Air pollution is serious, but solvable


Carbon dioxide from vehicle emissions contributes to pollution. Consider carpooling or biking to clean up the air.

Air pollution is an environmental issue that affects the health and livelihood of millions of people worldwide. Air pollution includes smog from industrialization, carbon emissions from car exhaust, and reduced visibility. It also includes harmful chemicals that contaminate the air in developing nations, leading to health problems.

Why is reducing air pollution important?

Air pollution is a severe problem in many places around the world and can cause many health issues, including lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization has set a goal of 10PM2.5 on average annually. PM2.5 measures particle pollution from tiny particles(2.5 micrometers or less). According to a WHO interactive map in 2016, most of the United States was under the WHO limit, but places like Chicago, Washington D.C, Los Angeles and Minneapolis still went over the WHO limit. This is nothing compared to areas of the world that exceeded 70 PM2.5 in parts of India, North Africa, Saudi Arabia, and China. One of the main sources of air pollution in these areas are manufacturing industries; another is population and energy needs. According to an article on Popular Science,  air quality in Beijing is worse during the winter due to the increase of burning coal for energy to heat houses.

In order to lessen the harmful effects of air pollution, scientists in Belgium are working on finding a way to actually convert air pollution into power. The small device takes harmful particles from the air and uses them in solar-powered electrolysis, where an electric current turns water into oxygen and hydrogen.  Currently, the scientists are working to make there devise more efficient, along with scaling it up for the use of cities with poor air quality.