Clean Air

“Breathing clean air is a basic human right” Right?

Kirstin Brünjes, our Junior Systems Consultant is bilingual and has kindly translated her blog into both German and English - seen here alongside each other.

 “Breathing clean air is a basic human right” Right?

We are currently facing unprecedented strain on our planet. Numerous factors generate global problems, such as rising greenhouse gases which causes climate change.[1]

The United Nations considers this development in their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and call for the “[…] widest possible international cooperation aimed at accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions […]”[2]. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 addresses this challenge with the aim to build worldwide awareness and put an action plan in place to combat global climate change.

As we know, air pollution not only has negative effects on the environment but also on people’s health. The UN’s SDG 11 report emphasises that the air quality, in urban areas around the world, did not meet the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines value for particulate matter and that 9 out of 10 people living in urban areas are breathing polluted air.[3] A government report from the British Safety Council stated that air pollution caused 36,000 deaths a year only in the UK. A key problem is that a number of cities are breaching legal limits of NO2 in the air. Looking locally, Bristol Council has disclosed that the air quality measurements in the city are breaking the legal standards for NO2. Particularly vulnerable to these increased levels are children, older people and people with heart and lung conditions. This and the fact that around hundred people in Bristol die each year, linked to air pollution, has forced the city to act immediately to clean up the air in the city.[4] Currently, Bristol is developing a Clean Air Plan in order to tackle the hazardous level of NO2, which includes Clean Air Zones, charging vehicles, a diesel ban from specific streets and the launching of a local scrappage scheme and the planting of 50,000 trees

However, it is not only the government’s responsibility to reduce air pollution. Individuals and organisations also have a responsibility to find solutions in order to keep the air clean and healthy in their local areas. SustainIt’s suggestions would be to thinking about reducing your driving miles, using more public transport or perhaps cycling once or twice a week.

Furthermore, air quality is not just a problem outside on the streets but also increasingly, inside buildings. Poor indoor air quality can be caused by dust, dirt or gases in the air within a building. Poor indoor air quality has been linked to lung diseases like asthma, COPD and lung cancer.[6] Indoor pollution can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Damp and mould
  • Chemicals in cleaning products
  • Toxic building materials
  • The way the workplace is heated

There are ways to identify and control these risks through air quality monitoring and analytics in Buildings. Software vendors such as FabriQ are starting to help companies collect data on the air quality inside their building through the joint-implementation of sensors. This gives facility and sustainability managers previously unavailable access to information that helps keep their employees and visitors happy as well as increasing productivity and well-being at the same time. Companies such as Energy & Technical Services look at smart building technology not only to improve energy efficiency and operational performance but also to provide a more comfortable working environment for occupants.

Reducing air pollution is good for health and environment. Be it through self-regulation, commitment or ethical motives, each individual is responsible to help reduce pollution in the air.  As The British Safety Council announced “Breathing clean air is a basic human right”[7]

[1] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13

[2] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/atmosphere

[3] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg11

[4] https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/#intro

[5] https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/what-we-are-doing/what-is-bristol-city-council-doing-about-it/

[6] https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/indoor-air-pollution/indoor-air-pollution-at-work

[7] https://www.britsafe.org/about-us/press-releases/2019/breathing-clean-air-is-a-basic-human-right/

By Kirstin Brünjes, Junior Systems Consultant at SustainIt

Saubere Luft ist ein Menschrecht! Richtig?

Luftverschmutzung schädigt Gesundheit und Ökosysteme. Große Teile der Bevölkerung leben nach aktuellen Standards nicht in einer gesunden Umgebung. Um Nachhaltigkeit zu erzielen, muss Europa Ehrgeiz zeigen und über aktuelle gesetzliche Vorgaben hinausgehen.
(Hans Bruyninckx, Exekutivdirektor der EUA)[1]

Die Treibhausgase in unsere Atmosthäre sind einerseits Mitversursacher des Klimawandels und wirken sich andererseits negativ auf unsere Gesundheit aus. Laut einer Forschungsstudie des ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation) sterben weltweit Millionen Menschen an Abgasen. In Deutschland sind es jährlich rund 13.000 Tote.[2] Umweltpolitische Maßnahmen gegen die Luftverschmutzung haben das Ziel, die gesundheitliche Belastungen der Menschen zu reduzieren und Umweltschäden einzudämmen. Zu diesen Maßnahmen gehören beispielsweise

im Verkehrsbereich

  • Ausbau des öffentlichen Verkehrs
  • Fahrverbote für Dieselfahrzeuge ohne Partikelfilter
  • Tempolimits in belasteten Gebieten

im Industriebereich

  • verstärkter Einsatz erneuerbarer Energie
  • emissionsmindernde Maßnahmen
  • geringer Einsatz fossiler Brennstoffe

Saubere Luft liegt auch in den Händen der Bürger und Bürgerinnen durch umweltbewusstes Verhalten im Alltag. SustainIt schlägt hierfür vor öfter zu Fuss gehen, auf öffentliche Verkehrsmittel umzusteigen, Fahrgemeinschaften zu bilden, im Stand Motor abzustellen oder alte Heizanlage durch moderne Technik zu ersetzen oder umzubauen.

Darüberhinaus kann man auch in Innenräumen Schadstoffen ausgesetzt sein, sei es zuhause, im Büro oder in den Schulen. Dies kann mehrer Ursachen haben, wie beispielsweise

  • Schimmel
  • schlechte Belüftung
  • ungesunde Chemikalien in den Reinigungsmitteln
  • schädliche Baumaterialien

Es gibt Möglichkeiten, schlechte Luftqualität in Gebäuden zu identifizieren und zu kontrollieren. Softwareanbieter wie FabriQ helfen Unternehmen dabei, mit Hilfe von Sensoren, Daten über die Luftqualität in Gebäuden zu sammeln. Unternehmen wie Energy & Technical Services nutzen die intelligente Gebäudetechnik nicht nur um die Energieeffizienz und die betriebliche Leistung zu verbessern, sondern auch um den Mitarbeitern ein komfortableres Arbeitsumfeld zu bieten.

Die Verbesserung der Luftqualität ist gut für Gesundheit und für die Umwelt. Ob durch selbstregulierende Maßnahmen, Engagement oder ethische Motive, jeder Einzelne ist verantwortlich, zur Verringerung der Luftverschmutzung beizutragen. Die Vereinten Nationen bekräftigen in diesem Sinne, dass: “Saubere Luft zu atmen ist ein grundlegendes Menschenrecht” ist.[3]

[1] https://www.eea.europa.eu/de/themes/air/intro

[2] https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/studie-zu-luftverschmutzung-pro-jahr-sterben-13-000-deutsche-vorzeitig-durch-verkehrsabgase/24046760.html

[3] https://unfccc.int/news/clean-air-is-a-human-right-un-special-rapporteur

 

 

 

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