In the past the convergence of air pollution and public health policy was an afterthought lacking considerate backing. With the aftermath of historical air pollution incidences worldwide, coupled with the advent of new monitoring technologies and published studies, the tides have progressively shifted; labeling air pollution as a public safety issue deserving attention as a real socioeconomic hindrance.
The global populous has more than doubled since the 1960’s. And with 81 million being added annually, a lack of stringent trans-boundary air quality regulatory measures and enforcement, the ingredients for moderate to severe outdoor air quality conditions are well primed. With strong evidence supporting small particulate matter as a primary culprit inducing severe to fatal respiratory issues as well as host of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. WHO’s 2012 report of 7 million global deaths attributed prolonged exposure to ambient air pollution, accounting for one in eight global deaths is “not only based on more knowledge about the diseases, but also on better assessment of exposure with improved measurements and technology” says Dr.Flavia (WHO’s assistant director for general family health). “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe. The risks are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” says Dr. Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health.
So what’s next on the clean air agenda? An informed public, with actionable information down to the individual, incorporated into a social network on the global scale. In other words, a platform enabling users to identify environmental hazards in real time, incorporated into a peer to peer social network. Dramatically accelerating the rate in which changes in the environment are delivered.
Fortunately adaptable environmental technologies currently exist, or are under development which range across a wide array of applications. At the tip of the iceberg, there is the outlet of the smart phone. Users are now empowered with the capacity to have real time air quality updates. And, more importantly, where you should go and what you can do to minimize your exposure. This so called “flattening” of the air IT world has a promising contribution to the mix of adaptable technologies tailored to improving public health. BreezoMeter is at the head of this development.