Internet searches show air pollution is concerning more and more people — searches relating to air pollution are up 750% in the past decade in the UK. Of course, part of that is from more people searching for information on Google, but part is simply increasing air pollution problems and people’s awareness of them.
Are you familiar with the phrase “particulate pollution” or “particulate matter pollution?” Have you watched James Balog risk his life to stand or squat by the holes in the melting Arctic ice and pull out black soot that has accumulated in deep ice pockets thanks to the Industrial Age? No, this soot is not natural. It is manmade.
Soot is not only in the holes in the Arctic ice. It is accumulating in our lungs as well. Every time you or someone nearby gasses up an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, you are breathing particulate matter. Even if you drive an EV, bike, or choose the consciousness of pedestrian life, particulate matter is there as you breathe.
The World Health Organization reports: “Ambient air pollution, made of high concentrations of small and fine particulate matter, is the greatest environmental risk to health — causing more than 3 million premature deaths worldwide every year.”
A comprehensive report published by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, examines pollution’s impact on health throughout a person’s entire lifespan, “from a baby in the womb through to old age.”
Nissan is the one that reported that in the UK internet searches about air pollution and ways of cleaning the air “have increased up to 750% in the last ten years” (August 2006 to August 2016).
Nissan’s interest in the matter, of course, is that it is the producer of the world’s best-selling zero-emission electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF.
The popularity of search terms “best air purifier” and “air quality index” both rose by a factor of 750 percent from August 2006 to August 2016 whilst the phrase “air pollution facts” climbed 350% over the same period. The interest for “best air purifier” saw a 10-year spike in June 2016.[i]
The data demonstrates a rising sense of health consciousness amongst residents of Europe’s capital cities when it comes to air quality, with consumers increasingly seeking their own solutions to help ‘clean up’ the air around them.
A pervasive concern for improving indoor air quality and thus health is growing in residents of the UK and capital cities around Europe. Consumers are intent on purifying the air in their own environments and homes, but they should also keep the air cleaner by going electric.
“The World Health Organization recently declared that more than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the WHO limits, the problem is a global one,” Nissan adds.
The Nissan UK report explains that this “has manifested itself in the number of poor air quality days being declared across Europe’s capital cities including Paris, where drivers with odd or even number plates are given the authorization to drive on different days.”
Nissan remains a leader in zero-emissions vehicles. Here are some stats to demonstrate that: “There are now almost 230,000 Nissan LEAFs on the road worldwide, contributing to cleaner air in cities. In 2015 Nissan announced it had saved 50 million kg of carbon emissions in Europe alone with sales of the LEAF. Nissan is currently the highest-performing automotive company as tracked by the Carbon Disclosure Project.”
Gareth Dunsmore, Head of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe, said: “For so long now, air pollution has been seen as a problem that affects people on the other side of the world. This is a flawed perception because air pollution is impacting people and cities right here in Europe.”
Back in the US, the American Lung Association’s 2016 State of the Air report finds that more than 50% of Americans live with unhealthful levels of air pollution.
The American Lung Association’s 2016 “State of the Air” report found continued improvement in air quality, but more than half (52.1%) of the people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution. The annual, national air quality “report card” found that 166 million Americans live with unhealthful levels of air pollution, putting them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects like lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, and developmental and reproductive harm.
Aside from educating oneself on air purifiers and electric vehicles, check out Chasing Ice — to find out more or simply to watch the astounding beauty of the collapsing mountains of snow and ice in the Arctic. Authentic visuals and authentic bravery of an adventurer make it a fascinating watch as well. “I am going out on this broken fin, and I assume it won’t collapse,” says James Balog at one point — not a contrived version for fictional Hollywood icons, but the real deal. Interestingly, James Balog was once a “climate skeptic” — no more.