Enter the Clean Air Zone!

Politicians and lay people alike both talk and argue about the effects of the environment on Americans. Clean air and clean living have become trendy issues in the past decade. Green homes, recycling, and hybrid cars are just a few of the ways that people can help make our air a little bit cleaner. With harsh effects of polluted air such asthma and other respiratory problems, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself against the dangerous effects of polluted air. One organization, the Clean Air Task Force, is doing just that.

The Clean Air Task Force is based out of Boston and was formed in 1996. Their primary goal is outlined as such: “To enact federal policy to reduce the pollutants from America’s coal-fired power plants that cause respiratory death and disease, smog, acid rain, and haze.” This group of researchers, advocates, and private sector contributors are working towards getting the American people to truly understand the negative health effects that coal and diesel emissions have.

For example, diesel trucks can pose a serious health risk to pedestrians as it is emitted at ground level. As the CATF explained, “Diesel exhaust is comprised of microscopic carbon soot particles that act to absorb metals and other toxic substances in the exhaust. When inhaled by humans, these tiny, toxic-laden particles cross the blood barrier from lungs into the bloodstream, delivering the toxics to internal organs and leading to inflammation and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases…”

Diesel exhaust leads to approximately 400,000 asthma attacks a year. To get an idea of how much diesel exhaust is released by a local school bus, check out these videos. The first shows an ordinary school bus, while the second is fitted with a diesel filter.

The diesel filter makes a huge difference in the amount of emissions released into the air. The same goes for your indoor air quality. As the CATF has shown us, air pollution is a serious problem and has significant health effects on Americans today. If you are concerned about pollutants and allergens in your home, it is important to equip your home with the proper filters. It is paramount that you change your HVAC filter regularly, and a higher MERV rating, the better. These filters will help to remove particles and mold spores, keeping them out of the air you breathe.

Another way to protect the air you breathe inside your home is to use an air purifier. These will assist in the removal of bacteria and germs that are found in your home, protecting you and your family from sickness. While solving the world’s pollution problems may be very far off, cleaning the air in your home is an inexpensive way for you and your family to stay healthy. While the CATF does their part, it is important that we do ours!

NASA Plans to Develop Eco-Friendly Airplanes

NASA is investing millions into the effort of creating more eco-friendly airplanes for cleaner air. The project is called N+3 and looks ahead three generations into the future of aircraft design – calling for developments completed by 2030 to 2035. As with most technological innovations these days, less is more. The planes will use 70 percent less fuel, emit 75 percent less nitrous oxide, create less noise pollution and require less space for takeoff and landing. A similar initiative, N+2 also calls for greater fuel efficiency (50 percent less consumption), but looks toward completion in the nearer future – 2020 to 2025.

Airlines are currently attempting to retrofit planes to make them more efficient, which costs less than building new planes from scratch. Plans for a solar powered airplane with zero emissions – the most efficient aircraft possible – are also underway.

This is not NASA’s first effort to be environmentally conscious. Recently, astronauts developed a system that recycles urine for drinking water during space travel.