How Could Air Quality Improve in 2019?

published Feb 08, 2019
2 min read

Air Pollution

According to the World Health Organization, 92 percent of the global population lives in areas exceeding safe air pollution levels. With this startling statistic in mind, it’s clear that change is necessary, to preserve both our own well-being and that of future generations. Fortunately, this change is beginning to manifest.

Across the world, communities and organisations have partnered to build a sustainable framework for clean air policies and investments. Access to new data has given us the information we need to improve outdated practices, and these insights are paving the way for future progress.

In this article, we’ll explore the details of that progress, the ways in which technology and researchers are working together to preserve our air quality. Though we’re far from a perfect solution, we’ve come a long way, and the path ahead is clear.

Stronger Support for Renewable Energy

Traditional methods of energy like coal, oil and natural gas release harmful pollutants into the air. As world leaders begin to address the detrimental effect of fossil fuels, they’ve implemented green initiatives with clean energy goals. They’ve shifted toward alternatives like solar and wind power, and others have joined them.

Strengthened support for these alternatives represents a positive change, and with countries like Uruguay using almost 100 percent renewable energy, its potential is inarguable. Nicaragua and Costa Rica are well on their way toward achieving these same numbers, and both have seen incredible success in their transition.

In 2018, Scotland’s floating tidal stream turbine generated more clean energy within a single year than their entire wave and tidal sector did in the 12 years prior. As we continue to watch countries reach new heights of eco-friendly energy production, the air quality will slowly, but surely, improve in 2019 and beyond.

Greater Access to Localised Air Quality Data

In the past, air monitoring stations have relied on multiple data collection locations to represent the air quality of an entire city. While this is somewhat accurate, the system is still lacking, and recent findings have shown that levels of air pollution can vary drastically between two locations only a few meters apart.

Because of these variations, traditional solutions of data collection yield incomplete information and biased responses. The traditional solutions we use now can’t capture small, but no less important differences in air quality with the accuracy we need to counter the issue. Data transparency is necessary moving forward.

Fortunately, high-density air monitoring networks and personal air monitoring gadgets have seen widespread commercialisation, allowing individuals to combat the problem on a person-by-person basis. Through localised air quality data, people like yourself can take preventative measures to improve their quality of life.

Cooperation Between Businesses & Agencies

Addressing air pollution is a collective responsibility, and environmental reporting agencies can only do so much. Businesses can, and should, work with these agencies to help determine their emissions. As they coordinate, reducing air pollution levels in a given area will prove a far less difficult task.

As an example, a Continuous Monitoring System, or CMS, allows a business owner to make their data transparent to regulatory agencies and the public. A CMS program with proper implementation is beneficial for everyone, managing risk from increased scrutiny while providing valuable information.

When businesses cooperate with regulatory agencies, they can gradually develop a plan to address their emissions. As they assess facilities, they’ll find new opportunities to reduce pollution, and by extension, increase air quality in the surrounding area. It’s better for the business, the agency and the public.

The World Continues to Change

As countries meet clean energy goals, air quality data enjoys commercialisation and businesses cooperate with agencies, we’re beginning to see change. Though there are challenges ahead, we have the tools and resources necessary to overcome them.

Looking toward the future, it’s essential to remain optimistic. You can breathe easy knowing the world is changing in positive ways.


Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. Check out her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for the latest updates!