Environmental pollution is the leading cause of global warming in the present day. The effects of environmental pollution are being felt worldwide. There have been prolonged extreme temperature levels during summer and winter, wildfires in Europe, Australia, and North America, changing seasons, prolonged drought and famine, and diseases from exposure to industrial waste and smoke.
The effects of environmental pollution are at an alarmingly uncontrollable level. However, technologists are using their knowledge to help reverse ecological pollution effects when the future looks gloomy.
This article discusses the different technologies used in various sectors to reduce or eliminate environmental pollution.
Ways Technology is Assisting in the Elimination of Environmental Pollution
Below are several ways people are using technology to eliminate environmental pollution;
Electric Cars to Mitigate Vehicle Emissions
Since the invention of cars, the use of fuels like petrol and diesel has built concern over the long-term effects. The internal combustion engines of petrol and diesel cars emit carbon dioxide (co2) as a by-product.
Greenhouse gases trap heat below the ozone layer, promoting high temperatures on earth. The gas also damages the ozone layer by cooling the stratosphere, slowing down the process of ozone loss, and increasing ozone levels.
The electric car does not use an internal combustion engine but a chargeable battery. This invention is estimated to reduce emissions by diesel vehicles by 43% and lower global warming temperatures by nearly 1.50C. The electric vehicle may not produce environmentally harmful emissions; however, the car uses electrically powered batteries that generate electric power 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 worldwide concern as people and sea animals heavily feel its effects. Large bodies of water, such as oceans and seas, are impacted by uncontrolled chemical disposal by large companies.
Many manufacturing plants near bodies of water opt to dump untreated waste into these water bodies. As vessels transport fuel from port to port, there have also been increased maritime traffic and oil spillages. This, in turn, affects the blue economy of countries such as China, whose fish have been reduced by nearly half. Municipalities are also to blame, as township sewage is directed to water bodies.
The GIS system enables the collection and storage of spatial data for bodies of water, allowing experts to detect and manage changes in mineral and pH levels. The system will enable experts to create model sewage systems, groundwater, and nonpoint water pollution. This computer application is easy to access remotely as it is operated via satellite.
In the past, it would be unheard of to share an uber with a stranger. Still, lately, people are embracing it to save money, efficiently utilize the vehicle, and in the process, help reduce environmental pollution.
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 rental through their Penske Dash app.
Companies have also cut electricity consumption and heat, reducing the production of fossil-fueled electricity. These small changes may prove very beneficial in time. They, however, face criticism because of increased demand for electricity and heat in homes, which counters the positive strides taken.
With the emergence of the Covid pandemic, many companies switched to working remotely. This made many people realize the power of working from home, saving the cost of fare and fuel. This resulted in less traffic and a reduction in carbon emissions.
However, we are not all lucky to work remotely, so if you still commute to work, you can ensure you are not contributing to environmental pollution by using an e-bike. Compared to regular bikes, e-bikes are faster, environmentally friendly, and ensure you are not delayed by traffic, thus arriving at work on time.
It was noted that during the pandemic, the rate of carbon emissions in the United States was significantly reduced after the government mandated people to stop their movements unless necessary.
Use of Fuel Cells and Single-Cycle Gas Turbines
To cleanly produce electricity, fuel cells and single-cycle gas turbines have been developed. These systems ensure efficiency in converting fuel to electricity, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. It has a separate anode and cathode, allowing carbon dioxide to separate from the system. The systems are highly reliable and durable and can integrate into landfill gas and digesters.
Remote Sensing Technology in Municipal Water Use.
Have you heard of water accounting? The phrase means that every drop of water in water projects should be accounted for. As a result of deforestation and prolonged periods of drought, this sensory system helps municipal governments use water more effectively with the current water insecurity.
The sensory technology is inexpensive as it is satellite operated, and its information is accessible via internet platforms such as Google. The data is constantly republished into the cloud and provides high-resolution images.
Combining these images and graphic representation sheets helps water resource experts understand water consumption and reporting, giving the areas water balance.
As a result of human activities, wildlife has had to adapt to the changing weather conditions, with some fauna ready to go extinct. Environmental scientists are, however, taking measures to save nearly extinct animals. For example, African wildlife services have implemented a GPS collar to track some of these animals. Such a system has assisted in mitigating poaching and promoting access to these animals when needed.
There have also been gene sequencing studies that help save endangered species from deadly diseases such as cancer. This sequencing has also prompted the development of a predictive analytic system that allows environmentalists to study different animal species and their adaptability.
There have also been sim-based collars that allow conservationists to trace animal whereabouts in human habitats, thereby reducing human-wildlife conflict.
Creation of the Artificial Trees
Deforestation is another environmental issue that governments have grappled with over the years. Many trees have been cut down to give way to urban and agricultural development. This has promoted the drying of water sources, lack of oxygen, and water erosion.
Technologists have engaged their scientific counterparts to develop the supertree, an artificial tree that aids oxygen production. The tree uses water filtration to take in at least 200,000 cm3 of polluted air and give out clean, breathable oxygen. Although expensive, this tree has had excellent results in places such as Peru and Lima. One supertree may set a municipal back by at least 100,000 sterling.
Online Data Storage to Reduce Paper Waste
The demand for paper in past years saw industries cut down many trees to satisfy the demand. It promoted negative repercussions such as soil erosion and the extinction of rivers.
With paperless technology, however, demand for paper has effectively reduced. There has also been a decreasing demand for hard cash as countries embrace digital currency with apps such as PayPal and use credit and debit cards as the most common means of transaction. Such strides have not only reduced deforestation but have also reduced the emission of greenhouse gases.
Use of Solar Power as a Renewable Energy
Solar energy is a cheap and safer alternative to fossil fuels or hydroelectric energy. Many households are using this technology to cut costs on electricity bills, with some having transitioned entirely to solar power.
The solar panel comprises photovoltaic cells that can convert sunlight energy to direct current in order to power bulbs and charge electric devices. This type of energy is considered one of the most renewable resources.
The International Methane Remote Observatory
This research technique is used to help understand the origin of methane, a greenhouse gas responsible for much of global warming. This research institute is funded by the UNEP and obtains data from satellites, past scientific studies, and ground-based sensors. The observatory funds research studies on methane and has also involved petroleum companies in research projects.
Use of Genetically Engineered Organisms for Waste Management
In the past, the human population only relied on natural microorganisms to break down waste. These organisms cannot treat industrial waste, sewage, or oil spills. Genetically engineered organisms have been modified to break down what seemed to be non-decomposable. It includes industrial waste, petroleum spills, and fungicides.
Genetically engineered organisms (GEOs), also known as bio-remediation, are gaining ground in many industries in the United States to assist in waste management as it is 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 to Monitor Environmental Compliance
Aerial photography is an excellent way to see and interpret data in any landscape study. Aerial surveys provide evidence based on photographs. The images can be taken at any time and provide a way to keep dishonest industries accountable.
Development of Tiny Homes
The idea behind tiny homes is to minimize energy consumption and keep the production of waste at a minimum. The people living in these tiny houses adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Most tend to lean toward an eco-friendly lifestyle, thus reducing pollution.
This involves using solar panels, fewer building materials, compostable toilets, and energy-saving appliances.
Technology in environmental conservation is a magical platform filled with endless opportunities. To reach the full potential of this sector, technologists need significant funding that enables research.
The international methane observatory, for example, has made massive strides in mitigation against methane production with the financial backup of UNEP. The use of technology, even in minor ways, such as transiting to solar panels, makes a massive difference for the environment.
What technological change have you made to reduce environmental pollution?
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Pexels; Thank you!