Smog has been a serious problem in many cities worldwide today. High air pollution and the low eco-awareness make the situation even worse. However, what is smog actually? Why is it harmful? Check how polluted air influences our everyday life.
What is smog?
Smog is a phenomenon created when fog gets mixed with air pollutants, including e.g. exhaust fumes of vehicles or smoke from manufacturing plants. Unfortunately, this is an omnipresent though unwelcome phenomenon these days. Smog presence can be noticed in most cities in different countries in the world. The more developed a city is, the higher air pollution can be observed.
Such factors as the presence of large industrial plants and factories generating high amounts of pollutants contribute to the deteriorated air condition. Exhaust fumes, particularly the ones produced by older vehicles, contribute to poor air quality significantly.
Why is smog harmful?
Polluted air contains many toxic compounds, including nitrogen and sulphur oxide, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
Specialist research confirms that the compounds present in smog are dangerous for health. All results of measurements related to that are disclosed and available on the website of the Chief Inspectorate Of Environmental Protection.
The measurements usually consider the concentrations of the following pollutants:
- Benzene (C6H6)
- Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
- Ozone (O3)
- PM10 dust
- PM2.5 dust
- Carbon oxide (CO)
This is the grounds for determining the air quality index using PM 2.5 scale and its value can range from 0 to 300+.
|0–50||GOOD||The air quality is considered satisfactory and the pollution constitutes low risk or its absence.|
|51-100||MEDIUM||The air quality is acceptable but some pollutants may be moderately harmful for a very low number of people highly sensitive to air pollutants.|
|101-150||UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE PEOPLE||In sensitive people, adverse health effects may occur. Most population may not experience any adverse symptoms.|
|151-200||UNHEALTHY||Adverse health effects may occur in anyone. The sensitive people may experience more serious health effects.|
|201-300||HIGHLY UNHEALTHY||Health alert, alarm level. Highly probable adverse impact on the whole population.|
|300+||LIFE HAZARD||Health alarm: anyone can experience more serious health effects|
How to read the smog measurement?
When measuring air quality, particular attention is attached to the presence of atmospheric aerosols in smog. Those are any particles and dusts entering the atmosphere. The higher their concentration is, the worse the quality of the air we inhale. There are two basic smog measurement scales based on particle size:
- PM 2.5 — the particles sized 2.5 micrometers and smaller. Those are mainly reactive organic and inorganic compounds, including ammonium nitrate.
- PM10 — larger particles, sized 10 micrometers or smaller. Those are primarily the relatively inert chemical compounds including silica or metal oxides.
Globally, the 5-step scale from 0 to 300 and more mg of PM 2.5 particles is usually used.
Where is the pollution the highest and where it is the lowest?
The most polluted cities are the Asian metropolises, including those in China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan (more than 300 of PM2.5 particles).
The cleanest air can be found in the cities in North America and Australia. The cities with clean air include, however, also two Asian ones, i.e. Kuching in Malaysia and Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.
When it comes to European cities, the ones with the highest smog level include:
The cleanest air can be found in West European cities:
Relatively, a Denmark company Interiorbeat is adding to the sustainability awareness and has created a Green City Index to highlight each US city individually based on their green coverage percentage.
Practical effects of smog in cities
Although the most obvious and significant effect of smog is health problems and their complications, high air pollution has other practical adverse effects. One of them is the real property price decrease. The mean price of one square meter is conditional on many factors.
One of the most important ones is the exact location. The real properties situated in industrial areas with higher air pollution are cheaper than the ones in places with lower smog burden, including green areas or larger water reservoirs.
Nonetheless, one of the most expensive options has been living in the city center where pollution can be much higher than on the outskirts.
However, flat prices are determined primarily by demand. The prices do not decrease until the interest in real properties in polluted city areas does not fall. However, the attitude changes in line with the changing eco-awareness which offers hope for the future. You must not forget also that the argument concerning unhealthy air can be used when negotiating the price of your future flat!
Flat insurance is what matters most
Irrespective of what flat and location we choose ultimately, we must not forget about the appropriate insurance. We can find offers by many insurance companies on the market now. To check the best one for you, check various flat insurance offers and compare them in terms of the policy price and scope. The basic one should include the following:
- Insurance of the walls of your flat or house
- Insurance of the real property fit-out
- Third party liability insurance (different options)
- Third party liability insurance of the tenant
- Assistance insurance
If you want to choose a policy adapted to your individual needs, use the calculator which will not only compare the offers by different home insurance companies but will also enable you to buy a policy in several steps without leaving your home.