With air pollution levels in Bangkok reaching dangerous levels, forcing residents to stay indoors under the protection of air filters, the country is looking at novel ways to fight the problem of toxic air quality. Among these measures include a fleet of drones deployed into the air to spray water and non-toxic chemicals designed to reduce air pollution levels.
Complementing the Job Done by Air Purifiers
Bangkok officials used this method as part of an experiment to determine whether drones could be used to literally spray the pollution out of the atmosphere, providing much-needed relief to air purifiers, which work harder when cleaning toxic air. The effort comes after concentrations of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5 which refers to particles equal to or less than 2.5 microns in diameter, reached dangerous levels in late January.
“Long-term exposure to ultrafine particles can induce respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It increases the mortality rates for people living in highly polluted urban areas,” points out Camfil USA’s Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial air filters and active ASHRAE member and committee participant. “Particles below PM2.5 are more harmful because they are able to penetrate deeper into the lung alveoli, cross blood vessels walls, and diffuse into the blood circulation affecting organs function.”
Bangkok’s Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Crisis Not Unique
As levels of PM2.5 in Bangkok soared to more than double the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended safe limit of 85 µg/m3, the government quickly announced a “code red” for 10 areas around the city, warning residents to stay indoors. Unfortunately, because PM2.5 particles are small enough to enter gaps in walls, floors, and ceilings, they can also affect indoor air quality through indoor sources, such as cooking, heating, and lighting.
But Bangkok’s air quality struggles are by no means unique. In the United States, cities such as Los Angeles, Bakersfield, New Jersey, and New York all suffer from regular spikes in air pollution, causing ground-level smog to form in the lower atmosphere. This environment can cause a wide range of health issues, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, and even issues like kidney problems, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disease.
The World Health Organization estimates that around seven million premature deaths can be attributed to air pollution.
Why Air Filtration Systems Are Not Enough
People in cities with a high volume of traffic, such as Bangkok, try to protect themselves from air pollution by spending most of their time indoors under the protection of air filtration systems.
Unfortunately, these solutions do little to protect people outdoors, which is why it could be beneficial to explore using drones or other experimental interventions. Short of banning diesel-fueled cars and coal-fired power plants, which depend on burning fossil fuels and generate high levels of air pollution emissions in the process, governments and officials around the world need to talk about ways to control air pollution levels.
The good news is that the drones were able to reduce dust particles, albeit at a modest scale of 10 µg/m3. If successful, these solutions may be used in other parts of the world suffering from frequent air pollution episodes.
What this Means for Air Purification Systems
For now, not much. While the drones work on a small scale, it remains to be seen if the results can be replicated to cover a larger area and capture more airborne pollutants. More testing will have to be done to see how these drones can help air purification systems maintain healthy indoor air quality in homes and buildings.
For now, air filters continue to be one of the most practical solutions for keeping indoor spaces free of air pollution, particularly particle pollution.
Get Air Filtration Systems from Trusted Air Filter Manufacturers
Given the important role played by air filters in indoor environments, it only makes sense to look for trusted air filter manufacturers and suppliers. These companies can recommend the best air filter systems based on the client’s air quality needs, the presence of specific pollutants, and the size of the rooms that need to be “treated.”
To learn more about how commercial air filters can improve indoor air quality in buildings and homes, get in touch with the team at Camfil USA. You may also browse through our catalog to explore the wide range of high-quality air filtration solutions for yourself.