Born in 1970, Earth Day advanced the notions that everyone has a right to a clean, unpolluted world, that our planet is our precious home, and that we must actively protect our shared environment. We have made some progress but it’s a long road ahead to reach the pristine, yet prosperous, world envisioned by Earth Day’s founders. Many wonder if we can get there. I think we can.
I’m proud to lead a company like CECO Environmental that eliminates tons of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and toxic particulates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We work with industry leaders in power generation, oil and gas, and industrial manufacturing to help them grow, while reducing and eliminating air pollutants. The WHO estimated that, in 2016, ambient air pollution was responsible for 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide, including 600,000 children under 15. And now, with the world under the stress of the coronavirus pandemic, we learned from a recent Harvard study that COPD, caused not only by smoking but by heavy ambient particulate pollution, increases by a factor of 5.97 the chances that a COVID-19 infection will become severe. Dirty air is multiplying the deadly effects of the virus as the total number of infections tops two million worldwide.
Fifty years ago, Earth Day created a groundswell of grassroots environmentalists that have driven true progress and increased demand for a cleaner earth. Today, on the fiftieth anniversary celebration of Earth Day, we celebrate in the shadow of the worst global pandemic since the Spanish Flu. COVID-19, with all its human and economic destruction, provides a reminder that, no matter where we live and no matter what our economic status is, we all share a common planet and the air we breathe. So it comes as no surprise that the COVID-19 illness is exhibiting with increased severity in parts of the country and the world with higher air pollution levels. If ever there was a call to action to clean up our planet, this year is the year!
This is especially true as our team helps industrials in India’s major cities, like Delhi, reduce emissions of NOx, SOx, and carbon microparticles from production related exhaust. Today, respiratory illness is the fifth largest cause of death in the nation – recently estimated to kill approximately 2.5 million people a year; however, as more industrials and refineries install air quality control equipment, we can achieve a significant reduction in these deaths. In China, chronic respiratory diseases—mainly asthma, emphysema, and COPD—remained in the top five leading causes of mortality in 2016, accounting for 9% (approximately 870,000) of total noncommunicable disease (NCDs) deaths. Despite the continuous effort and significant improvements in ambient air quality in China over the past decade, NCDs remained responsible for over 80% of mortality in 2018. The rate has risen globally as industries expanded into developing nations with more than 50% of air pollution-related deaths (7 million) attributed to outdoor air pollution alone.
So, we in the pollution control industry need to step up our game to get the message out about the technologies and solutions that can help protect our shared environment. Reducing air pollution around the world and turning it sharply down will take the combined efforts of leaders in sectors like energy, chemicals, and transportation together with government policy makers.
Our experience at CECO Environmental has shown that there is no inherent contradiction between economic growth and a healthy human and natural environment. Solutions are available where there is the will to clean up our planet for future generations. It is up to us, as business leaders, to adopt the technologies that will help achieve this goal. Let’s mobilize from Earth Day forward as we navigate successfully through the COVID-19 crisis.
As the world population continues to expand, and as more societies move from being predominantly rural to increasingly urban, agriculture must become more productive and more land must be brought under cultivation to meet the growing demand for food for the non-farming population. Fertilizers are critical to this effort. At the same time, as air quality becomes a major concern in more and more countries, fertilizer producers face...
Environmental Business Journal interviews CECO experts Jeremias Schreyer and Jared Wilken about groundbreaking solutions for managing air pollution.
Read how an ammonium nitrate producer maintained compliance with emissions regulations during a growth spurt. It is common knowledge that there is an overwhelming global food shortage and, with the world's population growing exponentially, the demand for agricultural produce will continue to rise. Within CECO Environmental’s line of work, fertilizer producers frequently have to adjust operations to align with market fluctuations and the evolving need to ramp up production output.
As we conclude our Earth Day celebrations at CECO, I would like to reflect on the extreme pride our organization and employees across the globe have shown. Whether it is picking up trash at the Jumeirah Umm Suqeim Public Beach Clean-up in the Middle East or removing harmful NOx & VOCs from different manufacturing processes in Dallas, TX, CECO demonstrates our commitment to protecting the environment through the products and services we offer as well as the volunteer efforts we support.