Green roofs can improve air quality inside buildings

April 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A new study has found that green roofs do a lot more than just provide extra space to grow plants. These eco-friendly roofs can also enhance air quality inside of buildings by reducing the ozone levels that come in from the outdoors. Scientists at Portland State University conducted the study at a large commercial building in Portland. Researchers installed devices on the roof, which was split between a traditional membrane and a green roof. The devices measured ozone levels of the air surrounding the building. They discovered that plants on the roof helped to trap ozone, preventing it from coming into the building. Related: 9 ways to add more houseplants to your home The new study adds to the growing list of green roof benefits. According to Phys.org , this includes the ability to filter carbon dioxide, cut down on excess water runoff after big storms and reduce heat in urban environments. Not to mention all of the veggies and plants that can be grown, cultivated and even shared with the local community. But how does the vegetation trap ozone and remove it from the air? The process of trapping ozone is called dry deposition, where particles in the air accumulate on solid surfaces. The process of dry deposition is completely natural and has been proven to be an effective way of filtering air. Prior to the new research, however, scientists did not know that a green roof could actually improve air quality indoors. It should be noted that the study, which was published last month in Building and Environment, only took place over a few days. The scientists who led the research effort have admitted that more studies that measure pollutants trapped over a long period should be completed. They also want to look at other pollutants other than just ozone. Once this happens, we will better understand the broader benefits of green roofs and just how much they can contribute to better indoor air quality. + Portland State University Via Phys.org Image via Urformat

See the original post here:
Green roofs can improve air quality inside buildings

London becomes the first city to have an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

April 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

London is officially the first city to have an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The zone, which is active all hours of the day and night, will improve air quality in the city by cutting down on pollution caused by vehicle emissions . Any vehicle traveling inside the ULEZ will have to meet strict emission codes or be subject to fines. Scientists believe that vehicle emissions, specifically nitrogen oxide, account for the majority of air pollution in London and are a serious threat to public health. These harmful chemicals have been known to increase risks of dementia and cancer. Related: Teens exposed to air pollution more likely to experience psychotic episodes, new study says “This is a landmark day for our city. Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan shared. The ULEZ was activated on April 8 and any vehicles traveling inside the zone that do not meet emissions standards will face charges of around $16 per day. Larger vehicles, such as trucks and buses, will have to pay heftier fines upwards of $130. The zone currently covers an area roughly four miles in size and will be expanded to a much larger area by the fall of 2021. The ULEZ is part of a larger plan to discourage high-emission vehicles from travelling around London. The first stage of the plan initiated what was called a T-charge, which went into effect in the winter of 2017. In the two years since, London has witnessed a drop of around 11,000 vehicles every day from the targeted area. The plan has also increased the number of vehicles becoming compliant with emissions standards in the area. The city’s famous fleet of red double-decker buses, for example, is being upgraded to comply with the new ULEZ.  There are approximately two million residents who live inside the ULEZ, and officials hope the new plan will improve the quality of air so that it meets standards enacted by the European Union. London may be the first city to enact an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but other locations, like New York City, are looking into similar plans. Via CNN Image via  Shrinkin’ Violet

Go here to read the rest: 
London becomes the first city to have an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

Teens exposed to air pollution more likely to experience psychotic episodes, new study says

April 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Teens exposed to air pollution more likely to experience psychotic episodes, new study says

Air pollution may have more long-term effects on teens than previously thought. A new study conducted in the U.K. found that adolescents who are exposed to pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, harmful particles and nitrogen dioxide , are more likely to experience psychotic episodes during their teen years. People living in densely populated, urban areas have increased risks of having clinical psychosis. This includes disorders like schizophrenia. Prior to the new study, researchers had yet to start any long-term projects that explore the relationship between air pollution and these mental disorders, despite pollution becoming a growing issue in urban locations. Related: Air pollution is killing Europeans at an alarming rate The new study, published in  Jama Psychiatry ,  looked at more than 2,200 children in the U.K. and examined the link between air pollution and mental health . The study was conducted over an 18 year period and included children from various socioeconomic backgrounds and geographic locations. In over 92 percent of the cases, the test subjects reported some kind of psychotic experience, such as having intense paranoia or hearing voices. “We found that adolescent psychotic experiences were more common in urban areas,” explained Joanne Newbury, one of the lead scientists on the study at King’s College London. Newbury added that they were unable to directly link the psychotic experiences of teens in the study with air pollution. Their findings, however, strongly suggest that these harmful chemicals are a contributing factor in the connection between urban populations and psychosis. It should be noted that the study took into account biological factors, and the scientists admitted that psychosocial mechanisms, such as stress, could also be at work. By 2050, experts estimate that over 70 percent of the world’s human population will be living in cities. With more and more people gravitating toward urban locations, it is vastly important that we discover why city dwellers are more susceptible to mental disorders. Although there are likely multiple connections to be made, the harmful gases and particles that commonly make up air quality should not be ignored. According to King’s College London , scientists hope to initiate more studies on the link between air pollution and psychosis, with long-term research being the key focal point. + Jama Psychiatry Via EcoWatch and  King’s College London Image via David Holt

View original post here: 
Teens exposed to air pollution more likely to experience psychotic episodes, new study says

A passive solar home embraces nature with a reduced footprint

April 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on A passive solar home embraces nature with a reduced footprint

Walls of glass pull the outdoors in at the Lake Manitouwabing Residence, a new four-season family residence designed by MJMA (MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects) to replace a 1930s abode. Located in the Ontario town of McKellar, the contemporary house was engineered to embrace indoor-outdoor living without compromising energy savings. To that end, the architects designed the house to take advantage of passive heating and cooling and integrated energy-saving technologies such as concrete radiant floor heating and low-E glazing. Set on a west-facing peninsula, the Lake Manitouwabing Residence blends into the pine-studded landscape with its low-lying profile, flat roofs and dark timber cladding. The home is oriented to the south and west for warmth, natural light and views of the lake, which are captured through full-height glazing that wraps around the living areas for fluid indoor/outdoor spaces. The expansive home covers nearly 3,000 square feet of space laid out in a U-shaped floor plan that wraps around a central courtyard punctuated by a uniquely cleft rock. “The project was developed around the goal of enhanced outdoor living and social gathering,” the architects explained in a statement. “A rectangular plan is carved to create interlocking outdoor terrace and courtyard spaces featuring an expansive and levitating lake deck and screened porch. Extensive flat roofs recall warmer latitude mid-century precedents and float outward to frame the quintessential Canadian shield horizon.” Related: Santa Barbara home is surrounded by wooden screens for natural climate control Deep overhangs jut out over the walls of glass along the home’s south and west sides to mitigate unwanted solar heat gain in the summer while allowing light and warmth to come through in winter. In contrast, the north and east facades are mostly opaque and heavily insulated to protect against winds and heat loss. Low-E glazing and an R-35 roof combined with a high-efficiency boiler, HRV and convection wood stove optimize energy efficiency. + MJMA Via ArchDaily Photography by Shai Gil via MJMA

More here:
A passive solar home embraces nature with a reduced footprint

Anti-pollution skincare products: Everything you need to know

April 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Anti-pollution skincare products: Everything you need to know

Anti-pollution skincare products are the latest trend in the skincare industry. As people battle an increasingly toxic atmosphere, these products promise to combat harmful particles associated with pollution in major cities. These products work by cleansing the skin from nanoparticles that are absorbed from the air or by creating a protective barrier that acts as a shield against pollutants. But just how effective are anti-pollution skincare products? The need for pollution protection The call for beauty products that are anti-pollution has significantly increased as city dwellers around the world continue to battle poor air quality . The micro-particles present in pollution have been proven to age skin at a rate similar to the sun, leading many people to look for ways to protect their body. Online searches for skincare products that are anti-pollution have gone up some 73 percent this year alone. This shows how much people are concerned about the aging effects of pollution and how it harms skin. Related: Add this all-in-one natural skincare to your bathroom counter “We’re seeing an increasing global demand for skincare which counters pollution-related skin concerns including dull skin, inflammation, sensitized skin, blemishes, clogged pores and accelerated ageing,” Dr. Anna Persaud, the head of This Works makeup company, explained. Pollution causes skin issues Studies have shown that certain pollutants in the atmosphere can lead to skin-related problems. The University of British Columbia lead a study that connected nitrogen dioxide to dark spots on the skin. Nitrogen dioxide is a result of car exhaust and emissions from power plants. While people are more aware of the harmful effects of pollution, cities continue to battle poor air quality. In fact, the World Health Organization released a study in 2016 that showed how air pollution had increased eight percent over the previous five years. In densely populated cities around the world – such as Delhi and Beijing – the public is often warned about hazardous levels of air pollution. Indoor pollution is also a growing issue Air quality indoors is also something people need to be concerned about when it comes to skincare. Indoor pollution comes from a variety of sources, from cooking and heating to cleaning products that off-gas into the environment, all of which can damage the health of your skin. With people battling pollution at every turn, there is little wonder that the anti-pollution skincare industry has grown so much over the past decade. How does anti-pollution skincare work? Products that are marketed as anti-pollution help shield the skin from harmful dust particles, very similar to how sunscreens work. Other skincare products remove pollutants from the skin after you have been exposed. The most popular of these types of products are beauty masks, which cleanse the skin at a deeper level than traditional masks. Peach and Lilly , for example, offer a series of anti-pollution masks and other products that are aimed at reducing the effects of microparticles. While these products can remove harmful nanoparticles, there are no scientific studies to back up their effectiveness. The lack of data is largely due to the fact that anti-pollution skincare has not been around long. Another factor is that the products are only used once a day, and after the masks are removed the skin is once again open for exposure. Tips for choosing the best anti-pollution skincare products While masks can remove pollutants in the short-term, leave-on products are the best way to combat microparticles in the atmosphere. These types of products will protect you for longer durations of time and prevent your skin from coming into contact with harmful particles in the first place. You can also look for products that contain high levels of probiotics. These chemicals can help build up the skin’s natural defenses and form a barrier against pollution-related skin issues. That is not to say that anti-pollution masks are not beneficial, but they do leave the skin open to future attacks. The science behind anti-pollution skincare A lot of the anti-pollution skincare products feature vitamin C as the main ingredient. Vitamin C can lighten skin tone – which helps combat those dark spots linked to pollution – and decreases discoloration. Another common ingredient in these types of products are antioxidants, many of which are actually backed by science. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of studies that prove barrier products are effective at keeping particles from invading your skin. That does not mean they do not work, but more studies need to be done to prove just how effective they are in creating a pollution barrier. Given the popularity of these types of products , it won’t be long before additional research is completed. Fighting pollution While products that protect the skin are great, the bigger issue is fighting pollution at its source. Many cities are initiating eco-friendly policies to help curb emissions, but more work needs to be done if we are serious about combating the effects pollution has on our health. Unfortunately, companies that manufacture anti-pollution skincare products have little motivation to fight pollution at a large scale, as doing so would ultimately hurt their bottom line. Via The Guardian , Racked Images via Rawpixel , Moose Photos , Stux ,  AdinaVoicu ,  joiseyshowaa

See the rest here:
Anti-pollution skincare products: Everything you need to know

UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW

March 18, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW

The United Nations’ newest Global Environmental Outlook reinforces the worries of everyone concerned about the environment and our planet’s future. The 708-page report, released last week, examines human-inflicted woes on air, land and water. Scientists urge humans to immediately change their ways before we render Earth inhabitable. To those who have been paying attention to the planet’s decline, this report will not be news. But seeing all this human-wrought destruction in one enormous document makes for a grim, and even, shocking read. A few lowlights: Most land habitats have decreased in productivity for growing food and other vegetation; urban development and agriculture have claimed 40 percent of wetlands since 1970; water quality continues to worsen, due in part to chemical pollution; biodiversity is tanking, with many land, marine and freshwater species at risk for extinction; a third of the world’s people lack safe sanitation. Related: Air pollution is killing Europeans at an alarming rate With human population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, these problems will only increase. “The science is clear,” Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of U.N. Environment, said in a briefing. “The health and prosperity of humanity is directly tied with the state of our environment .” If we don’t change our ways soon, she said, the problem won’t be reversible. Changes in consumption, energy creation and waste disposal are crucial. Fortunately, the new UN report also contains solutions. For example, changing agricultural practices and redistributing food could help stem land degradation and biodiversity loss. More efficiently using and storing water, and investing in desalination, could improve the water scarcity situation. But it will take more than well-meaning individuals to reverse Earth’s fast track toward destruction. Politicians and policy makers around the world will need to join together to devise and enforce strategies to stabilize and improve water , air and land quality before it’s too late. Via National Geographic Image via 

Here is the original:
UN predicts dire future for planet unless people change their ways NOW

Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

March 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

A new study shows that close to 2,000 sites across the U.K. have poor air quality due to excess pollution. The cities most affected by high levels of toxic gas were in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, all of which were tested well beyond what is considered safe. One of the main culprits behind the alarming numbers is nitrogen dioxide, a gas that is considered one of the most harmful of urban pollutants. Kensington, Chelsea, Leeds and Doncaster all tested high in nitrogen dioxide in 2017. This gas irritates lungs and creates breathing issues. One of the main sources of nitrogen dioxide is vehicle emissions. Related: Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok Earlier this week, London’s mayor announced a pollution alert as residents in the country enjoyed a rare warm spell for February. The warning was the first of its kind since last summer and was precipitated by light winds and lack of storms, which usually help drive away harmful gases. While poor air quality is a major issue across the country, London is about to initiate a plan to help clean things up. The city is establishing an ultra-low emission area in central London that will vastly improve air quality. The initiative is expected to remove around 45 percent of emissions by this spring. The researches who conducted the study are part of a group called Friends of the Earth. Based on their findings, the group called for better emission standards throughout the country and are urging ministers to tighten up government control. “It’s unforgivable that across the UK there are nearly 2,000 locations over air quality limits, leaving millions of us breathing dangerously polluted air,” one of the researchers, Simon Bowens, explained. Air pollution has been previously linked to major health problems in human populations, including heart disease, dementia and even miscarriages. Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution, which can damage lungs and even impact intelligence levels. If London’s new program is successful, hopefully other cities will follow suit and start improving air quality before it becomes an even bigger problem. Via The Guardian Images via Foto-Rabe

More:
Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants

February 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants

IKEA has discovered a unique way to decrease indoor pollutants with a new air purifying curtain. The Sweden-based company has developed a material that absorbs and breaks down hazardous substances in a process similar to photosynthesis in order to improve indoor air quality. Atmospheric pollution is a major issue across the planet, especially in dense, urban environments. Scientists estimate that close to 90 percent of the world’s population lives in areas that suffer from poor air quality . IKEA hopes that its new curtain, called the GUNRID, will help reduce those numbers and cut down on air pollutants in homes. Related: IKEA and Little Sun team up to design sustainable, off-grid tools “Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that GUNRID will increase people’s awareness of indoor air pollution , inspiring behavioral changes that contribute to a world of clean air,” Lena Pripp-Kovac, IKEA’s head of sustainability, shared. According to IKEA , the curtain was developed using state-of-the-art technology that is akin to how plants naturally filter air. The chemicals that filter pollutants are activated via light, both artificial and natural sunlight. IKEA worked with scientists in Asia and Europe to develop the curtain and hopes to use the same technology in other products down the road. IKEA has a long history of developing eco-friendly practices. For the past several years, the company has been reducing the use of hazardous materials in its factories, which has greatly decreased its carbon footprint. The company plans to further cut its impact on the environment by 70 percent over the next decade. The furniture outlet has also put in place several initiatives to combat air pollution . This includes the Better Air Now! Program, which recycles rice straw and turns it into materials that are used in IKEA products. Farmers usually burn rice straw, producing fumes that decrease air quality in regions across the globe. Customers will be able to purchase the GUNRID curtain at some point in 2020. It is unclear how many future products will feature the same technology, but it will be interesting to see what IKEA comes up with. Hopefully, other companies will follow IKEA’s lead and develop air purifying products of their own. + IKEA Images via IKEA

Read more:
IKEA’s new air purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants

Environmental activists to take legal action against US Steel for polluting

February 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Environmental activists to take legal action against US Steel for polluting

Environmentalists are taking legal action against United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) because of pollution in Pittsburg’s Mon Valley. The Clean Air Council and PennEnvironment are suing the steel manufacturer for violating the Clean Air Act after a fire broke out at a facility in Clairton, Pennsylvania. “We cannot expect families to sustain this kind of health burden and trauma, and we cannot expect kids to learn, grow and flourish when they are confined to their homes, unable to breathe,” the head of PennEnvironment, Ashleigh Deemer, explained in a statement. Related: California’s largest utility company plans massive sale of natural gas division Deemer added that the fire only highlighted ongoing issues at the U.S. Steel factory. The PennEnvironment director said that pollution has affected the health of local residents long before the fire broke out, and significant updates to the plant are needed to remedy the situation. According to Trib Live , the environmentalists claim the fire made it impossible to filter gas from the facility’s coke oven. The groups believe this violates the Clean Air Act and plan to file a lawsuit if the company refuses to comply. Per the updated legislation, U.S. Steel has 60 days to respond to the notice before the lawsuit is filed. In order to avoid litigation, U.S. Steel will need to update three different facilities in the Mon Valley region. This includes Clairton Coke Works, Edgar Thomson Plant and Irvin Steel Mill. At the top of its priority list is to ensure gas emissions are properly filtered at each facility. U.S. Steel acknowledged that it received the notice and is reviewing the options. The company released a statement about complying with local and state officials to ensure its facilities are not damaging the environment . The manufacturer is currently repairing fire damage at the Clairton facility and plans to be running at around 70 percent of its normal volume by mid-March. Despite the company’s statement, residents in the Mon Valley are unhappy with how U.S. Steel has handled the fire. Residents hope that the lawsuit will push the company to do something about its pollution problem and ultimately improve the quality of air in the region. Via Trib Live Image via Olafpictures

Read more from the original source: 
Environmental activists to take legal action against US Steel for polluting

Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok

January 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok

Officials in Bangkok have closed schools for the rest of the week amid growing concerns of toxic smog . The Ministry of Education in Thailand announced the closing of around 450 schools in Bangkok and the surrounding area this week as the government tries to deal with a massive pollution problem. The air quality in the city of Bangkok has dipped to unacceptable levels. The amount of dust particles — also referred to as PM2.5 — deemed dangerous to health has far exceeded acceptable standards. This fine particulate matter is hazardous to health , because it is tiny enough to enter the body and do considerable damage to organs. Related: Scientists find air pollution leads to a significant decline in cognition According to The Guardian , the massive amount of pollution is caused by poor construction standards, car exhaust, factory fumes and crop burning. The pollution is so large in scale that it is unable to escape the city, leaving people trapped in a toxic environment. To combat the situation, residents in Bangkok have been wearing respirator masks to avoid inhaling the fine particles. The government, which has been under considerable criticism for not actively fighting pollution , has attempted to make it rain in the city by seeding clouds. The rain helps fight pollution by trapping the toxic particles. Officials have also sprayed water in strategic locations to help decrease the amount of dangerous particles in the air . Residents have been avoiding burning incense, which is a popular activity over the Chinese New Year. Despite their efforts, authorities were forced to close down 437 schools in Bangkok. They also declared a “control area” around the city that is over 580 square miles in size. Officials hope that closing schools will help alleviate some of the traffic and reduce vehicle emissions. “The situation will be bad until February 3 to 4, so I decided to close schools,” Aswin Kwanmuang, the governor of Bangkok, shared. School authorities plan to look at the situation next week to determine if the closing should be extended. The air quality index in Bangkok was measured at 171 this week, which is the highest it has been in more than a year. Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

More:
Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1055 access attempts in the last 7 days.