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Air Pollution and Modern Technology to Purify Air

MG is an ex-senior Air force officer who is a global traveler as well as a wildlife enthusiast


Air Pollution

Air pollution is a word we hear regularly. Let us understand what it means. Air consists of various gases like oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, etc. When external factors are introduced into this pristine atmosphere like chemicals, particles, or biological materials then the air is said to be polluted. These pollutants can cause discomfort, disease, or death to humans. It can also damage other living organisms such as food crops, The major sources of air pollution are industrial emissions, vehicular emissions, domestic emissions, etc.

. Checking pollution and its measurement has gained importance in present times.


Air Quality Index

There is another term that needs explanation as it is closely allied with air pollution. This is called Air Quality Index. It basically checks how polluted air is and the term AQI is often used.

This index communicates to the public how polluted the air currently is. As the AQI increases, the health of the population deteriorates. The AQI as an index that is accepted all over the world.. Most daily newspapers and radio, TV broadcasts will give everyday information about the level of pollution in the air at a particular place. They will also give a comparison with other cities/places and one can be aware which s the most and least polluted place.


Lowering Air Pollution

The aim of any government or ruling authority is to lower air pollution. How can this be done? A few of the factors that cause air pollution and methods to make air pristine pure are discussed below.

a) Car Engines. One of the methods to lower the AQI is to use the latest technology. One of the biggest sources of air pollution is car engines. Scientists have now created far more efficient car engines than in the past. Modern engines produce fewer pollutants and also consume less fuel like gasoline.

b) Catalytic Converter. A major advancement in-car technology is catalytic converters. These are fixed to the exhausts of the cars and have the ability to reduce the amount of harmful carbon monoxide and nitrogen monoxide from being emitted. Catalytic converters create a reaction that converts toxins into less harmful products. Another development for clean energy is the introduction of electric-powered cars, but it could take another decade for its total acceptance.

c) Power Stations Fueled by Coal and Fossil Fuels. Power stations fuelled by coal and gas (fossil fuels) are another big source of pollutants. This is because fossil fuels contain small amounts of sulfur and so when the fuel is burnt, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is produced, causing acid rain. To prevent this filter system has been developed which removes the sulfur dioxide from the waste gases produced during the operation of the plant.

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Other methods

There are other methods where technology has improved the AQI. These are

a) Development of clean fuel technology. Efforts are on to develop engines that use Hydrogen gas as the by-product of hydrogen is only water and such engines will be pollution-free. Newer sources of renewable energy like wind power, solar power, and wave power are in the offing. Unconventional sources like geothermal energy, bio mass energy, and hydrogen are also being experimented with.

b) Wind Energy. One of the most potent technological advancements is the use of Wind Energy. The wind is the movement of air when warm air rises up and is replaced by cooler air. Wind energy has been used for centuries for sailing ships. Modern turbines capture the wind and generate electricity.

c) Sun/Solar Energy. The second source of unlimited energy is the sun. This technology is still in its infancy and in the years to come it will be one of the most important sources of energy for man. Solar energy is presently used for lighting and heating and some industrial processes.

d) Hydro Power. The third important source is wave power or hydropower. Water flowing downstream has tremendous latent energy. By building dams and reservoirs on fast-flowing and large rivers, turbines can be run to generate electricity.

The important sources of unconventional energy are biomass energy, geothermal, and ocean energy.

Biomass energy is created by burning wood or other waste. Methane gas is also harvested from it and can be used to produce electricity and fuel for transportation. Two other sources are geothermal energy and Oceans. Geothermal energy means harnessing the heat trapped inside the earth. Ocean energy with its powerful tides can be used to run anything from turbines to motors. This source is still in the experimentation stage.


Nuclear Power

No discussion can be complete without reference to nuclear power. It is one of the last sources of energy. This is based on the energy released by splitting an atom. Nuclear energy requires many safety measures as it produces radioactive waste whose half-life is 60 years. Thus in case of a nuclear accident, the place will remain unusable for almost 6 decades. Many nations do not want nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is cheap and an answer to chronic power shortages. The USA has tens of nuclear power plants but the danger of an accident can have a catastrophic effect.

The use of all these technologies singly or in combination can help lower the AQI and make the atmosphere free of pollution.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 MG Singh emge

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