Growing Public Health Concerns from Poor Urban Air Quality: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Living (9 page pdf, Bhaskar Kura, Suruchi Verma, Elena Ajdari, Amrita Iyer, Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering, Apr. 2013)
Today we review a paper that zeroes in on the issue of urban air pollution and its health impacts, identifying which pollutants cause the greatest harm and what to do about that in terms of identifying and controlling pollution sources. Given that a million premature deaths and another million pre-native deaths are linked to urban air pollution, along with 2-5% GDP costs for developed and developing countries respectively, much more attention is needed at the municipal level now.
“more than 1 billion people are exposed to outdoor air pollution annually. Urban air pollution is linked to about 1 million premature deaths and 1 million pre-native deaths each year…is estimated to cost approximately 2% of GDP in developed countries and 5% in developing countries”
“ contribution of these transportation sources to the overall ambient concentration of that particular air pollutant:
• Carbon monoxide (CO) [70% to 90%]
• Hydrocarbons likemethane (CH4), gasoline (C8H18) and diesel vapors, benzene (C6H6), formaldehyde (CH2O), butadiene (C4H6) and acetaldehyde (CH3CHO). [50%]
• Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) - [45% to 50%]
• Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide [30%] in developed countries and [15%] worldwide.
• Particulate matter ((PM10/PM2.5) - [25%]. In Europe, the average levels for PM10is approximately 40 μg/m3, and in Beijing the average level is 141 μg/m3.
• Sulfur dioxide (SO2) - [5%]
• Lead– Lead is a toxic metal mainly used as an anti- knocking agent in gasoline (Lead tetraethyl - Pb(C2H5)4) and is also used in batteries (lead dioxide as an anode and lead as a cathode).
• Odors- Diesel and gasoline engines are the major sources of odors”
“Conceptual urban air quality management approach:
• Identify sources of air pollution in the immediate urban area..
• identify the specific pollutants that may be released in the air environment
• Conduct preliminary air quality monitoring to identify the concentration ranges for air pollutants.
• Identify the best monitoring techniques, equipment, and resources needed to understand the short term and long term trends of these pollutants
• Establish a permanent network of air quality monitoring stations to measure criteria pollutants…
• Develop a database of air pollutant emission quantities from various sources…
• Evaluate the relationships between the emission quantities and the ambient concentrations under various meteorological conditions
• Prioritize the sources of air pollution for regulating.
• developing policies to control emissions and also to make changes in public behavior which may be responsible for poor air quality (traffic; open burning; fuel combustion; others)
• Develop a decision support system to integrate the ambient air quality data to compute exposures and health risk probabilities..
• Use the data from the decision support system to assist the policy makers, scientists, and the public to achieve the required air quality management goals”