London, UK currently uses something called dust suppressants, which are chemicals that temporarily lower the airborne pollutants in specific areas. According to the ARSTechnica.com website, The Campaign for Clean Air in London (CAL) claims that this is a “fraud” to the public health system.
Part of the reason this may be quite the “hot topic” now is because of the upcoming London Olympic Games 2012. If the air pollution levels are too high according to the International Olympic Committee, London, UK could be looking at some hefty fines.
The European Commission currently has legal limits for the PM10 pollution levels (very fine particles) and in London a certain limit called 50pm/m3 can only be exceeded 35 times in a calendar year. The days when this happens are called Bad Air Days. The UK’s final deadline for compliance was in June 2011, after repeated extensions. This could cost them 300 million pounds in fines, the The Campaign for Clean Air in London states they would be passed on to London by the Localism Act 2011. This with the Olympic fines would be a significant amount in fines for poor air quality.
A solution made from calcium magnesium acetate that is applied using gritting machines, otherwise used to keep the roads from icing over in the winter. The solution works by having the PM10 particles stick to the roads so that once they stick, they are no longer airborne. The solution can work to reduce PM10 in a specific area for about 24 hours. But The Campaign for Clean Air in London claims the solution has also been used in addition to warnings about smog and legal breaches and they state that this is “public health fraud.”
The fact that this solution exists in London, UK is quite exciting for the future of improving air quality. While for now it has a temporary – about 24 hours – effect, just imagine if scientists are able to create one that has a longer or even a permanent effect. If they have been able to create one with these results, the possibility does exist for even further developments.
London has found some success using the solution that reduces the PM10 for 24 hours. While there may be some debate about where they are using it, there is no debate that is does work successfully. Air quality experts will certainly watch this international issue with great interest. London is a big city, and smog and other air quality challenges do occur. But knowing they have a solution that has worked for them to some degree is promising news.
While this solution has not been able to do everything, it speaks volumes for the potential of what is to come. Many large and even smaller cities have daily challenges with air quality. If this solution was created successfully, then other solutions that can work like this chemical combination put on the roads or in other methods can be invented. Knowing that our families and future generations will breathe better air is a very inspiring thought indeed.