World air the worse for wear, but nothing that can’t be fixed

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17[1]This year, Earth Day falls on a Monday. In fact, Earth Day 2013 is in two weeks exactly. Today’s post could serve as my Earth Day message this year, but I will leave that day for a different topic to write on.

Today I want to focus on air condition or the condition of world air, in other words.

In my recent four-part series dealing with America’s infrastructure, I referenced quite a few times the “2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure” produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers and released Mar. 19th. Overall, the ASCE gave national infrastructure a D+ – a slightly better than “Poor” grade. What this says is: 1) it’s not failure, and 2) improvement is needed.

So, I have to ask: If air in the world was to be assigned an overall letter grade, what should it be?

I don’t know that world air should even be given a passing grade.

What I do know from reading Bryan Walsh’s Dec. 20, 2012 Time Magazine “Ecocentric” article “Unbreathable: Air Pollution Becomes a Major Global Killer,” in particular, world air condition isn’t good.

Walsh, in no uncertain terms, wrote: “Thanks to new cars and power plants, air pollution is bad and getting worse in much of the world, and it’s taking a major toll on global health.

“How big? According to a new analysis published in the Lancet, more than 3.2 million people suffered premature deaths from air pollution in 2010, the largest number on record. That’s up from 800,000 in 2000. And it’s a regional problem: 65% of those deaths occurred in Asia, where the air is choked by diesel soot from cars and trucks, as well as the smog from power plants and the dust from endless urban construction. In East Asia and China, 1.2 million people died, as well as another 712,000 in South Asia, including India. For the first time ever, air pollution is on the world’s top-10 list of killers, and it’s moving up the ranks faster than any other factor.”

Could Walsh be any more clear? No!

But here’s my question: Why should anyone die from polluted air? That people are is both unacceptable and unconscionable.

And it is not like there is nothing that can be done to change that outcome. Something can be and should be and is. This is most evident in reports like: CATS: Controlling NOx emissions levels with diesel aftermarket technology, CATS: Photocatalysis process helps render some toxic air contaminants harmless and others. So the news is not all bad.

But more work is needed still before victory can be claimed in the fight against polluted air.

At the end of the day, when it comes to remedying the world’s worse-for-wear air, remember this: fixing it will no doubt take forthrightness, resolve and technological know-how.

Trust that the technological know-how is there but is the will?

Image above: NASA

Hydrogen vehicle
Hydrogen vehicle

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