Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Update on Vietnam's Air Quality

An Update on Vietnam's Air Quality on 1st Quarter 2017

VSEA (Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance) updated the air quality statues for the first quarter of 2017 based on data put together from the U.S Embassy and U.S Consulate continuing monitoring air quality in Vietnam. The results showed that the air quality in Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) has been worse in the first quarter of 2017 when  juxtaposed with last year's data. Saigon's air quality reached an average AQI of 101 (86 AQI for 2016) and an "average PM2.5 concentration of 
35.8 μg/m3 (28.3 μg/m3 for 2016). While the Average quality index (AQI) for Hanoi in the frost quite of 2017 was 123 (121 for 2016). 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chinese Forest City to Improve Air Quality

Wondering how we can work to alleviate the effects of air pollution in our cities? Well, what if the cities themselves could absorb air pollution? Italian architectural firm Stefano Boeri Architetti has designed a smog-eating forest city to be constructed in Liuzhou in southern China.

The project will be a 342-acre, self-contained neighborhood and will be made up of more than 70 buildings—including homes, hospitals, hotels, schools and offices—all of which will be covered with 40,000 trees and almost a million plants. The forest city is expected to absorb almost 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants per year, while producing 900 tons of oxygen per year.

Air pollution has been a major concern in China in recent decades and the Chinese government is actively seeking ways to remedy the problem. Green-lighting major urban greening projects like the Liuzhou Forest City is just one of the ways that China is moving forward in the search for solutions to environmental pollution.

I think it will take a lot more than a few green architectural projects in a sea of conventional urban sprawl to make a major impact and change the world we live in for the better, but projects like Liuzhou Forest City are at least a step in the right direction.

If you are an architect or are hoping to become one someday, is there anything like this air pollution reducing city that you have worked on or would like to work on someday? Does this kind of project inspire you to design something for the future that can make our world a better place?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Clean air is everyone's right and responsibility.

The words “carbon footprint” evoke images of industrial factories spewing smog, vehicles idling in traffic, or the feelings of shame for participating in unsustainable air travel. The work of removing CO2 from Earth’s atmosphere is largely done by microorganisms in the oceans and by trees on land. However, issues like ocean acidification and mass deforestation jeopardize the planet’s ability to keep these global systems in check.
According to the United Nations, forest lands now cover less than 1/3rd of the Earth’s solid surface, and this number continues to decline. Forest fires exact a multiplied toll on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, with the trees they destroy and remove from the carbon sink equation. Over the past two months, thousands of precious hectors of forests have been incinerated by more than 700 forest fires in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC). The long-term increase of atmospheric CO2 is not the only negative impact that forest fires have on human life. Smoke from fires kill more than those who die from incineration. The forest fires in BC have resulted in numerous air quality warnings and pose a serious health risk for those with delicate respiratory systems. To learn the current conditions of the air quality where you live, visit:
Being carbon conscious is in the best interest of everyone’s health. Take the time to consider your actions that contribute to your carbon footprint, and most importantly, be fire smart by taking Smokey’s pledge.
Click the video link to watch Sally Aitken's escape through one of BC's 2017 wildfires

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Air Pollution in Spain

This article discusses the detrimental effect air pollution has caused in European countries. In urban Europe air pollution has become one of the leading causes of premature deaths. According to the European Environment Agency, in the year 2013 Spain estimated 29,980 premature deaths due to air pollution. This number is a significant decrease compared to the 33,200 deaths related to air pollution in the year 2012. These high numbers of air polluted related deaths are already uncomfortably large, causing cities to consider alternatives in order to decrease the amount of people exposed to such pollutants. Data collected in 2014 by the World Health Organization, of cities across Europe determined that 85% of urban cities were being exposed to fine particulate matter, found mainly in the burning of fossil fuels. Because of this we have seen an increase in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Taking this into consideration, the European Environment Agency has been collecting data regarding levels of air pollution in major cities in Europe and comparing them throughout the years. Showing that between 2000 and 2014, cities that were being monitored showed a decrease in air pollution levels due to the governments hand in discovering a solution. The main example provided of efforts done in order to improve air quality in highly polluted cities is seen in Madrid, Spain. The city banned non-residents driving into the city, and lowered the speed limit when pollution levels were getting too high; both solutions to decrease the amount of fossil fuels being burned within the city limits.        

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Air Pollution Measurements in the United Arab Emirates

In 2015, to the shock of many, the UAE surpassed both China and India in PM2.5 levels, according to the World Bank’s “Little Green Data Book” (their annual report on global environmental indicators). P.M. 2.5 criteria measures minuscule airborne pollutants smaller than 2.5 microns. In 2015, The UAE’s air contained 80 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter, compared to 73 microns in China and 32 in India. 

The UAE is the world’s eighth largest emitter of carbon dioxide per capita and is a prominent force in several industries such as cement manufacturing, power generation, desalination, etc. However, the largest contribution of PM2.5 happens to be the dust made of sand which is blown upward by construction and/or windstorms. UAE officials suggest that this skews the data, unfairly placing their country at the top of the list. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) gathers this data annually by combining satellite imagery, ground-level monitoring and atmospheric modelling to produce the PM2.5 numbers. Some believe this method should be revised, as it is unfair to countries with deserts. 

The 2017 issue of “The Little Green Data Book” places the UAE at 64 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter, with China at 58 and India at 74. 


Friday, July 14, 2017

Air pollution struggle in Iran

One person dies every two hours in Tehran, Iran becasue of air pollution! In addition, the World Health Organization has stated that the 10 most polluted cities in the world are located in Iran! The issue is incraesing yearly and the overwhelmingly large number of motor vehicles transporting in the cities everyday, has stood out as one of the most important contributers. There are uninspected cars travelling in Iran, plus, there is non standard gasoline being used which both greatly add to the pollution. Often the pollution in major big cities including Tehran reaches a dangerous level which makes schools and some federal offices to close on some days. These factors do challenge people's health, especially children and elderly people. The government is trying to implement anti-pollution measures and signs agreements  with other countries regarding that. Increasing the number of electric cars and the vehicle inspection are other actions taking place.
The pictures here contrast a polluted day and a clean day in Tehran, Iran.

Jamaica, Trouble in Paradise?

 While thousands of tourists flock to Jamaica each year for relaxing, tropical vacations, most won’t see the heavy rates of deforestation, damage to the coral reefs, air pollution in the large cities, and even the various wastes that get discarded into the beautiful coastal waters.  Air pollution has been a significant, yet disregarded, issue for Jamaica in the last decade at least.  With high air contamination and poor air quality, physicians have noticed a significant worsening of medical problems in patients.  Many citizens blame the illegal burning of garbage and the high vehicle emission rates, which have been acknowledged by those with the power to change these things, yet, little progress has been made to control these issues.  At what point will the government finally decide enough is enough?

To read more about Jamaica’s environmental statistics, visit: