Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Air Pollution

 The World Health Organization reported that in 2012, around 7 million people died – one in eighth of the total global deaths – as a result of air pollution. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. 
Since early 1920s, air pollution has been regarded as one of the central problems that concern urban climatologists.
Shaw and Owens (1925) were pioneers in studying the phenomena of urban fog, and many have followed in their footsteps to research air pollution in cities. Britain, as the “first industrial nation”, was the first to become predominantly urban and consequently the place in which the modern idea of pollution was recognized (Thorsheim 2006). The meteorological foundation initiated the Committee for the Investigation of Atmospheric Pollution in 1912, establishing the first independent group to document the pollutant concentration in cities. The first air quality policy was established in the UK– the Clean Air Act of 1956- which was followed by the US clean air act in 1963. Under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) legislation, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are currently established and enforced for carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, particulate lead, and suspended particulate mass. However, more than 70 communities throughout the United States have been found to violate the NAAQS standards (Federal Register 1987) (Code of Federal Regulations 1994) (J C Chow 1993).
This image is designed to demonstrate the extend of this global yet local crisis. 

J C Chow, J G Watson, D M Ono, C V Mathai. PM10 standards and Nontraditional Particulate Source Controls. A Summary of the A&WMA/EPA International Specialty Conference, 1993. 

Thorsheim, Peter. Inventing Pollution: Coal, Smoke, and Culture in Britain since 1800. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2006. 

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