Air pollution knows no boundaries

When I was younger and keenly aware that the planet was on the brink, I used to think the solution was easy. Simply get away from the mess. Find a place far away from the crush and the filth and just let it all go to hell. It (us) wasn’t worth fighting for any more.
That was not only selfish, but quite foolish too.

While I’m still rather cynical about humanity, it was a few years back when climate change was really becoming an issue that it dawned on me that we are really all in this together, there’s no escape. The Eden of my imagination, my refuge, was likely going to become just as ravaged as the big cities.
The coal fired power plant in China belching emissions affects us all, as does the effluent of the factories in the USA and the activities of the smelters of Australia – for better or for worse, we are all interconnected.
The nuclear accident at Chernobyl back in the 80’s was a good example – and it’s still affecting some countries decades on.
An article on Science Daily refers to a recent report that found evidence all sorts of nasty pollutants including DDT and mercury can be transported across the Northern Hemisphere, dumping significant concentrations to downwind continents. Visible evidence of  migratory air pollution is the well documented phenomenon called the Asian Brown Cloud.

So while we’re simply tsk tsk’ing about pollution in other countries (yet still demanding cheap products from some of them), we need to bear in mind its not necessarily someone else’s problem that won’t affect us or our own local environment – and the problem is far bigger than just climate change. Our indignation is only justified with action on our own part to minimize our contribution to the environmental carnage.

We also need to bring pressure to bear upon those who can make the changes to industrial practices causing our planet’s demise; or at the very least, our ability to continue to thrive upon the face of it.

It’s a small world after all.

Learn more about air pollution.