The Benefits of Renewable Energy for Air Quality in Cities
Renewable energy has been gaining lots of traction in recent years, and for good reason. Sustainability is the way of the future, both for the environment and for the people living in the world. Among those benefits is the increase in air quality in metropolitan areas, as well as smaller cities.
Major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and smaller California cities, which tend to share a trend of air pollution, have some of the worst air quality in the country and can cause highly damaging effects to those who breathe in that air every day.
Renewable energy can change all of this, little by little. Even if the residents may not notice immediate changes, that’s par for the course. Air pollution also happens over longer periods of time, and it takes years to truly gauge the long-term impacts on human health.
Additionally, poor air quality tends to disproportionately impact lower-income communities, as they tend to live in more condensed and polluted areas. However, when companies, cities, and businesses take responsibility for improving air quality, there are often immense public benefits that follow. Here are a few ways that can happen.
1. No Damaging Emissions
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of renewable energy for air quality in cities is the decrease or complete elimination of damaging emissions.
While this decrease can result in an array of health benefits such as lengthened life expectancy and a lower risk for lung and heart diseases, better air quality can make the air smell and feel better, improving the overall quality of life and enjoyment for residents.
2. Outdoor Activities Increasing
Speaking of health and wellness, another benefit of renewable energy and improved air quality is an increase in outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, and relaxing in parks. This can be especially seen in lower-income communities without recreational green spaces.
Regular outdoor activities and exercise can reduce the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases by upwards of 30%, which can do a lot for a community over time.
3. Decline in Lung Illnesses
While heart disease, allergies, and many other health challenges can come as a result of air pollution, no risk is greater than lung illnesses in areas with heavy air pollution. Chemicals like carbon monoxide, different oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and aerosols can all cause health issues — and all happen to come from fossil fuels and sources of unsustainable energy.
Specifically, some of these gasses have the capacity to embed themselves deeply into the lungs and cause irreversible damage. However, with clean energy, these particles don’t have to clutter the air, leading to less lung disease.
4. Decline in City Smog
Another issue that comes with increased uses of fossil fuels is city smog, which can especially be seen in cities like Los Angeles, which is one of the highest pollutant-carrying cities in the country.
A decrease in unsustainable energy can combat this issue head-on by eliminating harmful chemicals in the air that cause smog. Smog can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and contribute to lasting health issues — much like standard poor air quality. Getting rid of it or decreasing it can improve immediate and long-term health and satisfaction among residents.
Benefits of Renewable Energy and Better Air Quality
Improving the air quality by turning to renewable energy can have so many positive effects on a city and its residents. While cities don’t often change overnight, if companies, residents, and city officials work together to improve air quality and environmental efforts, it can improve the future of any community.
From health benefits to the decline of smog, clean air paves the way for a better tomorrow.
Jane, the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co, covers topics in renewable energy, green technology and the environment.
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