Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that air pollution is responsible for the death of seven million people per year, confirming it as a major environmental risk to human health. The study also shows that 92% of the global population are exposed to high levels of pollution. This worrying situation requires concrete actions from the great powers. “The challenge for industrialized countries is to reconcile industrial production with the gradual reduction of air emissions,” says Arie Halpern, economist, and entrepreneur with a focus on innovation and disruptive technologies.
“The solutions need to be significant, particularly in large urban centers and must be carefully monitored so that they do not generate even more pollution,” Arie Halpern.
Arie Halpern says that although most countries resort to restrictive solutions, technology can be a great ally to resolve the global problem of pollution, maintaining the same levels of production.
An example, he says, is China, where there is a great concern over keeping the industry up and running. “The Chinese government has invested heavily in air fresheners in leisure areas, such as parks and squares,” adding that the largest air purifier in the world, able to purify up to 30,000 cubic meters of air every hour is in the capital, Beijing. The invention is also ecologically correct, because, according to its inventor – Daan Roosegaard -it uses as much energy as an electric kettle.
Another Chinese audacious plan is the construction of “vertical forests”: a project for two inhabitable towers covered with plants and trees in the city of Nanking. The complex that includes 600 large trees, 500 medium-sized trees, and 2,500 more plants will be capable of producing 60 kilograms of oxygen per day with the consumption of carbon dioxide from the surroundings. Similar constructions exist in Milan (Italy) and Lausanne (Switzerland).
China is giving an example of how technology can minimize the impact of carbon and particulate matter emissions, but most nations still resort to restrictive solutions. In Paris, an emergency car ban was introduced in days of excessive pollution. When the quality of air is in a critical state, a road space rationing restricts the access of half of the cars to the city center. In December last year, the ban lasted for three consecutive days. The local government then organized a scheme for the population to use bicycles and electric buses for free.
Other European cities also regard cars as one of the main villains for the atmosphere. In Barcelona, Mayor Ada Colau announced that it will reduce the cars’ driving space by as much as 60%.
In India, the use of plastic has been completely banned from the capital New Delhi, after findings that the country was responsible for 60% of all plastic thrown illegally in the ocean.
“The great world powers have recognized their role in the escalation of global warming and pollution in recent years. As a result, annual meetings such as the Climate Conference discuss actions to minimize this impact and rely on the promise of the big world leaders to curb an imminent climate catastrophe “, says Arie Halpern.