Posts

Silent killer

Image
I stumbled upon this tweet from WHO: https://twitter.com/WHOSEARO/status/937632756967784449 The thing that took my interest was that the air pollution was named the 'silent killer'.
Why? One reason is, because it causes lot of death but nobody see the actual immediate danger. You can see pollution maps, pollution predictions, you can even smell and some time see it but few people do because they doubt, argue and question before they put something over they faces, it is kinda the new normal so why bother?
Lets be a bit theoretic. To what you can compare it? To something invisible and deadly as well. To me, the ionizing radiation bears lot of common marks with the urban air pollution. No I am not kidding. Lets compare both of them in detail:
Ionizing Radiation: is tasteless and invisible
Air pollution: sometimes it smells and can be seen, sometimes not. And sometimes we mentally block it away from our senses.
Ionizing Radiation: polluted areas are dangerous in form of radioactive…

Our daily mental blocking

Image
Did it happen to you that you went to visit someone and notice little things in the apartment that are 'not OK' ....little things like a picture hanging a little bit off, a spider web, some tooth paste on the sink, dirty window and so on. Nothing serious. If it is a close relative you can afford to ask about it and you get some answer like this: I did not saw it! It was always like this! There is no point to clean the sink because kids mess it up each time! It takes too much effort to clean that window so we live with it as is!
The phenomenon the homeowner experiences is called 'Mental block' it is due to subconscious erasing of reality that causes you distress or unwanted feelings. It is a mental mechanism that causes  people involved in horrible situations not to remember details afterwards. Subconscious, brain chooses to block the information that causes pain or discomfort. The same thing happens with us when we live with the air pollution. You can smell it, you c…

Asthma. A serious but now common diagnosis.

Image
I red this article recently http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42199200 and it was immediately clear to me who the  benefiters of PAPP are. In the same time, the article proposes that covering half of your face with a scarf could help. I do not dispute that. However how effective placing a simple piece of 'cloth' over the face sounds, I would not bet the life of my child  on it.


This particular article is dealing with the low air temperature a person is taking in which affects the persons health and/or comfort. That's a point where PAPP could help. By means of technology the air could be treated more complex than just simple  filtering. Heating is one of the options. By bringing the temperature closer to nominal levels wearer will have more comfort and in this case also health benefits. On broader scale, PAPP could not only stop the environment from triggering a shock but prevent the outbreak of the disease at first place. Asthma is known to be one of the symptoms of chroni…

For sake of the beauty, protect your skin against air born pollution

Image
The question is, does air pollution affect other organs, apart form lungs, too?

Of course it does! Let's think about, a fully clothed person exposes two parts of the body: Hands and the head. We will not talk about the hands, they are sturdy part of the body and can handle a beating from exterior. It is the head, precisely the face organs that are suffering also. In this article I will have closer look on the facial skin, skin is the larges organ of the human body and supposed to protect us against external influences. In today's cities it is attacked by toxic artificial chemicals and nano scale particles and was newer naturally meant to withstand such poisonous conditions. Starting from congested pores to serious allergic reactions all this and probably combination of those are the result. The beauty conscious about us, I don't want to say the women, can tell how difficult it is now days to take care of it and how badly affected it is by air born toxins. Aging of the sk…

Non of the pollution masks fulfilled my expectation. Shocking!

Image
Finally I came to conclusion that non on the commercially available solutions are fitting my lifestyle or expectation. What a shock!
Most of them have following negatives in common:
Covering your lower half of your face causing you can't recognize the wearers facial expressionThe eyes are not protected, sore eyes and allergies are the common result of pollution exposureYou can not effectively speak while wearing them because they are dimming the sound of your voiceThe sealing is bad, not uniform and depends how meticulous you put the mask on and wear itWhile you opening your mouth for what ewer reason you are loosing the seal on massive scaleBeards are off limitsAny facial expression causes mask leakageNothing (except the smell from outside) alerts you that your mask is leakingThe mask causes accumulation of humidity, sweat and human fluids insideMaintenance is not something the common manufacturer had thought about. You can clean the body (not the filter) of some models manually i…

Does this sound familiar to you?

Image
I have very good standard of living. My kids, wife and family do not need to worry if they are in the shop if we can afford or can buy something. Because of that we see our health as priority, money are good but can I afford really everything what I need for me and my family? I thought I can provide it, but I was wrong. What made me to change my mind and point of view? The most obvious things are usually the simpliest one. I will try to explain it.

Recently I came across the web page showing worldwide pm2.5 particles concentration. I quickly zoomed to the china awaiting, as commonly known, the highest air pollution in the world. After I zoomed out, I spotted place in europe where the pm 2.5 air pollution was nearly the same as in China. I thought to myself, that can not concern me, but after I zoomed in I was shocked. It was the town where I live! I realized at that moment that even if you can buy anything, you are sharing the air with other. But what makes me worry is that according …

Think globally, suffer locally.

Image
I like to have a look on the air pollution problem also from the global perspective. Where are the hotspots? How polluted is my city in comparison to others?
Lucky there are some online sources of measurement data like https://www.pollution.org/ or http://aqicn.org/map/world/  which seem to come from same source.

Looking on the live data you must immediately see where the problem is extreme. Some of the data were surprising for me. It came out that air pollution on the street where I am stuck in the traffic each day compares to some industrial places in China. In my case it is 'just' a local pollution, however in middle of flat towers full of people. One street away the air is more or less fine. It is the localized air pollution that causes me the headache (letter for letter) because I have to return to that location against my will every day. It is the pollution on the way to work, around the playground and the shopping center parking space we should worry about.
You can alwa…

Action time! no... not really

Image
Speaking about air quality in my city and my personal actions, what can I do?
One could say...
Not use your carbon fueled carBuy a Tesla :-) electric car Do not use personal car at all and use public transport insteadDo not heat with coal, wood or combustible wasteDo not buy products which come from polluting factoriesHarass or sue pollutersRemind smokers and farters... Did I omit any?
To me, this actions are bit empty until everybody will do the same. I am not saying you should not follow all or some of them. But lets be honest, how hard have you to change your life? Forgo things? Miss civilization comfort? Get counter-sued/harassed ?
We are part of the civilized society, some things I am able to do and some are just empty gesture.
Like for example I am able to to switch from diesel to gasoline car next time I will buy a new one. But unfortunately electromobility is something that it's not reachable in the moment for me. Please do not ask from me to take the bus, something I do…

What else flies around in our air?

Image
Did you recently noticed the color of the sun? I did, and immediately blamed the smog.  But no. It is actually the Sahara sand! (I did not realized it was orange while I was hiking in the country too.) This Scientist at the University of Nottingham even investigated it under scanning electron microscope.Well I was surprised if something like Sahara sand dust can travel continents, what else can travel waste distances if it's made of a fine particulate matter like the PM2.5 or PM10?


You can imagine two regular neighbor states, with one having rigorous air protection regulation in place to keep harmful particles out of the air and the other state being just dirty as it gets. And the wind blows from the dirty one towards the clean one. How should the inhabitants of the clean state feel? A bit like powerless hostages. I could imagine that the political ties between the states could also suffer. I wonder if I could find such an example in the world. I already have an idea where to loo…

Trying to understand the China Mainland air polution problem. Success!

Image
I started investigating what is the situation in global urban agglomerations around the world. I might find a solution to our (my and your) family problem. Firstly I turned my attention to China, as notoriously known for their environmental challenges.

After searching online I stumbled upon this Documentary. It opened my mind and exposed all the information not only about the pollution but also about the cause the harm and the possible solutions.
It's 104 minutes long but I assure you, you will find all the answers to understand the problem china is facing and may be you can draw parallels with your country or city.

Congratulations to the author Chai Jing and enjoy the film:


Unfortunately no solution that would immediately and significantly improve situation for an affected city inhabitant.

The city pollution hits the most vulnerable, our children

Image
“Soot from diesel vehicles is among the big contributors to ill health and global warming,” commented Helena Molin Valdés, head of the United Nations’ climate and clean air coalition, stating that more than nine out of 10 people around the globe live where air pollution exceeds World Health Organisation safety limits.

The city pollution hits the most vulnerable, our children


Air pollution is linked to diseases and infections that kill around 600,000 children under five each year
Under-five deaths linked to air pollution, 000sHousehold pollution Outdoor pollution
Africa South-east Asia Eastern Mediterranean Western Pacific Americas Europe 0 100 200 300


Guardian graphic | Source: WHO, 2012
Air pollution is world’s single biggest environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and is getting worse, with levels of toxic air rising 8% in the last five years. How to live and rise children under such circumstances?  First of all using whatever it takes to minimize th…

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858-1913)

Image
I admit I own a Diesel car myself, and I am not proud of it. For sure it has some positives, but recently all the negatives came out and some cities are planning to ban those in the towns. I am certain I will not buy another one.

“The consequences of excess diesel NOx emissions for public health are striking,” said Susan Anenberg of Environmental Health Analytics in the US and one of the team that did the research, published in the scientific journal Nature.



You can't blame the inventor, or even the manufacturers. With the latter one, after the emission scandal where it came out that manufacturers of diesel engines cheated the tests, could be argued about. The Norms of EU are so strict that the manufacturers risked and lost. We do not talk only about VW. Nearly all new diesel cars exceed official pollution limits.

What are those NOx anyway and where are they coming from? NOx its an common name for Nitrogen oxides like nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) only, but most emi…

You may say: There is no problem with "my" air.

That's the joke, there is no "my" air. In one moment the air is in the engine of a car and in the other it is in your lung. Funny to think about.
You may still think there is no problem with the air "you" are breathing. That's relative mildly said. You can't be sure what are you breathing, many dangers are invisible and have no smell or taste (Carbon monoxide, Ozone, Radon...)You may be lucky and spend your life time in pristine environment (which is doubtful), but your kids, parents or loved-once don't You will never know if the air you were breathing all your life will kill you...you just die from one of the pollution induced sicknesses, 10 years earlier or a just sudden but it will harm you for sure. Human induced air polution has been around from the moment humanoid learned how to exploit fire. There was however change in recent history... You have to look on these factors: 1. Time of exposure 2. Kind of airborn polutant 3. Resistance 4. Life ex…

The choice

Image
Today you have the choice. You can choose your supermarket and when you enter you have all the choice you want or ever be able to choose from. The Internet gave the consumers the ultimate weapon to choose from and compare and review and comment. Nobody can say "I do not have choice". Well...
I say just that: "We do not have a choice." What? You can choose your food, your clothes, your water bottle even the supplier of your electricity or gas can be chosen from a short list. You choose your Internet provider or your hair style. In most developed countries it can be chosen freely. If you are a Greek you can even choose your legal gender: The Greek parliament passed a law on Tuesday to make it easier for people to change their legally recognized gender, a move that angered the Church but was welcomed as long-overdue by human rights groups. Reuters

There is one thing that has the ultimate no choice sharing property. It is the air we breathe.

Human in a calm condition bre…

Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Stockholm, 1972

Image
Proclamation of the Stockholm Declaration:
Both aspects of man's environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights-even the right to life itself. Principle 1 of the Stockholm Declaration:
Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being...  http://www.un-documents.net/aconf48-14r1.pdf

While reading the declaration for my personal project it came to my mind: "The poor people in the developing world having no access to clean water, health care, food or clean air... They have to live in those horrible slums or wastelands. How much better are we about." Are we?
While commuting to work it came to me clear: NO, we are not that far from the developing world.

You can not argue that when there is no water treatment center in hundred miles around a city you can't have clean water in the tap. That ther…