Friday February 22, 2019
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Air Pollutants Can Be Stopped If They Are Frozen : Scientists

The air-quality across the NCR was very poor

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Delhi air quality continues to be 'very poor'. VOA

Freezing pollutants can prevent deadly outdoor air pollution — thought to cause more than three million premature deaths worldwide every year — from seeping indoors by 99 per cent, scientists have discovered.

The research, by a team of scientists from the Nottingham Trent University in the UK and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, involved studying the effectiveness of cryogenics for indoor air purification, by removing the gaseous pollutants and tiny particulates caused by haze.

The team found that as they circulated haze-polluted air through a cryogenic condenser, the finer particles stuck together in the condenser tube before dropping out by gravity, and emerging as clean air.

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A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing’s central business district, China. VOA

Their method was able to remove 99 per cent of particulates and 98 per cent of nitrogen oxide pollutants.

“Hazardous outdoor air pollution has severely affected indoor air quality, threatening the health of billions of people,” said Professor Robert Mortimer, Dean of the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham.

“Outdoor air pollution in cities is a global problem. While there are some existing technologies to purify indoor air, they can be inefficient, expensive or produce harmful by-products.

“When outdoor air quality is poor, people tend to spend even more time indoors – but outdoor pollution also leads to indoor pollution and people are still impacted.”

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In this Sept. 19, 2018 photo steam and cooling towers of a lignite power plant are reflected in a pond in Peitz, eastern Germany. VOA

The experiments, reported in the journal Science of the Total Environment, showed that by simply circulating polluted air through a small freezing chamber we can remove most of the fine particles and gas pollutants.

“Our study makes it possible to add an ‘air cleaner’ option to household appliances in areas which might experience extremely poor air conditions. By controlling indoor air pollution and improving air quality in this way, this work could be greatly beneficial for public health,” added Gang Pan, Professor at the varsity.

It is hoped that the work could pave the way for simple modification of air conditioning and humidifier units so that they can also clean polluted indoor air, the team said.

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Air pollution can also damage your kidneys. wikimedia commons

Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) on Sunday witnessed “very poor” air quality with the minimum temperature recorded at 12.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season’s average.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads to Ban On Truck And Construction

The air-quality across the NCR was very poor, according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.

The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 87 per cent. The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 28 degrees Celsius. (IANS)

Next Story

A Simple Breakfast Toast Can Cause Air Pollution

"We need to re-focus research efforts on these sources and give them the same attention we have given to fossil fuels. The picture that we have in our heads about the atmosphere should now include a house,"

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Breakfast
Breakfast platter. Pixabay

Making a simple breakfast toast could contribute to a high level of indoor air pollution, say researchers.

According to a research by the University of Colorado Boulder, basic household tasks like boiling water or cooking your dinner or cleaning can leave your home as polluted as a major city.

“Homes have never been considered an important source of outdoor air pollution and the moment is right to start exploring that,” said Marina Vance, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

“Even the simple act of making toast raised particle levels far higher than expected,” she added.

For the study, Vance used advanced sensors and cameras to monitor the indoor air quality of a 1,200 square feet manufactured home. Over the course of a month, the team carried out a variety of daily household activities, including cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner. During the experiment, the measured indoor concentrations were high enough that their sensitive instruments needed to be recalibrated almost immediately.

Breakfast
Making toast can cause air pollution: Study. Pixabay

Vance said it is apparent that homes need to be well ventilated while cooking and cleaning, because even basic tasks like boiling water over a stove top flame can contribute to high levels of gaseous air pollutants and suspended particulates, with negative health impacts.

Moreover, the airborne chemicals that originate inside a house do not stay there. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products such as shampoo, perfume and cleaning solutions eventually escape outside and contribute to ozone and fine particle formation, making up an even greater source of global atmospheric air pollution than cars and trucks do, the researchers explained in the paper presented at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington.

Also Read- Does India’s Giant Step in the Direction of Green Energy Signal an End to Coal?

While many traditional sources like fossil fuel-burning vehicles have become much cleaner than they used to be, and ozone and fine particulates are monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but data for airborne toxins like formaldehyde and benzene and compounds like alcohol and ketones that originate from the home are very sparse.

“We need to re-focus research efforts on these sources and give them the same attention we have given to fossil fuels. The picture that we have in our heads about the atmosphere should now include a house,” the researchers said. (IANS)