This health hazard is all around us and is only changing slowly. So what can you do about it?
Air pollution is a problem that is affecting our children and impacting our environment. So is green tech the way forward and what does that mean? And what can parents do to mitigate some of these risks? We spoke to Ricky Singh, entrepreneur and CEO of UK green tech company Evergen Air, to find out more.
There is a lot of research linking polluted air to fatal impacts on children’s lung health, not to mention poor air quality at home and in schools are becoming a concern exacerbated by the pandemic. Currently, 3.1 million children across England go to schools in areas with pollution levels that exceeds the WHO limit of PM2.5, with major cities like London being the worst.
Parents need to first educate themselves about air pollution. We spend 80-90% of our time indoors, even more so over the pandemic and in fact indoor air pollution are typically just as unsafe, if not worse. We need to start by measuring the air quality at home and consider the use of air purifiers. Parents should also engage with their children’s schools to understand what green initiatives exist and where there is none, engage the community to rally for support of the use of air monitors and air cleaning technologies to help improve the air quality for their children.
Evergen has a number of solutions for improving indoor air quality and creating clean air zones outside. Since 2018, we have been installing CityTree, the world’s first biotech air pollution filter, across a number of locations across London including two in Hampstead Hills School, which was fundraised by the parents. We have been in discussions with councils, municipalities and other schools about installing measures to improve air quality. With the government’s plan to revitalise our high streets and town centres, there is growing awareness for solutions such as ours and we are actively educating the public where possible.
A lot of the talk has been around traffic, but initiatives such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and Clean Air Zones are only scratching the surface rather than addressing the fundamental issue of PM pollution of which traffic accounts for less than 10% of the total. If you want real change, you either need to stop polluting or clean the air. The technology exists to do this, but it means investment. That’s why at Evergen, we have been investing heavily over the last three years in developing solutions that actually removes pollutants from air in urban areas and tackling the issue through cutting edge technology.
At home, we should start educating our children on the environment as soon as we can. I make sure to spend quality time with my kids outside in parks and nature trails and they really seem to appreciate our green, leafy garden. Also, as the busy M4 is not far from where we live, I use one of our Earth Sense monitors to measure the air quality inside and out so I have a better picture of the air we are breathing. We also installed an Evergen Air unit in the hallway, which is more than sufficient for most houses and extremely helpful in keeping down pollen and bacteria.
Technology has a critical role to play in solving climate change and urban pollution. Already, in my lifetime, I expect to see the complete shift from fossil fuels to new types of emerging renewable energy. We have seen incremental changes, for example ten years ago we were installing 250W Solar panels and now 550W panels are available. We are also seeing huge improvements in capacity and performance of batteries and major changes in the way energy is generated and distributed – what’s to say we can’t embed solar cells into the walls and roof of new and current buildings. Away from energy, we can expect huge advances in new, recyclable packaging, vertical farms which can grow foods in or near where we consume them. On a personal note, I’m looking for my first hydrogen-fuelled car. We ordered our first Tesla Model S in 2014 and am onto my third and it’s been an amazing experience. I am fortunate to be working in such a fast-evolving dynamic industry!