to work.”
“We know exactly how fragrances and the atmosphere in a room can make people feel more positive and confident. That’s exactly what we’ve noticed since we installed the AirHavn Pro. People are happy to be back in the office, they’re upbeat and they feel like they can concentrate more easily” Edward Bodenham, Director, Floris
Protecting staff, safeguarding the business
With staff well-being at the front of his mind, Bodenham began exploring ways of protecting employees from Coronavirus. Following UK government guidelines, his team put in place social distancing protocols, installed disinfectant hand gel, and provided face masks for employees and visitors.
While these measures are effective against transmission via surfaces and large airborne droplets, they don’t prevent airborne transmission via small droplets, also known as aerosols. These persist in the air for longer and also travel further. “We discovered some filtration and ventilation devices that remove airborne viruses, but most of them were too expensive and bulky for our office. It was only when we spoke to AirLabs that we found a device that matched our requirements,” he says.
Bodenham and his team ordered two AirHavn Pro devices from AirLabs. Compact and portable, each unit combines advanced particle and gas filters that remove more than 95% of airborne viruses and and allergens. Initially Bodenham was surprised by the size of the units. “It was only when we switched it on that we realized how much power is packed into each device, and how much clean air it can pump into the room. They are also remarkably quiet.”
Smart design for a safer workspace
Setting up the devices was also easy. “We were able to tuck them out of the way, without having to move furniture or reconfigure the space. We have quite a large open plan office, but within minutes we could feel fresh air reaching every corner of the room.”
“We have quite a large open plan office, but within minutes we could feel fresh air reaching every corner of the room”
Edward Bodenham, Director, Floris
For a business that relies very much on its sense of smell, staff were bound to be sensitive to any change in the office environment and air circulation. But they were equally positive. Many have commented on the fresh and clean atmosphere in the office, while others have said that they feel more confident and relaxed knowing that Floris has taken every step to protect them from Coronavirus.
“As one of the UK’s oldest perfumers, we know exactly how fragrances and the atmosphere in a room can make people feel more positive and confident. That’s exactly what we’ve noticed since we installed the AirHavn Pro. People are happy to be back in the office, they’re upbeat and they feel like they can concentrate more easily,” says Bodenham.
Floris has an illustrious past, counting Winston Churchill, Marilyn Munroe and Ian Fleming amongst its most famous customers. Bodenham is now looking to the future with confidence. “Being able to prevent the airborne spread of Coronavirus is only one advantage. We also hope to reduce staff absences during flu and allergy seasons. Installing the AirHavn Pro has been a breath of fresh air, in every sense of the words.”
Read more about the AirHavn Pro
What will your office look like after lockdown? That’s a question that Andrew Moss, General Manager of brand and communications agency Horizon has already answered. By putting in place a range of safety protocols, including the latest air filtration technology, he succeeded in keeping his brand and communications agency up and running during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The well-being of our employees always comes first,” says Moss. “Wherever possible we helped staff to work from home. But there are some roles in a creative business that require people to meet in person and collaborate on projects.”
Horizon designs high-end point-of-sale displays for clients that include Motorola, Sennheiser and TomTom. “We help bring global brands to the attention of bricks and mortar consumers,” says Moss. “Especially when they want people to notice a new product the moment they walk in the door. It’s the kind of work that requires energy and interaction that a video call can’t always replace.”
Putting in place first-class air‑filtrations measures isn’t just good for physical health, it helps anxious employees re-acclimatize to the office environment. Andrew Moss General Manager, Horizon
Keeping staff safe from airborne coronavirus in common spaces
To keep contact to a minimum, office employees were assigned their own workspace bubbles where they could work alone or in small, distanced groups. Moss and the Horizon team also installed disinfectant hand gel and provided face masks for employees and visitors. But he was equally concerned about the airborne transmission of coronavirus, especially in common areas, such as kitchens, where people congregate not just to eat, but to swap ideas and discuss projects.
Moss understood that airborne coronavirus transmitted via small droplets, also known as aerosols, could persist in the air for longer than on surfaces. “When people came out of their office bubbles, I wanted to ensure that the air in our kitchen was healthy and safe at all times. But most of the air filtration devices that I looked at were either too large, expensive or complicated for our set up.”
When he first met with AirLabs, Moss was immediately struck by the efficiency of its AirHavn devices. “As a designer, I was impressed by how much engineering was compressed into a unit that’s compact and portable.” This made it easy to install in a quiet corner of the Horizon kitchen. “In spite of its size, I was amazed by how quickly it filled the entire room with clean air. It’s also very quiet which is important for a space where people come to talk and listen.”
Protecting physical and mental health
The response from employees has also been positive. As Horizon, like other businesses, emerges out of lockdown it hopes to welcome all of its employees back to its Cambridge headquarters. “Our business relies on the energy and confidence of the employees,” says Moss. “Putting in place first-class air-filtrations measures isn’t just good for physical health, it helps anxious employees re-acclimatize to the office environment.”
As a designer, I was impressed by how much engineering was compressed into a unit that’s compact and portable. Andrew Moss General Manager, Horizon
Deploying the AirHavn pro also puts Horizon on the front foot when it comes to the long-term health and well-being of staff. “As well as eliminating airborne coronavirus, AirHavn removes more than 95% of air pollution. It also gives us confidence that if future pandemics occur, we are ready to protect our staff, keep the business running and remain productive.”
Read more about the AirHavn Pro
To coincide with the company’s appearance at the UITP Asia-Pacific Conference this week, Marc Ottolini, CEO of AirLabs writes of the potential for air cleaning technology to solve the public transport crisis caused by COVID-19.
The public transport industry is under strain.
The global lockdowns at the start of the COVID-19 crisis led to a staggering 90% drop in revenue and the recovery has been sluggish, with revenues still down by almost half and not expected to return to normal until 2024 at the earliest.
Public transport providers have played a valiant role in supporting our economies and helping commuters into work during the pandemic, often running increased services despite significantly reduced passenger numbers due to social distancing. But they cannot continue to do that forever. Already we have seen a number of providers warn that their businesses are under serious threat, which will only get worse the longer the pandemic continues.
Customer confidence is at an all time low and recent research has shown that 70% of Londoners no longer feel comfortable with the idea of commuting to work via public transport, so how can we make public transport COVID-safe and persuade the public to get back on board?
To reduce the risk of catching coronavirus we must first understand how it is spread.
Everyone is now familiar with three of the key prevention methods – washing your hands, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. These measures avoid people catching the virus by transmission from surfaces and from droplets, which can occur when in close contact to others.
However, there is a third, less well-known way of transmitting the virus, which is via aerosols – small particles that we transmit when we breathe out, talk, sneeze, laugh or cough.
Imagine them as the clouds of steam that you breathe out on a cold day. You will notice that the cloud is most concentrated nearest to you but can travel significant distances before dispersing.
Leading scientists have been campaigning for more attention to be paid to the airborne route of transmission throughout the year and the World Health Organisation and CDC have since acknowledged that coronavirus can be spread via airborne transmission.
Social distancing can help to protect the public from this invisible threat, however, evidence shows that coronavirus particles can remain live and suspended in the air for up to three hours in enclosed spaces.
Masks are effective at containing larger droplets, but studies have shown they can allow as much as 70% of infected aerosols to pass.
This means that on public transport one infected passenger could potentially contaminate the whole vehicle.
The role of technology
Ventilation is at the heart of the solution for airborne coronavirus but in a transport setting can prove challenging.
Weather and customer comfort make opening windows a challenge and vehicle ventilation and air conditioning systems can be more dangerous by re-distributing contaminated air throughout the vehicle.
The key is to be able to efficiently filter the air of airborne pathogens and deliver enough clean air to create a “clean air zone” for passengers and drivers.
Our AirBubbl in-vehicle air cleaning device does just that and is already being used to protect bus drivers in Europe and the US in addition to being used in private hire and patient transport vehicles dealing with the pandemic.
The device, which is roughly the size of a Bluetooth speaker, removes more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particulate matter and floods the space with over 30,000 litres of clean air every hour to keep drivers and passengers safe.
The AirBubbl is the perfect device for small spaces, however the passenger cabins of public transportation provide a different challenge.
That’s why we’ve developed the AiroSafe, which is specifically designed to remove airborne viruses and contaminated particles from the passenger cabins of public transportation, including buses, coaches and trains. It does that by providing each passenger with a personal clean air zone at their seat.
A single person exhales eight litres of air per minute, while the AiroSafe filters an impressive 600 litres of air in the same time ensuring that every passenger seat is flooded with clean air.
Like the AirBubbl, the device filters more than 95% of airborne viruses and contaminated particles, as well as other harmful pollutants including PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide and ozone, which are known to cause heart, lung and other diseases. This means that it will keep passengers safe even after the threat of coronavirus has passed.
The cost per installation is low, as running costs are recouped with just one ticket sale and the per installation cost return on investment can be achieved within a very short time.
Getting public transport back on track
At AirLabs we fully understand the crisis that the industry faces.
It is only by embracing this new technology that public transport providers will be able to confront this challenge and see passenger numbers and revenues return to pre-COVID levels.
Marc Ottolini, CEO, AirLabs
Air pollution is without question one of the greatest public health concerns of our time, contributing to 9% of all deaths globally.¹
These health impacts have been brought into focus by COVID-19, as there is a growing body of scientific research which suggests a strong link between exposure to air pollution and mortality rates for COVID-19. Even a small, one percentage point increase in people’s long-term exposure to particulate matter raises infections and admissions by about 10% and deaths by 15%.²
This has caused an increase in support for action against air pollution. The public overwhelmingly feel that the issue of clean air is more important than ever before and want businesses to act now to improve air quality as we rebuild following the virus.³
We are already seeing local authorities start to implement new measures to reorganise and transform travel in cities by bringing in new pedestrianised areas and cycle lanes, so now is the perfect time for public health officials and city planners to take long-term action to protect the public from this invisible killer.
Air pollution monitoring – A shot in the dark
There is undoubtably a willingness from government, councils and the public to tackle the air pollution crisis across the globe. However, if we want to have a long-term and lasting impact on air quality then we need to act smarter.
Air pollution monitoring up until now has been a shot in the dark, as most cities only install a limited number of monitoring stations in a few sections of the city where air quality is expected to be a problem.
While this setup can indicate air conditions in a city, crucially, it lacks the ability to pick up on localised hotspots of pollution.
This is a profound issue as air pollution is extremely dynamic, fluctuating significantly in time as well as location. For example, monitoring pollution in London by Imperial College⁴ regularly shows that air quality can be four times worse in some streets than others, even within the same district.
Well-intentioned local authorities rightly want to improve the air quality in their urban spaces. But the limited data they have means that they are spending significant sums of public money to address the issue, with only a tiny fragment of the picture necessary to make informed and impactful decisions.
This has to change, and it will only change by using monitoring technology that gives decision makers a full and detailed picture of the air pollution problem in their city.
Around every corner, there is a unique story and that story changes day by day, therefore, it is crucial that air monitoring networks reflect this.
Smart cities need smart technology
A truly smart city is one that is interactive, using real-time information to make decisions for the good of the city and its population. As part of that, an air monitoring network should not be considered as merely a data collection system but as a decision-making tool.
By creating a dense, high resolution network of air monitoring sensors, city leaders are able to assess air pollution data in many locations across an entire city, every minute of the day.
From this they can build an accurate and useful picture of a city’s air conditions – creating a detailed map which can be used by city planners to gain a full understanding of pollution hotspots and can provide real insight into which mitigations will be most impactful to protect the public.
A pioneering project
At AirLabs we’re doing exactly that as part of a new project with ADEPT SIMULATE Live Lab. Working with Staffordshire County Council and Amey, we have installed a first-of-its-kind, dense network of 19 sensors around a busy road in Newcastle Under Lyme.
Our AirNode sensors, which are low cost and low maintenance whilst meeting the requirements for accuracy of the EU Air Quality Directive, are being installed on lampposts around 100m apart to detect the variations of pollutant concentration in space and time throughout the area.
This innovative project not only aims to monitor air pollution, but to test a variety of mitigation solutions in a real-world setting. Those range from using artificial intelligence to monitor and predict traffic, installing an active ‘green wall’ to absorb dangerous air pollutants and deploying e-scooters and e-bikes to encourage alternative transport options.
It will then use the in-depth data obtained using the monitoring network to compare and evaluate which mitigations are most effective.
This will provide a model that can be replicated by councils and city planners around the world to make impactful decisions on air pollution in a cost effective way.
Now is the time to take action for our cities to clean our air and protect the public. The appetite is there from the public, the technology is in place and we’re remodelling our cities in response to COVID-19, so let’s do it in a smart way to deliver real, long term change.
¹ Our World In Data – Air Pollution
² IZA – http://ftp.iza.org/dp13367.pdf
³ Global Action Plan – Air pollution and COVID-19 survey
AirLabs technology filters the air of the three major pollutants:
AirLabs technology filters the air of the three major pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides. These species are listed as ‘criteria pollutants’ by the World Health Organisation. The criteria pollutants are generated from a myriad of human activities including industry, transport, and building emissions, and effect humans in every aspect of their daily lives. AirLabs technology is different from others because it is small, effective, and efficient. There is less air flow resistance, so less energy is needed than common air filters. Our technology can be tailored to treat specific the ‘pollution cocktails’ made of varying amounts of the key pollutants found in different urban areas.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
NOx includes NO and NO2 and is formed from the nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere when air is exposed to intense heat. This heat can be generated by lightning or combustion, making cities packed with vehicles extremely prone to this form of pollution.
NOx is particularly dangerous because it is a catalyst for the formation of additional pollution, including ozone and particulate matter.
Particulate Matter (PM)
Particulate matter is a solid or liquid state pollutant that comes in varying sizes. These sizes are represented as PM10, PM2.5, and PM0.1, ranging from coarse to ultra-fine particles, depending on their diameter. See the diagram below to understand the scale.
The composition and size of PM is highly variable and there are multiple primary sources. PM can enter the air through direct release from different sources such as fires or transport. PM can also be the result of reactions in the atmosphere, from NOx for example.
Ozone in the stratosphere, an atmospheric layer many kilometres away from earth, absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, protecting life on Earth from this damaging radiation. In contrast, ozone in the troposphere is very dangerous. Simply put, ozone breaks many molecules into dangerous substances, such as acids and ketones. This also happens in the human body when ozone from the air enters it, leading to upsetting health concerns such as cancer. Ozone plays a large role in the NOx formation seen above.
Every year, during the month of November companies and individuals alike come together to raise awareness of common life-threatening diseases and cancers, including rare diseases that develop in the lungs. As individuals become increasingly concerned over environmental pollution and airborne contaminants, combined awareness efforts engage, educate, and encourage individuals and community leaders to address air quality; such as the presence of carcinogenic materials and air pollutants resulting from heavy manufacturing, traffic congestion and more.
However, although advancements in air monitoring and filtration equipment have made it easier for both individuals and communities to track and manage pollution, it is crucial to health, to know exactly how and which airborne contaminants and pollutants cause respiratory health concerns and numbers don’t lie. Nearly 1 in 8 deaths are attributed to air pollution, making pollution one of the largest environmental health concerns at present. Other environmental health concerns such as airborne asbestos or erionite fibers are just as concerning, so in observation of Lung Cancer Awareness month this November, we’ve joined forces with the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center to raise awareness of harmful airborne pollutants and carcinogens to prevent their exposure and draw attention to the health concerns associated with air pollution.
Over the past 100 years, manufacturing processes have changed significantly. However, some industries still utilise carcinogenic minerals or additives for a verity of different purposes. For example, the naturally occurring mineral asbestos maintains fire-resistant properties under direct contact with an open flame. Once processed, the brittle and fibrous mineral became a common ingredient within thousands of products stretching across the construction and manufacturing industries. Due to the malleability and fibrous nature of asbestos, it found its way into a variety of different applications, world-wide including plumbing, HVAC, electric, insulation, roofing, tiling, cement, concrete, paints, gaskets, and other materials found in structures or machines built prior to 1980.
Exposure to airborne asbestos is especially hazardous, causing severe lung damage, inflammation, and eventually, asbestosis or mesothelioma, a life-threatening rare disease, which develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Although classified as a rare disease, the only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma is a result of asbestos inhalation or ingestion. Erionite is another similar, fibrous mineral, which has been linked to peritoneal mesothelioma of the abdomen, so it is crucial to health that workers in high risk occupations such as; construction, manufacturing, plumbing, mining, railroads, and shipbuilding are informed and aware of the dangers of such carcinogens.
Heavy Manufacturing & Combustion:
Pollution generation from manufacturing, industrial practices and combustion, vehicle exhaust, and even construction debris, can toxify and contaminate air quality with particulate matter and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), directly affect human health. Such processes produce, often-invisible clouds of airborne hazards that are known to cause respiratory health concerns including asthma, lung disease and cancer.
Depending on the source, particulate matter (PM), dust or pollen, mould spores, soot, and airborne acids, may also be released into the air as a result of the above processes, posing additional threat to health. With extended exposure, individuals may experience worsening allergies or respiratory issues and are at risk of developing more serious complications such as COPD.
Vehicle Exhaust and NO2
There are two main sources of air pollution: mobile sources and stationary sources. Mobile sources including cars, buses, vans, motorbikes or cycles, planes and trains, which each contribute to pollution. Mobile sources running on diesel fuel especially, release NO2 into the air, as well as PM, which pose respiratory health concerns such as intense asthma, coughing, bronchitis, among other issues, to those who inhale it. NO2 also plays a large roll in smog formation, which is prevalent in cities across the globe.
Vehicle exhaust also emits Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) including NO and NO2, formed from nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere when air is exposed to intense heat such as with lightning or combustion, making cities packed with vehicles, extremely prone to nitrogen oxide pollution.
With every breath of polluted air consumed each day, the lungs, one of the 5 vital organs essential to human life, are directly affected. Little by little and especially over time, lung function is impaired, which as a result directly affects blood-flow and health of other parts of the body.
World-renowned astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking once stated that, “air pollution is one of the top 3 threats to our global society.” His statement is simple, yet profound and based on fact as the World Health Organisation attributed nearly 7 million deaths to our global air problem, air pollution, in 2012. Considering this number aside the 1.69 million lives attributed to lung cancer, air pollution, airborne toxins and carcinogens deserve attention year round, in addition to Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
It is a tricky situation to add a pollution removal system to the exhaust pipe of a car. Any such system would have to address the problem of dilution. As soon as pollution leaves a car it quickly becomes diluted and that means that you would have to treat a very large volume of air in order to solve the problem.
A quick example is that the polluted boundary layer over a city could be a kilometre thick. Imagine a car able to remove all pollution from the air going through the engine bay. A one square meter grill moving at 10 m/s can treat 10 cubic meters per second. To remove pollution from the atmosphere over a 1 km by 1 km area of a city would require 100 million seconds for one car; to do it in an hour would require 30,000 vehicles with the perfect system running continuously.
A major manufacturer played with the idea of putting a pollution control catalyst on the radiators of cars in the 1980s, and they ended the project due to the fact that even if the catalyst removed all pollution, it would not have had a significant effect on urban air pollution.
Because of the problem of dilution, most effort has gone into controlling pollution at the source by developing emissions catalysts, de-nox systems, particle filters, or by removing the engine altogether. For example over half of new car sales in Norway today are for electric vehicles. However, there is still the problem of road dust, and particles from tires and brakes. One solution to reduce roadside pollution: ride a bicycle to work as they do in Copenhagen.