At present the main cause of global warming is environmental pollution. The effects of environmental pollution are felt worldwide. Prolonged extreme temperature levels in summer and winter, wildfires in Europe, Australia, and North America, seasonal changes, prolonged droughts and famines, and exposure to industrial waste and fumes have resulted in disease.
The effects of environmental pollution are alarmingly uncontrolled. However, technologists are using their knowledge to help reverse the effects of environmental pollution when the future looks bleak.
This article discusses various technologies used in various fields to reduce or eliminate environmental pollution.
Ways technology is helping to eliminate environmental pollution
Following are some of the ways in which people are using technology to reduce environmental pollution;
Electric vehicles to reduce vehicle emissions
Since the invention of the automobile, the use of fuels such as petrol and diesel has raised concerns about long-term effects. Internal combustion engines in petrol and diesel vehicles emit carbon dioxide (co2) as a by-product.
Greenhouse gases trap heat below the ozone layer, promoting higher temperatures on Earth. The gas cools the stratosphere, slows the process of ozone depletion, and damages the ozone layer by increasing ozone levels.
The electric car does not use an internal combustion engine but a rechargeable battery. The innovation is estimated to reduce diesel vehicle emissions by 43% and reduce global warming by around 1.50C. Electric cars cannot produce environmentally harmful emissions; However, the car uses electric powered batteries that generate electricity mainly from fossil fuels. With this in mind, electric cars still cause environmental pollution.
Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to improve water quality
Water pollution is a global concern as humans and marine animals feel its effects greatly. Large water bodies such as seas and oceans are affected by uncontrolled chemical disposal by large companies.
Many manufacturing plants located near water bodies choose to dump untreated effluents into these water bodies. As ships transport fuel from port to port, there is also an increase in marine traffic and oil spills. This has affected the blue economy of countries like China, whose fish have almost halved. Municipalities are also responsible, as city sewage is directed to water bodies
GIS systems enable the collection and storage of spatial data for water bodies, allowing experts to detect and manage changes in mineral and pH levels. The system will enable experts to model sewage systems, groundwater and non-point water pollution. This computer application is easy to access remotely as it is operated via satellite.
In the past, sharing an Uber with a stranger was unheard of. Still, lately, people are adopting it to help save money, use the car efficiently, and reduce environmental pollution in the process.
Owning a car in a busy city is not practical as it will lead to more traffic and carbon emissions. Many companies, such as Penske Corp, have embraced car sharing by making their cars available to clients at convenient locations throughout DC for rent through their Penske Dash app.
Companies have also reduced electricity use and heat, reducing fossil-fuel power generation. These small changes can prove very beneficial over time. However, they face criticism as the demand for electricity and heat in the house increases, which counteracts the positive steps taken.
With the rise of the Covid pandemic, many companies have switched to working remotely. This has made many people realize the power of working from home, saving on rent and fuel costs. This results in less traffic and reduced carbon emissions.
However, not all of us are lucky enough to work remotely, so if you still go to work, you can make sure you’re not contributing to environmental pollution by using an e-bike. Compared to regular bikes, e-bikes are faster, environmentally friendly and ensure that you don’t get delayed by traffic, thus reaching work on time.
It was noted that during the pandemic, the rate of carbon emissions in the United States decreased significantly when the government forced people to stop their movements unless necessary.
Use of fuel cells and single-cycle gas turbines
For clean power generation, fuel cells and single-cycle gas turbines have been developed. These systems ensure the efficiency of converting fuel into electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It has a separate anode and cathode, which allows carbon dioxide to separate from the system. The systems are highly reliable and durable and can be integrated into landfill gas and digesters.
Municipal water use remote sensing technology.
Have you heard of water accounting? The phrase means that water projects should account for every drop of water. As a result of deforestation and prolonged drought, this sensitive system helps municipal governments to use water more effectively with current water insecurity.
The sensing technology is cheap because it is satellite powered, and its data is accessible through internet platforms like Google. The data is continuously republished to the cloud and provides high-resolution images.
Integrating these images and graphic presentation sheets helps water resources experts understand water use and reporting, giving areas water balances.
As a result of human activities, wildlife has had to adapt to a changing climate, with some animals poised for extinction. Environmental scientists, however, are taking measures to save nearly extinct animals. For example, African Wildlife Services has implemented a GPS collar to track some of these animals Such measures have helped mitigate poaching and promote access to these animals when needed.
There have also been gene sequencing studies that help save endangered species from deadly diseases like cancer. This sequencing also prompted the development of a predictive analytical system that allows ecologists to study different animal species and their adaptability.
There are also SIM-based collars that allow conservationists to locate animals in human habitats, thereby reducing human-wildlife conflicts.
Creation of artificial trees
Deforestation is another environmental issue that governments have tackled over the years. Many trees have been cut down to make way for urban and agricultural development. This has led to drying up of water sources, lack of oxygen and water erosion.
The technologists employed their scientific counterparts to develop the SuperTree, an artificial tree that helps produce oxygen. The plant uses water filtration to take in at least 200,000 cm3 of polluted air and deliver clean, breathable oxygen. Although expensive, this plant has produced excellent fruit in places like Peru and Lima. A Supertree can set back a municipality by at least 100,000 sterling.
Online data storage to reduce paper wastage
Due to the demand for paper in the past years, industries cut down many trees to meet the demand. This has promoted negative impacts such as soil erosion and silting up of rivers.
With paperless technology, however, the need for paper is effectively reduced. Demand for hard cash has also declined as countries adopt digital currencies with apps like PayPal and use credit and debit cards as the most common means of transactions. Such measures have not only reduced deforestation but also reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Use of solar energy as renewable energy
Solar energy is a cheap and safe alternative to fossil fuel or hydroelectric power. Many households are using this technology to reduce the cost of their electricity bills, with some converting entirely to solar power.
Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that can convert sunlight energy directly into current to charge bulbs and electrical devices. This type of energy is considered the most renewable resource.
International Methane Remote Observatory
This research technique is used to understand the source of methane, a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. This research institute is funded by UNEP and receives data from satellites, past scientific studies and ground-based sensors. The observatory funds research on methane and has engaged petroleum companies in research projects.
Use of genetically engineered organisms for waste management
In the past, human populations relied solely on natural microorganisms to break down waste. These organisms cannot treat industrial waste, sewage or oil spills. Genetically engineered organisms modified to break down what appeared to be non-degradable. These include industrial wastes, petroleum spills and fungicides.
Genetically engineered organisms (GEOs), also known as bio-remediation, are gaining ground in many US industries to aid in waste management because they are relatively cost-effective due to the lack of post-cleanup costs. The technology, however, faces skepticism as it has not been used before and may have unforeseen risks.
Use of aerial photography for environmental compliance monitoring
Aerial photography is an excellent way to visualize and interpret data in any landscape study. Aerial survey provides evidence based on photographs. Pictures can be taken at any time and provide a way for unscrupulous industries to be held accountable
Tiny house development
The idea behind tiny houses is to reduce energy consumption and keep waste generation to a minimum. People living in these tiny houses lead a minimalist lifestyle. Most tend to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles, thereby reducing pollution.
These include using solar panels, less building materials, compostable toilets and energy-efficient appliances.
Technology in environmental conservation is a magical platform filled with endless opportunities. For this sector to reach its full potential, technologists need significant funding that enables research.
The International Methane Observatory, for example, has made great strides in mitigating against methane production with financial backup from UNEP. Using technology, even in small ways, like switching to solar panels, makes a huge difference to the environment.
What technological changes have you made to reduce environmental pollution?
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