Fight to make air right: Runaway train or ducks in a row?

On Feb. 20th, I posted: “Defined: The ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ ‘how’ and ‘why’ of pollution.” What I attempted to do was provide a nutshell description. It should be so noted that in my more than 300 Air Quality Matters articles and op-eds posted to date, I believe this entry is the first of its kind.

It is important to keep in mind pollution present in the air is not confined to geographical region (it is mobile) and through scientific research it has been determined that such contamination can be fairly long-lived depending on pollutant type, and is associated with an estimated 3-plus million premature yearly deaths.

That this many people per year are suffering early, unnecessary loss of life due to air pollution’s effects, plainly and simply, that’s just unacceptable. That those deaths can be prevented but aren’t, that’s tough to get one’s head around. And not lost sight of is how the air got this way.

Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, if you read: “Defined: The ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ ‘how’ and ‘why’ of pollution,” then quite apparent is that, in a nutshell, I likewise provided response in terms of what can be done about the pollution itself. As a matter of fact, my concise response was: “All of that which is currently being done and then some.” Arguably, that itself is pretty open-ended.

DSCN2601 (300x225)Suffice it to say, regarding air pollution mitigation, there is reason to celebrate. It was Time magazine Science & Space writer Bryan Walsh himself who, in fact, in “Unbreathable: Air Pollution Becomes a Major Global Killer” in the Dec. 20, 2012 issue wrote: “Fortunately in the U.S. and other developed nations, urban air is for the most part cleaner than it was 30 or 40 years ago, thanks to regulations and new technologies like the catalytic converters that reduce automobile emissions.”

Success such as this needs to be built upon even more. Understandably, the fight to rid our air of the dirt that’s in it must be perpetuated if total success is to be realized. People as well should not lose sight of the notion that air pollution is an extremely serious concern, here again, Walsh adding: “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.”

If an Air Quality Matters blog regular, you should know this is not the first I have brought information on this order to bear.

All of that said I am thoroughly convinced that to thoroughly clean the air will take a combination of factors: technological innovation, commitment, regulatory compliance, and common-sense practices.

At the end of the day, the beauty of all of this is that this outcome can be had.

Question is: Will it be?

Looking at the other side of the same coin, what if it isn’t?

Even though I’d rather not go there, but should air not see significant improvement, there is no question in my mind that adversely affected will be greater and greater numbers of world population – plain and simple – especially given the continued rise in number of people worldwide.

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