Dooda Desert Rock

Defending the Environment Against Ourselves

   Nov 12

Pollution, what is it

pollution-1We use the term “environmental pollution” to refer to the presence, in the atmosphere, of physical, chemical or biological agents, in forms and concentrations that are or may be harmful to health, safety or welfare of the human life, plant or animals.

The social behavior of man, which led him to communicate through language (which later formed the human culture) enabled him to differentiate from other living beings. But while he was able to adapt to the environment to survive, man also modified it as needed. Technological progress, on one hand, and rapid population growth, on the other, produced (and still producing) alterations of the environment itself, in some cases threatening the ecological balance of the Earth.

As civilization go on and population continue to growth, maintenance of ecological balance it is important to avoid irreparable damages to the Earth. This requires protecting renewable and non-renewable resources and realizing that environmental sanitation is essential for life on the planet.

Pollution is one of the most important environmental problems facing our world. Contamination can arise from certain manifestations of nature (natural sources) or due to different production processes made by man (anthropogenic sources).

Sources that cause pollution of anthropogenic origin are most important: industrial (refrigerators, slaughterhouses and tanneries, mining and oil), commercial (wrappers and packaging), agricultural (agrochemicals), home (packaging , diapers, garden waste) and sources mobile (vehicle exhaust gases).

Traditionally, when we talk about pollution, we divide it into three parts air, water and soil pollutions. This division is purely theoretical since most of the pollutants interact with more than one environmental elements.

   Sep 12

Worst types of pollution

pollutionContinous population growth and uncontrolled industrial development poses serious problems for environment as pollution. Causes of environmental pollution are different. The simply presence, in the environment, of any physical, chemical or biological agent whose concentration causes alterations in the structure and functioning of ecosystems, is considered as part of this type of pollution.

By analzying pollution from the primary causes we can start considering chemical agents, such as toxic mineral acids, organic solvents, detergents, plastics, petroleum products, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, etc.

However, to realize causes of environmental pollution, we have to differentiate between three types of pollution.

Air pollution is usually produced by the fumes of vehicles and industries, aerosols, dust, noise, odors, atomic radiation, etc. Among the most common pollutants we can find carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and ozone. Main causes of air pollution are related to the burning of fossil fuels.

Water pollution is one of the greatest and more severe pollution ever. Water can be polluted when its composition is altered so it does not meet anymore standard requirements neither to be drunk safely by humans and animals nor to be used for coltivations. Water pollution affects rivers, aquifers and seas. As denounced by organizations like Greenpeace, hundreds of toxic substances are dumped into the water without proper control (oil, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, etc).

Soil pollution is caused by the spillage of chemicals and wastes. When garbage is accumulated in one place for a long time, part of the organic waste ferment and are filtered through the soil, especially when it is permeable.Fungi, bacteria and other pathogens can pollute the soil they enter in contact with. Results are negative on food chains.

   Aug 12

Photovoltaic Solar Energy

Photovoltaic-Solar-EnergyPhotovoltaic conversion is based on photoelectric effect, basically the conversion of sunlight into electrical energy. To carry out this conversion we need some devices called solar cells.

Usually the power generated from photovoltaic conversion is used to cover small electricity consumption on the same place, such as homes, street services and lighting (public lighting, streets, monuments, bus, etc.), agricultural applications (solar energy can be used to pump water, to irrigate, to refrigerate, to purify water and so on), signaling and communications (such as air and maritime navigation signals. As we can see, applications are vary and can increase over time.

Amont the advantages to use this tecnology, we can see:

  • no pollution at all. As no combustion occurs, PV does not generate neither air pollutants at the point of use nor other negative effects on the environment (such as acid rain, greenhouse gases, etc.)
  • silicon base element for the manufacture of photovoltaic cells is abundant
  • creating energy using PV panels (which usually are installed on roofs) allow to avoid, cables, poles and power lines, so visual impact of the area is nicer
  • energy is produced in total absence of noise
  • no external supply required

Among main disadvantages we can see a great impact on the manufacturing process of the plates plus a certain land visual impact (which is always better than the impact created by electric power lines).

At the end let’s have a look at some varriers to development, which can be administrative and legislative, monetary (as a high initial investments is required), technological and social (this refers especially to lack of information).

   Jun 11

Obese people are more affected by air pollution

Obese-peopleObesity is a condition that involves a series of disadvantages. From an aesthetic point of view to health related problems, excess of weight is something should always be avoided. According to a study made from the Université de Montréal’s School of Public Health, overweight persons are more exposed to pollution effects up to 50% more than normal-weight persons.

The same situation is true for children, whose rates of exposure to pollutants range from 10 to 24 %. The study examines the obese class 2, those with a BMI range from 35 to 39.9.

According to dr. Pierre Brochu, one of the doctors who take part to the study, those people inhale every day 24.5 cubic feet of air, about 8.2 cubic meters more than an adult who is not obese. About 50% of the air inhaled is made by pollutants, such as ammonia, sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide. In addition to the known consequences of pollution, most notably cancer, these agents are irritants for respiratory and can cause a range of other diseases.

The study analyzed 1900 volunteers between the ages of 5 and 96 for more than a decade, and noted how, through the analysis of blood and urine, he has confirmed the theory that the greater the weight, the greater the amount of contaminants circulating in the body.

The situation is even more risky if a child is involved, as they have an accelerated metabolism and inhaled pollution can spread quicker in the body.

The question that now Dr. Brochu wants to find out an answer is whether this factor can lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma or lung diseases.

   Jun 11

About 23% of energy worldwide is produced by renewable sources

renewableAccording to a recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the U.S. , renewable energy generates about 23% of all electricity createed in the world ( 4,892 TWh). Definitely a very good news.

The report was published in late 2013 and was realized using 2012 data. That year the world leader in cumulative installed solar PV capacity was Germany. United States was the first country in the world about geothermal and biomass energies. China led in the wind.

The cumulative global installed renewable electricity capacity has grown no less than 97% between 2000 and 2012 (from 748 GW to 1470 GW). The most used renewable energy is hydropower (which increased from 2,500,000 GWh in 2000 to 3,500,000 GWh in 2012), followed by the wind energy (from zero to 500,000 GWh in 2012 ), then biomass and solar thermal (both still below 500,000 GWh in 2012).

According to published data, the countries with the largest installed capacity of renewable energy are, in order: China, United States, Brazil, Canada and Germany. Countries with large solar policies like Germany, Spain and Italy have also become world leaders in solar PV.

If we analyze the data by separating the types of renewable energy, we can also see which countries are ahead in every field: about hydropower the leaders are China, Brazil, USA, Canada and Russia. In solar power the first contry in the chart is Germany, followed by Italy, USA, China and Japan. In solar thermal the main country is Spain (thanks also to favorable weather conditions), followed by United States, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco (tied) and Australia. By analyzing geothermal energy, first places in the chart are those by United States, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico and Italy. For wind energy we see on the top China, USA, Germany, Spain and India. Finally, in terms of biomass use, first country in the world is the United States, then Brazil, China, Germany and Sweden.

   Mar 13

What is air pollution?

air-pollution_1Air pollution is one of the various pollution that affect the world. It is the result of many causes, in this post we are going to learn how this contamination occurs, what we can do and everything related to this unfortunate fact.

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and different types of gases which are able to reduce air quality. Clear examples of air pollutants are emissions from cars and buses, chemicals from factories and industries, dust, pollen and mold spores. Meanwhile , ozone gas is a major component of air pollution in cities, which is generally known as smog.

Even air in the countryside is not exempt from pollution. It can be result of dust from tractors, trucks and cars which are drove on dirt or gravel roads, other than smoke from wood and crop fires.

There is an intimate relationship between health and air. When the air is polluted, toxic pollutants are inhaled into our lungs and can turn into health problems, especially if you should soffer of other diseases (such as hearth disease of lung disease) or if you are obese. Please remember also that older people and children can suffer more from air pollution.

It should be noted that air pollution does not occurs only outside. Even the air inside our homes can be contaminated.

What effects does pollution have on our health? Starting from simple eye irritation, we can have a range of symptoms, such as cough and chest pressure. Have to be noted that people react in different ways to air pollution. Some may notice cough while others may not notice any effect at all.

   Mar 12

6 reasons to choose renewable energy

renewable-energyUntil a few decades ago, renewables energies were seen as expensive and inefficient. Technology is advancing quickly and today there are plenty of products and services based on renewable energies. Solar energy, wind energy or water energy, they are all green energies which can used alternatively to classical energy sources (hydrocarbons).

Why should you choose green energy? What are the main advantages of this kind of energy?

  • It is an active way to collaborate in reducing pollution and combat climate changing on the planet
  • It allows individuals living isolated from urban centers to have access to services such as gas, electricity, water, fuel, etc.
  • the majority of green energy systems are sold at affordable prices. Even if the initial cost can be a bit high (about $ 3,000 or $ 4,000), PVs have lots of benefits, as they are durable and efficient, do not pollute, have fewer maintenance costs and allow to save money on electric bills
  • By buying “green products” you can supports this market and favourite the creation of new jobs in the renewable energy sector
  • green technologies saves natural resources, generate less greenhouse gases and waste so they are environmentally friendly. It is a way to make human activities less harmful for the planet
  • green technologies are simple and easy to use in different fields and sectors, from private to business

Renewable energy will be one of the economic pillars in the near future as fossil fuels are running out. Green energy is the key to improve the quality of life both of people and planet.

   Jan 13

How can you protect from air pollution?

air-pollutionAir pollution is one of the most severe pollution even. It consists, as we can understand from its name, in the pollution of the air we are breathing. Air pollution, especially if not severe, does not bring great discomforts on healthy people, otherwise those who already have hearth or lung diseases can be more affected by air pollution.

What can you do to protect your family and yourself? First of all, beware if climatic conditions start be risky: for instance, avoid to go out during hot sunny day if you start to feel symptoms such as chest tightness, burning eyes or coughing.

You can protect both yourself and your family from air pollution easily by following those ideas:

  • do not going out in critical hours as during the day pollution levels are higher than nights. Many pollutants have also lower levels indoors than outdoors.
  • if you need to go outside them choose the best time during the day. That means going out early in the morning or late in the evening / night, when the sun has set. This is particularly important in areas with high ozone conditions (as most of the biggest cities) because sunshine make ozone levels increase
  • don’t do exercise outdoors if when reports indicate unhealthy air conditions. Did you know that the faster you breathe the more pollution you take into your lungs?

By following those three simples steps will generally prevent symptoms in healthy adults and children. However, if you live or work near a pollution source and have specific disease, such as heart or lung, remember to ask your doctor how you can protect from air pollution.

   Jan 12

Renewable energy: advantages and disadvantages

EnergyRenewable energies are increasing in popularity thanks to the fact that the number of people and firms who decide to adopt them for their personal needs is greater then ever and increas every day. This is also thanks to all the advantages related to “green energy”. They are:

  • this kind of energy is environmentally friendly and non-polluting, so using it for our needs allow us to help to preserve the world for future generations
  • it is a clear alternative to classical energy (which is, for instance, the one based on hydrocarbons)
  • all the types of renewable energies, such as solar or wind energy, contributes to diversification and self-sufficiency
  • there is the possibility to earn some money by selling the energy which is produced in excess (depending on how big the renewable energy system is and how much energy is used every month for personal consumption)
  • the sector of green energies, as it’s quite new, is still able to generates lots of new jobs, which are expected in an even greater increasing in the next few years.

As everything, also renewable energies have some disadvantages, the positive thing is that they are not so important if compared with advantages. The main downside is related to money, as to start using renewable energy for our own consumption an initial investment is required. Depending on how big the system to build is, the sum needed can easily overcome thousands of dollars. Luckily, there are several banks which can lend money for that reason, so this disadvantage can easily be overcome.