Pollution is a huge problem in many countries around the world. But while most people speak about greenhouse gases and global warming, there are other types of pollution that warrant our attention. One of them is air pollution at construction site.
In this article, we will focus on this type of pollution, discuss its nature, and uncover methods of how to reduce or prevent it.
Air Pollution at Construction Sites
Pollution in the construction industry comes from a wide range of processes, such as excavation, clearing, operation of heavy equipment, burning, use of toxic materials, and the building process itself. In general, these activities produce three main types of pollutants.
This is classified as any particulate matter with a diameter of lesser than 10 microns. It is released when builders work on cement, concrete, silica, stone, and even wood, and can spread over wide areas.
Gases can also come from heavy equipment, and the most common in construction is the diesel engine exhaust emission. This form of emission contains various gases that are toxic to human beings and the environment alike, such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and hydrocarbons.
Aside from heavy equipment, some materials used in building structures can also produce some form of emission. These include oil, paint, and thinner.
This is produced when builders burn materials on site. While this is an outdated practice (open burning is now prohibited in most places), there are still those who do it. Burning materials (especially plastic) produces black smoke that poses a serious health hazard especially to those who have respiratory conditions.
Not only that, but it poses a risk to workers. For example, it can cause the risk of accidents and injuries if the fire is not kept under control.
Effective Solutions to Lowering and Controlling Pollution Levels at Construction Sites
If you are running a construction company, you should take some measures to minimise or prevent air pollution at construction site. These are some of the best practices that you can follow.
- Have a pollution monitoring system in place.
Use a smart continuous emission monitoring system to provide an integrated approach to controlling and preventing emissions at your construction site. This is very important in protecting the health of your workers, especially when they are working in confined spaces.
With this system, you will be able to:
- Collect information on the diesel particulate matter (DPM) levels you have at your site.
- Verify and implement control measures to minimise the risk of exposure to your workers.
- Make informed decisions to manage such risk.
- Take advantage of new emission-control technologies.
Hazardous exhaust components and harmful particulate matter can easily be controlled with new inventions dedicated to such a purpose. For example, there are diesel emission technologies that can provide immediate reduction of emission produced by your heavy equipment, such as catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters, and diesel oxidation catalysts.
With these components, you can reduce the number of emissions from your equipment or, at least, purify them before they are released into the atmosphere.
- Replace or upgrade old machinery.
Old pieces of construction machinery and equipment, such as generators, have been known to consume a lot of fuel and produce huge volumes of DPM. So, if you have some at your site, it might be high time to upgrade or replace them.
For example, you can opt for products that turn your traditional generators into hybrids that consume less fuel. Or, you can start using hydrogen fuel cells, which are not only cost-efficient but also produce zero particle emissions.
- Minimise waste.
Normally, construction projects produce huge amounts of waste. However, you can reduce them by using methods, such as segregation, recycling, and proper collection.
Also, you should optimise the use of supplies and materials you have. Not only that this reduces your waste, but it will also make your operations more efficient.
- Go green.
As much as possible, you should use materials that have less impact on the environment and make your projects sustainable. You should also use environmentally friendly tools that use less energy. This will help reduce your carbon footprint.
As an owner of a construction company, it is one of your main responsibilities to control and prevent air pollution at construction site. Not only that you are ensuring the health and safety of your workforce, but you are also protecting the well-being of the surrounding communities.
By implementing the solutions listed above, you can confidently progress your projects while minimising disruptions due to health and environmental concerns. Plus, you can rest easy that you are compliant with industry standards.
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