Hawaii is known to be a paradise with beautiful beaches and clean air. In fact, our islands are ranked among the top ten in the nation for clean air, according to the American Lung Association. Unfortunately, other parts of the globe struggle with pollution that have reached nearly unlivable conditions.
Portola, California lands a spot at the top of the air pollution list in the United States — measuring at an unhealthy rating of 146.
Moreover, one of the major areas of the world that experience ongoing air pollution is China. In 2015, China’s air quality index (as measured by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing) was at 346 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s scale. Anything above 300 on that scale is considered “hazardous”. By the end of 2016, due to excessive burning of fossil fuels, China has resulted in its first ever “Red Alert”. When a Red Alert is issued, it is considered the highest level of emergency in several warning systems.
As of 2017, China has come up with a solution that may help to relieve their crisis. Designed by a group of architects, they hope to unveil two buildings that are described as vertical forests. This is basically two tall towers covered in trees, various plants, and green shrubbery envisioned to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide a year, resulting in the production of 130 pounds of oxygen in one day.
Although Hawaii does not experience air pollution of that extent, we suffer from the effects of vog emitted by Big Island’s Kilauea Volcano that has been constantly erupting since 1983. Vog, defined as smog or haze containing volcanic dust and gases, is reported to cause different symptoms ranging from asthma, itchy eyes, and headaches.
It is quite bothersome — and while locals and visitors of Hawaii are unable to control such natural occurrences, we should still do our part to ensure that Hawaii keeps its overall air quality clean by minimizing pollutants. This includes finding alternative sources of energy to limit use of oil burning for electricity generation and installing emission control devices on our automobiles.
It might seem far-fetched, but keeping the paradise we know as paradise will be that much worth it in the end.