As the world fights to make progress against COVID-19, countless stories have been written about the impact the virus is having on the world. While most stories are justifiably negative, some positive, there’s one storyline that is genuinely difficult to react to as it has both a positive and negative storyline. Air pollution.
Separate from COVID-19, air pollution is plaguing people all around the world, putting them at health risks by no fault of their own, solely based on where they were born and live. The stories are tragic:
- Air pollution responsible for 50% of childhood asthma cases
- Air pollution costs the world $900 billion every year
- 40,000 kids die each year before their fifth birthday due to exposure to air pollution
- Cross state air pollution responsible for up-to 360,000 premature deaths per year in the United States
Making matters more pressing now, however, is COVID-19. Since the virus attacks the respiratory system, increased exposure to air pollution likely puts people at a more significant risk of fighting the virus. But something is happening right now all across the world. Some might say it’s one of the oddly positive impacts of COVID-19. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, air pollution all around the world has drastically improved.
- Air pollution declines in Spain amidst COVID-19
- Air quality is improving in countries in quarantine
- Air pollution falls to record lows
- China’s lockdown drastically reduces air pollution
- Air pollution lower in Italy during Coronavirus
The list of articles goes on and on, but with less people commuting and being told to stay in their homes it’s making the air we breath healthier. So where does the world go from here? We will beat COVID-19 (thanks to the incredible work of the medical community) and life will get back on track, and while many will rejoice in the return to a safer and more “normal life,” others will see their health risks from air pollution start in to increase again. The more we win against COVID-19, the worse air pollution will become again – but there’s hope.
Often times people are simply uninformed about air pollution, which makes exposure hard to monitor and manage. Consider all the aspects of daily life where/when people could be warned or advised about air pollution in their local area.
- Smart Home: One of the easiest and most unassuming way to increase exposure to air pollution is by opening the windows. Simply opening the windows. Whether living in homes or apartment buildings, everyone likes to feel a cool breeze come through the window on a hot day, or get the relief of cool winds on a humid one. What they don’t often think about, is what times of day is best from air pollution risk standpoint to open the windows. There are times when it’s much safer to rely on heating or air conditioning (or just keeping the windows closed) when the air quality is hazardous, and by having implementing smart home technology people can ensure they’re always informed. With air quality technology, people can know exactly when it’s safe to open the windows and when to close them, keeping themselves and loved ones safer.
- Automotive: When it comes to driving and transportation, the more informed people are the better. For planning purposes, reducing risk, being more informed on the road keeps people safe. With air quality, our vehicles should be alerting us as to when air quality is low so that first and foremost the windows aren’t open. Additionally, vehicles can be equipped with smarter HVAC systems optimized for air pollution filtration and clean air to make sure the air quality inside the vehicle is safe for passengers and loved ones. This can be applied to cars, busses, trains, and all other types of transportation both public and private.
- Activities: People are going to go outside, it’s a way of life that will never change. Even those living in areas with low air quality and high air pollution are going to go outside. While we can’t stop people, we can help them make better decisions. What we ultimately want to solve for is helping people understand the best day of week and/or best time of day to do their favorite or planned activities. Offering this type of information allows people to engage in activities during the most ideal times. For instance, there are better times during the day to go outside when air pollution levels are at their lowest they’ll be all day. There are times when weather will impact air pollution seemingly out of nowhere. Informing people about what the best times of day are to go for a walk or a run will be reduce their exposure. In addition, providing alerts in real-time about when air pollution is about to get worse can help people avoid exposure by getting inside. We have the predictive technology to do this and help people plan their lives days in advance to reduce the impact on daily life while maximizing the opportunities to avoid risk.
To learn more about the steps you can take to implement Tomorrow.io’s leading air quality technology, see our unique perspective on what we call our health operations optimization platform, or HOOP for short. The technology is available to you to help make your customers more informed, safer, and healthier. Opportunities to build trust and loyalty with your customers are rare, and the brands that take the right steps with air quality and air pollution will be further cemented as industry leaders for decades to come.