Billions of people from around the world are breathing in and getting sick because of air pollution. Cities from Delhi to New York suffer from smoggy air days that can cause asthma, heart problems, and other illnesses.
While there are many factors that contribute to this issue, one major contributor is the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
Most countries still rely on harmful fossil fuels to generate electricity, but this is changing. Clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower are becoming more popular every day.
Countries including the United States have pledged to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for energy and promised to generate power from renewable sources in the near future. Over the past decade, the U.S. increased its use of clean energy by almost four times.
It’s an important change that will not only impact individual and national greenhouse gas emissions but will have a positive effect on public health, too. Here’s how.
Clean Energy Doesn’t Produce Harmful Gases
When fossil fuels are burned, they produce harmful gases like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. These gases contribute to respiratory problems, including asthma, and can also cause heart problems. Those living within proximity with a coal-fired power plant, for example, are at a higher risk for various health problems.
Even the extraction of coal and other fossil fuels contributes to pollution. Dirty mining practices and the transportation of fuels can release harmful gases into the air.
In contrast, clean energy sources like solar and wind don’t produce these harmful gases. In fact, they sometimes help improve air quality by displacing dirty energy sources like coal. For example, in California, the use of solar panels has helped reduce smoggy days.
The more people switch to clean energy, the better the air quality around the world will become.
Don’t worry about the costs. There are more solar companies now that offer accessible and affordable installation of solar panels to households and small businesses that want to do better for the environment.
Renewable Energy Doesn’t Exacerbate Aeroallergens
Aeroallergens are tiny particles that come from a variety of sources, including pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. They can be just as bad as pollutants released by burning fuel. Exposure to aeroallergens can lead to respiratory problems, like asthma, and can also aggravate other conditions, like eczema.
There is evidence that suggests that nonrenewable energy can make the problem of aeroallergens worse. There are many possible links, but scientists found that pollen season, in which more naturally-occurring particles are released into the air, is growing longer.
The increased carbon in the atmosphere is also causing plants to produce more pollen in response. Additionally, the hot, dry weather conditions that are created by climate change make aeroallergens worse.
Slowing Climate Change Means More Rain and Fog
Because of the rising global temperature, the weather is changing. Wetter areas are getting wetter, and drier areas are getting drier. The increase in extreme weather conditions is not helping the air quality improve in polluted areas.
The presence of fog and occurrences of rain clears the air of pollutants. Both are therefore necessary to improve the quality of air. However, because of changes in weather patterns, there has been a significant decrease in fog which is damaging to the environment.
Greener Lifestyles Prevent Stagnation Events
Meteorologists warn that hotter summers all over the world can lead to stagnation events, a condition in which a hot, stagnant weather pattern lasts for an extended period of time. This can cause the air to become even more polluted and make it difficult for people with respiratory problems to breathe.
Actions that reduce energy consumption, like using public transportation or biking instead of driving, can help prevent stagnation events from happening. If more people switch to clean energy sources, it will help reduce the number of harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere and improve air quality.
Air pollution is a global crisis that impacts millions of people every year. Clean energy has the potential to be a viable solution to this problem.
We need to continue to rely on renewable energy sources to help improve air quality globally. Solar, wind, and hydroelectricity are some of the best options to reduce reliance on harmful fossil fuels. Not only do they not produce harmful gases, but they also don’t worsen aeroallergens. Renewables can also help prevent extreme weather events from happening and improve air quality during stagnation events. Making the switch to clean energy is good for your health and the environment- so what are you waiting for?