Clean Air Day and World Refrigeration Day – Two Dates For Your Diary

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Two dates for your diary in June. Clean Air Day and World Refrigeration Day.

Clean Air Day – Raising Public Awareness of Air Pollution

This year’s Clean Air Day on the 20 June looks to raise public awareness of air pollution.

Tessa Bartholomew-Good, the Head of Campaigns for Clean Air Programmes at Global Action Polan states: “Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to your health, no matter who you are or where you live. It can harm every organ in your body, causing heart and lung disease, dementia, and strokes. But the good news is that the solutions to our air pollution problem already exist.” She went onto explain: “This Clean Air Day, join people across the country in calling on the next government to clean up our air – together we can make every day a Clean Air Day.”

Paul McDonald the Chief Campaigns Officer at health Equals adds: “Our health is shaped by the world around us: where we live, work and play; But we know that change is possible, which is why we are proud to be working in partnership with Global Action Plan to deliver Clean Air Day and call on politicians to act now to clean up our air and stop lives from being cut short.”

Catherine Noakes, a Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at the University of Leeds and a specialist in airborne infections and the transport of airborne pathogens promoted Clean Air day via X saying:Today it’s #CleanAirDay so here’s a reminder that your indoor air is as important (if not more so) than outdoor air. We spend up to 90% of time indoors so most air pollution exposure happens inside buildings…. We’re also exposed to biological particles in air. Some are harmless (and may even be beneficial) but some like infectious viruses or mould in homes can pose significant health risks… There’s growing evidence that indoor air really matters. As well as direct respiratory health such as infections and asthma, indoor air quality is linked to allergies, cancers, heart health, dementia, mental health and also affects productivity, performance and sleep… Effective ventilation is really important for reducing infection transmission - it doesn’t just dilute and remove virus but the CO2 in the air from human breathing in poorly ventilated rooms may even lead to the virus surviving for longer.”

Clean Air Day highlights the need to tackle outdoor pollution which has a direct impact on airborne contaminants found indoors. With high levels of outdoor pollution, it falls to indoor Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to filter out airborne contaminants in the home, in the leisure industry and the workplace.

Health and Wellbeing Dependent On Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to air pollution the UK government reports “The annual mortality of human-made air pollution in the UK is roughly equivalent to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths every year.” It goes onto say that “It is estimated that between 2017 and 2025 the total cost to the NHS and social care system of air pollutants (fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide), for which there is more robust evidence for an association, will be £1.6 billion.”

We also know that air pollution results in an estimated 6 million sick days in the UK each year.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) research article “The impact of exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance examined the effect of “cumulative and transitory exposures to air pollution for the same individuals over time on cognitive performance by matching a nationally representative longitudinal survey and air quality data” and found that air pollution impairs verbal tests and increases cognitive decline.

The World Economic Forum’s article “Here’s how to improve indoor air quality and why it matters” states that “indoor air quality in our homes can drastically affect our health” and explains that the air quality in our homes affects our health leading to a variety of health conditions including anxiety and depression.

A Guardian newspaper article backs up the idea that depression and anxiety can be the result of high pollution levels. A study by researchers from the universities of Oxford and Beijing and Imperial College London showed a link between “UK air pollution and mental ill-health”. By tracking the incidence of depression in around 500,000 UK adults researchers identified 13,131 cases of depression and 15,835 of anxiety. As air pollution increased, they found that the number of cases of depression and anxiety also increased. The data also pointed to the fact that “long-term exposure to low levels of pollution were just as likely to lead to diagnoses as exposure to higher levels.”

Benefits Of Cleaner Air

Modelling and research projects have been carried out looking at the benefits of improved indoor air quality.

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) “Air quality in the workplace – [is] the most important environmental issue you probably weren’t aware of” and say that “improving office air quality can generate significant benefits for individuals.”

The CBI state that modelling for improved workplace air quality through a 95% reduction in particle (PM10) concentrations can boost London employees’ levels of productivity by up to 15% which results in an additional worker output of over £17,000. They also explain that improved health and wellbeing leads to healthier workforce which in turn results in reduced absences, increased productivity, increased creativity and higher staff retention. The CBI also state that taking these “London” results and scaling up to a city-wide level could result in an “additional £38bn of economic activity to the London economy, boosting overall output by between 4% and 8%.”

The British medical Journal published an article “Changes in exposure to ambient fine particulate matter after relocating and long term survival in Canada: quasi-experimental study” which showed that moving to an different area which has improved air quality results in decreased mortality.

The University of Oxford’s “Long term study reveals public health benefits from air pollution reductions” led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) examined the levels of air pollutants between 1970 and 2010 and found that PM2.5 (fine particulate matter such as soot), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions reduced by between 58% and 93%. Alongside these findings the numbers of deaths attributed to air pollution decreased, “for PM2.5 the attributable fraction of mortality fell from 11.83% to 5.21%. For NO2 it fell from 5.32% to 2.96%.”

World Refrigeration Day – #TemperatureMatters….Absolutely

This years World Refrigeration Day is being held on the 26 June, the 200th anniversary of Lord Kelvin’s birthdate, whose legacy includes the absolute temperature scale.

Previous #WRefD themes have included “Cold Chain 4 Life” which covered the importance of the refrigerated cold chain in food safety and security and human health; “Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World” which focussed on careers in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pumps industry with the goal of inspiring students and professionals to come into the industry to tackle the need for new technologies and provide innovation to move the sector forward; "Cooling Matters" raising awareness of the benefits and impacts of cooling and "Next Generation Cooling" whose purpose was to raise awareness of how the cooling industry was evolving and looking to the future to meet the challenges being faced with regards to climate change and the need for low carbon cooling solutions with the goal of pushing refrigeration innovation and technologies forward.

The 2024 theme is “Temperature Matters” and emphasises the importance of temperature control throughout our daily lives. It explores all aspects of refrigeration, air conditioning and “indoor environmental quality”. World Refrigeration day 2024 will also cover heat pump technologies and decarbonisation. Heat pumps will play a vital part in worldwide low-carbon heating strategies and are an example of how the sector is playing a critical role in cooling and heating and in global decarbonisation efforts.

World Refrigeration Day 2024 will highlight global initiatives and various projects aimed at informing the public about air conditioning, refrigeration, and heat pumps e.g. the UK Institute of Refrigeration (IOR) will run a Masterclass which will focus on Energy Optimization in Refrigeration Systems including the top five things you can do, as a Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heat Pump (RACHP) engineer, to conserve energy and reduce consumption and a webinar, panel discussion about “The Incredible Impact of Lord Kelvin”.

Stephen Gill, the founder of World Refrigeration Day explains: “WRD 2024 aims to foster global recognition and discussion about the wide-scale significance of the sector’s work and sector’s wide-ranging impact.” #WRefD will promote career opportunities in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump sectors.

Mr Gill went onto say: “The importance of temperature connects us all, no matter where we live. Temperature control is essential for more than just our comfort and health in homes and workplaces. It’s crucial for preserving food and medicines, and it plays a vital role in many industrial processes at both high and extremely low temperatures. Temperature can mean the difference between life and death;  temperature matters – absolutely.”

Air quality and temperature play a vital role in our everyday lives. You’d be surprised by just how many ways air conditioning and refrigeration are used in today’s world /. Like many technologies we take them for granted until they break down.   

Expert Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Installation and Support

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