Is a Coronavirus Pandemic a Hoax?

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in March that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Many countries around the globe have been locked down. The mainstream media report a huge number of deaths and that hospitals are overcrowded with infected patients. However, many doctors and scientists disagree with lockdown measures and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In our previous post, we discussed the recovery rate from COVID-19 based on the real-time tracker of the Johns Hopkins University. However, 25 to 50 percent of people do not show symptoms of the COVID-19 virus infection or have not been tested. The lack of adequate testing or incorrect test results adds a lot of inaccuracy to the disease statistics.

We continue to investigate the statistics accumulated over the past months, as well as the opinions of medical doctors, experts, and scientists on measures taken to fight COVID-19.

Was Lockdown Necessary?

John P.A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford, in an article published on March 17, raised a concern that there is no reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in the general population. The official fatality rates of 3.4 percent, reported by the WHO, declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, he criticized as meaningless and leading to a massive hysteria and panic.

“A positive test for coronavirus does not mean necessarily that this virus is always primarily responsible for a patient’s demise”, he continues. In fact, the majority of victims had serious preconditions like heart attacks, strokes, trauma, bleeding, etc.

Dr. Ioannidis commented, “Our data suggest that COVID-19 has an infection fatality rate that is in the same ballpark as seasonal influenza.”

A serological study published on April 17, 2020, by Bendavid et al., claims that from 2.49 percent to 4.16 percent of people in Santa Clara County were infected and developed antibodies against COVID-19. This data indicates that the infection was much more widespread and about 50-85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases.

More doctors are concerned that lockdown measures are absolutely unnecessary and diminish chances for developing herd immunity in an age group that is spared serious disease.

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Lockdown is Harmful to Health

The study at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland showed that vitamin D is required for the immune system to fight Covid-19.  Their data reveal that countries in the Southern Hemisphere such as Australia have lower mortality compared to the countries located to the north which receive insufficient sunlight and suffer from vitamin D deficiency. The Nordic countries do not have vitamin D deficiency due to the widespread of supplement intake.

Nobel laureate professor Michael Levitt also said that the majority of people who died from COVID-19 had up to 3 other health issues. The total number of COVID death would be very similar to severe flu death numbers. The whole COVID issue has been politicized and the opinion of Dr. Levitt and other doctors was not taken into consideration.

Doctors around the world say that the mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 in overestimated. Every year, more people die from seasonal flu compared with those who die from the coronavirus.

Since many countries did not apply strict measures, as soon as this disease spread, more and more people became infected. As the best example, Sweden allowed its citizens to responsibly decide and social distancing was recommended.

W.H.O. now says we should learn from Sweden as a future response to the epidemics.

COVID-19 Diagnostics Incorrect

Symptoms of COVID-19 appear after about 7-14 days and about 80 percent experience mild symptoms. The disease is described as a respiratory viral infection that begins with a sore throat, fever, which then goes into pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The disease is described as a respiratory viral infection, which then develops into pneumonia. Therefore, respiratory strategies using a ventilator, which are used for acute respiratory syndrome, have been applied.

The ventilator helps the patient to breathe in cases of the acute respiratory syndrome. However, new data showed that ventilators did not help 88 percent of patients who were allegedly diagnosed with Covid-19.

In a viral video posted on YouTube, Dr. Cameron Kyle-Sydell of NYC-ICU said the diagnosis of COVID-19 was completely wrong. Patients who received treatment could breathe on their own but die from a lack of oxygen. Dr. Kyle-Sydell suggested that this was not viral pneumonia, but an unknown disease that exhibits symptoms of oxygen deficiency similar to the high-altitude disease.

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Are Deaths Caused by COVID-19 Correct?

A number of doctors expressed their concern that COVID-19 is listed as a cause of death for many people who have died from other health complications. The most vulnerable to infection were people with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung problems.

Dr. Andrew Kaufman said in an interview with London Real that the number of deaths from coronavirus is incorrect. There are reports of empty hospitals around the world. Lockdown did not reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19, as reported in the media.

Several doctors expressed concern that the death certificates were fabricated and people died for other reasons. This may sound monstrous, but many people on the net say that their family members who died from other health problems received a death certificate from COVID-19.

A doctor from Montana, Dr. Annie Bukachek, reports that people who died from various health problems had a death certificate from COVID-19. How many people died from COVID-19 remains unclear.

Coronavirus
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Doctors Are Not Allowed to Speak

You may wonder how hospitals and doctors keep silent in this situation. Why do not we see them speaking about it in the media? This information can only be found in alternative sources, where they say that doctors are not allowed to talk about what is happening in the hospital, otherwise, they will be fired.

Nobel laureate professor Levitt from Stanford analyzed the COVID-19 situation from a scientific point of view, and believes that lockdown was a “huge mistake.” Many people had been infected before the lockdown. Some countries have gradually reached the level of saturation to develop herd immunity and to prevent a new outbreak. As a result, countries where there is no strict lockdown policy, such as Sweden and Germany, have fewer death cases compared to those with the strict lockdown.

Two Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Emergency Emergency Care help a COVID-19 briefing, which was then removed from YouTube as misinformation for a so-called community policy violation. Doctors discussed their data from test laboratories collected over two months.

Dr. Erickson questioned whether lockdown measures are scientifically sound. He believes that the study and observation of the disease gives a real picture. Data show that viral infection was widespread long before localization. According to statistics from California, the likelihood of death from Covid-19 is 0.1 percent, similar to seasonal flu. Many death cases diagnosed as Covid-19 were erroneous and caused by other pre-existing diseases.

Meanwhile, people with heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and other critical health problems are left without any medical care. The consequences of lockdown include domestic violence, anxiety, depression, suicide, social, medical, and economic collapse. Millions of people lost their jobs and businesses,  and opportunities for the future.

Martin Geddes, a scholar, and telecoms expert wrote: “Major Western nations are committing economic and social suicide to sustain an enormous lie about the integrity of those we trusted to protect us. This is a crime against humanity, and encompasses many in the pharma business, the corporate media, and in government. The size of the scandal cannot be overstated. Those responsible deserve the most severe punishment for ruining civil society.”

Does this all make sense to you? Why don’t governments listen to real experts? Why is this pandemic so politicized?

If you have any additional information that you want to share with us or your own opinion on this issue, please share it below.

Coronavirus: What is the Recovery Rate?

Every day we are bombarded with news of the death toll from COVID-19 around the world. Millions of people around the world have been advised to keep social distancing and stay home, wash their hands and wear masks in public places.

However, there are a large number of people recovering from this disease. We discuss the extent of COVID-19 recovery in relation to the strategy used by various countries to combat this deadly virus.

What is the Recovery Rate?

Recovery rate is the number of people who have recovered from a disease. Experts say it’s difficult to assess the recovery rate as 25 to 50 percent of people do not show symptoms of the COVID-19 virus infection.

We estimated the recovery rate from COVID-19 worldwide and in some specific countries based on the real-time tracker of the Johns Hopkins University (see table). According to the data provided as of April 11, over 1, 72 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 104,800 people died from the disease in the world. As estimated, about 390,000 people have recovered from the infection worldwide. This represents about 22.6 percent of the recovery rate.

However, the actual recovery rate remains uncertain for several reasons. Many people do not show symptoms of COVID-19 or do not get tested at all. Some people may get negative test results. In other cases, people may recover, but do not report it to the hospital. Therefore, the recovery rate may differ from what was estimated.

Recovery rates are higher in countries that used aggressive measures and had the highest levels of population testing, such as China and South Korea, 94 percent and 69 percent, respectively.

Table. Statistics of COVID-19 cases as of 04/11/2020 (Johns Hopkins University‘s real-time tracker)

 

Countries

 

Confirmed cases

 

Total deaths

 

Total recovered 

 

Recovery rate

Total 1,721,353 104,800 389,651 22.6
US 501,701 16,562 29,192 5.8
Spain 161,852 16,353 59,109 36.5
Italy 147,577 18,849 30,455 20.6
France 125,931 13,197 25.195 20.0
Germany 122,855 2,736 53,913 43.9
China 83,014 3,254 77,877 94
UK 79,841 9,875 599 0.75
Iran 70,029 4,357 41,947 60
Turkey 47,029 1,006 2,423 5.2
Belgium 28,018 3,346 5,986 21.4
Switzerland 24,900 1,003 11,100 44.6
Netherland 24,565 2,643 287 11.7
Canada 22,148 567 6,013 27
Brazil 19,943 1,074 173 0.9
Portugal 15,987 470 266 1.7
Austria 13,782 337 6,604 48
Russia 13,584 107 1,045 0.8
Israel 10,525 96 1,258 12
Korea South 10,480 211 7,243 69
Sweden 10,151 887 381 3.8
Ireland 8,089 287 25 0.3
India 7,997 249 774 9.7
Ecuador 7,161 297 368 5
Chile 6,501 65 1,571 24
Norway 6,360 114 32 0.5
Australia 6,292 54 1,806 28.7
Denmark 6,191 260 2,111 34
Poland 6,088 195 375 6.2
Japan 6,005 99 762 12.7
Finland 2,905 49 300 10.3

In many countries, the lack of adequate testing also played a decisive role in the death toll. Since many countries did not apply strict measures, as soon as this disease spread, more and more people became infected.

Experts say up to 70 percent of the world’s population will get infected by a coronavirus. It is currently difficult to predict the spread of the disease and the outcomes.

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What is Herd immunity?

Herd immunity happens when a large percentage of the population becomes immune to infection through immunity against infection or through vaccination. Those who are not infected or have not been vaccinated become immune to infection. This is called herd immunity. Smallpox and polio were eradicated as a result of herd immunity.

In the light of the new coronavirus, some countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden, initially introduced a strategy to develop “herd immunity” by allowing the virus to spread among the population. Scientists say that in the case of the UK, this requires at least 60 percent of the population to be infected.

According to the CDC, some people should not get certain vaccines because of a weakened or compromised immune system, age, pregnancy, allergies, and some chronic diseases.

However, worried that an unpredictable strategy could lead to a large number of casualties among the population, the UK government has changed the strategy advising social distancing and self-isolation.

Quarantine during coronavirus
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Sweden to Develop Herd Immunity

Sweden remains the only country that has not introduced strict measures and social distances, as in the rest of Europe. The government closed universities and high schools, banned gatherings of more than 500 and advised people who are sick and older than 70 to stay home.

The Swedish government has used the approach recommended by the country’s chief epidemiologist Tegnell to implement a broad immunity strategy against COVID-19. The country has taken some premature measures but has not implemented quarantine, as elsewhere.

The government advised people to take individual responsibility to stop the spread of the disease. The country’s prime minister urged people to support local businesses by going out and ordering takeaways.

Swedish scientists are worried about the government approach and warn that the herd immunity strategy is similar to “playing the Russian roulette with the Swedish population”.

As of April 11, around 10,151 cases of COVID-19 and 381 deaths were recorded. This represents about 4 percent of the recovery rate (see table below). The near future should show how many Swedes will be affected by this disease and develop immunity for the rest of the population.

Coronavirus test
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Diagnostics of COVID-19

The countries with the highest mortality rates from COVID-19 struggled with patient care due to the lack of medical equipment such as ventilators. The most vulnerable to infection are people with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung problems.

Symptoms of COVID-19 appear after about 7-14 days. About 80 percent experience mild symptoms. The disease is described as a respiratory viral infection that begins with a sore throat, fever, which then goes into pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

NYC-ICU  Dr. Cameron Kyle-Sidell says the diagnosis of a new disease, such as COVID-19, is completely wrong. The doctor believes that this is not viral pneumonia, but an unknown disease, similar to a high-altitude disease, which is manifested by symptoms of oxygen deficiency.

The acute respiratory syndrome due to which patients receive treatment is different, and ventilation / respiratory strategies alone cannot help. Doctors now switch to a different protocol and give patients oxygen (see video).

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A number of doctors expressed their concern that COVID-19 is listed as a cause of death for many people who have died from other health complications. Montana physician Dr. Annie Bukachek reports that people who died from multiple health issues had a COVID-19 death certificate. How many people died from COVID-19 remains unknown.

In general, little is known about this new coronavirus, which makes it difficult to predict the outcome of the disease in the near future.

It is imperative to maintain strong immunity and mental health through a positive attitude, exercise, healthy nutrition and environment, meditation, and other available means.

Let us know if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you out. If you have your own opinion or suggestions on this issue, please share them below.

Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself and Your Home?

Indoor air pollution is a common problem for every home and in some cases is two to five times worse than outdoors. This includes various indoor pollutants that can cause respiratory diseases. The quick spread of the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by COVID-19 raised concern about the efficient indoor ventilation and sanitation measures.

Our homes should protect the indoor environment to create a healthy indoor environment for the health and comfort of our family. The HVAC systems and other advanced technologies for air purification can help to clean the indoor environment from contagious microbial contaminants.

Indoor Air Pollution and Health Problems

Indoor air quality is one of the five major environmental risks to public health. Indoor air is important because most people spend a substantial time in buildings.

About 2 million deaths per year and 3 percent of the global disease burden are associated with indoor air pollution. These contaminants can cause various diseases such as chronic (allergies, asthma), respiratory infections, and even cancers.

Typical indoor air pollutants and allergens are biological contaminants, dust, volatile organic compounds, gases, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), etc. Common biological pollutants include mold, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses.

Particles of 5 microns or smaller 5 can pass through the lungs and are harmful to your health. These are biological particles, dust, and gases. The smaller the particles, the more harmful they are. Therefore, particles of 2.5 microns are classified as respirable suspended particles and considered very hazardous.

Indoor ventilation
Image by Silas Camargo Silão from Pixabay

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality?

ASHRAE has developed proactive guidance to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

ASHRAE recommends the following strategies to prevent disease transmission:

  • dilution ventilation
  • laminar and other in-room flow regimes
  • differential room pressurization
  • personalized ventilation
  • source capture ventilation
  • filtration (central or unitary),
  • UVGI (upper room, in-room, and in the airstream).

ASHRAE’s Indoor Air Quality Guide is aimed to protect your home from exposure to airborne particles that might be circulated by HVAC systems.

HVAC Systems

You can improve the ventilation and filtering in your home with a ventilation and air conditioning system. Controlling airflow from clean to dirty areas to avoid the spread of polluted air around the house is critical.

HVAC systems are very important to maintain fresh indoor air quality. Many infectious particles are known to be transmitted by air. Therefore, proper ventilation can provide health and public safety.

The most efficient filters such as HEPA filters are able to remove up to 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. HEPA filters can remove dust, dust mites, pet dander, pollens, mold, some bacteria, and other common indoor allergens. Maintaining the relative humidity between 30 and 60 percent will help control mold and dust mites.

In crowded conditions with poor ventilation like in hospital waiting rooms and other public places, even particles with controversial airborne transmission capacity can cause explosive outbreaks.

For instance, the influenza virus can spread in a plane with poor ventilation. In some cases, the infection can be propagated at a significant distance away from the source by ventilation-induced airflows.

The Best Appliances Against Biological Contaminants

In addition to HVAC systems, the best technologies for anti-microbial protection against biological contaminants include:  

  • Antibacterial (Ultraviolet) Lamps can effectively destroy viral, bacterial, and fungal organisms such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), influenza viruses, mold, and other agents in air and surface, so they are unable to spread and cause disease.
  • Whole House In-Duct Air Purifiers can help to eliminate indoor air pollutants of dust, dander, and pollen from your entire home.
  • Whole-house air filtration systems with HEPA filters can trap 99.97 percent of dust, biological contaminants, and other common indoor allergens.
  • Whole-house humidifiers and dehumidifiers to properly adjust the amount of moisture in your home.
  • Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) that exhaust the stale indoor air and bring in fresh, preconditioned air from the outdoors.
  • Air ionizer removes particles as small as 0.01 microns as well as neutralize chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, viruses, and bacteria.

The proper HVAC system and appliances can improve the indoor air quality in your home and remove air-born pollutants including microbes.

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How is Coronavirus Transmitted?

Airborne particles can be of various origins: viral (chickenpox, smallpox, measles, influenza), and bacterial (tuberculosis). Coronaviruses include seasonal and common cold viruses. Two more virulent coronaviruses caused epidemics: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), in 2003 and Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012.

It is known that coronavirus infection can be transmitted (1) through the air by large droplets as well as small particles in the air (droplet nuclei), (2) through a fecal-oral route and (3) by touching an infected surface.

The infected individuals produce infectious droplets of varying sizes by breathing, coughing or sneezing, transmitting them to others by both short-range large droplets and airborne small droplet nuclei, depending on the distance from them.

Aerosols are small droplets in the air, therefore called airborne agents with a diameter of < 10 μm. Airborn agents are highly contagious because of aerosols small size (< 5–10 μm) and their properties to follow air flows. The ‘intermediate particles’ of 10–20 μm will share some properties of both small and large droplets.

Coronavirus
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Personal Protection Against Air-born Agents

PPE for or aerosol-transmissible agents requires a better filtering capacity and a tight seal around the airways than for those that are only transmitted by large droplets or direct contact.

For personal protection against aerosol transmission of infectious agents the PPE such as N95 masks should be used, rather than surgical ones.

Surgical masks are effective as a physical barrier to large droplets (> 20 μm) as they are too large to be inhaled into the respiratory tract around the sides of the mask.

A recent study showed that under certain conditions, liquid droplets can travel more than 26 feet. CDC now recommends wearing non-surgical masks in public.

4 Simple Rules against COVID-19

Dr. Dave Price from Weill Cornel Medical Center in New York City suggests 4 simple rules to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection:

1. Keep your hands clean. Use a disinfectant or wash your hands every time you touch any surface.

2. Do not touch your face. People unknowingly touch their face about 90 times a day. Wearing a mask can help you stop touching your face.

3. You do not need a respirator. it’s required only for doctors when performing special procedures to sick patients.

4. Social distancing. Keep a distance of 6-6.5 feet (1.5-2 meters) from other people.

Knowing these simples rules can save you from unnecessary anxiety and help protect yourself and your family from this coronavirus disease.

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Strengthen Your Immune System

Remember that there are about 40 trillion microbes including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms in the human body (so-called microbiome). Healthy people contain a broad range of viruses including pathogenic and potentially harmful such as papillomaviruses, hepatitis B, hepatitis, herpes, HIV and influenza viruses.

Our immune system is able to protect us from pathogenic viruses and even tumor cells that form in our bodies. Their effect on human health depends on the state of your immune system. Keep a healthy immune system by maintaining personal hygiene, a healthy diet, good sleep, and an active lifestyle. Add to your diet vitamins A, C, and D as well as minerals supplements including zinc.

Let us know what you think of this COVID-19 pandemic. How did this manifest in your place? Share your thoughts below.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Home from 5G?

Every day we are exposed to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (EMR) at home and at work from the devices around us, including our phones, computers, microwaves, TVs, and others. 5G is classified as an electromagnetic field (EMF), so we must do everything possible to reduce our exposure to potentially harmful 5G radiation.

First of all, you need to know what 5G is and how to protect yourself and your home from 5G. 5G information available on the Internet is often misleading and not accurate. It is difficult to draw any reliable conclusion based on all these resources, such as the media and well-known magazines, as well as numerous scientific articles on the influence of EMR.

5G Health Risks

5G health risk information is clearly very polarized, as are issues such as climate change and other politicized issues. Several online sources have published information on manipulations in the wireless technology industry of government policymakers and the news media to create doubts about scientific credibility.

A few journals have analyzed the difference in the results of independently funded and industry-funded research, which discredits true scientific research. Most independent studies show the biological effects of cell phone radiation, while industry-funded studies are two and a half times less likely to show any effect of cell radiation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified EMFs from mobile phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B) in 2011. The US National Toxicology Program in 2018 found clear evidence of the association between cell phone radiation (2G and 3G frequencies) and the heart, brain adrenal gland tumors in rodents.

Mobile phones emit EMR that can be absorbed by tissues located next to the phone. The amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the tissue depends on many factors, such as the distance between the telephone and the user, the extent and duration of exposure and the type of use of the mobile phone, as well as the distance from the cell towers.

What are Radiofrequency Exposure Limits?

The United States, Western Europe, and many other countries follow the restrictions of IEEE C95.1-19991 or the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines for radiofrequency emission (RF) are based on protection against acute damage from thermal effects of RF exposure and may not protect against any non-thermal effects of chronic exposure.

The US FCC has announced that it will reaffirm the limits of exposure to RF radiation adopted by the commission in the late 1990s. These restrictions were adopted by the FCC based on studies from the 1980s that showed behavioral changes in rats exposed to microwave radiation. However, after more than six years of public discussion, the chairman of the Commission decided to retain the existing limits of RF exposure.

The ICNIRP guidelines for the general public and occupational exposure are supported by the WHO.

The United States has the highest RF exposure limits for portable devices compared to the rest of the world. In other countries including mostly Western Europe and Russia, China, Switzerland, and several other countries the RF limits are a hundred times lower.

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WHO Recommendations 

The WHO advises the public to adopt precautionary measures to reduce exposure. Other national radiation authorities have recommended measures to minimize exposure.

These are simple basic measures for protection from EMR:

  • Use hands-free to decrease the radiation to the head
how to protect from cell phone radiation
Photo credit: Pexels/Fauxels

Use a hands-free device places more distance between the phone and the head that is definitely beneficial as opposed to putting it close to the head. So keep it away from your head using earphones. Professor Lawrie Challis and others confirmed that clipping a ferrite onto hands-free kits stops the radio waves traveling up the wire and into the head.

  • Keep the mobile phone away from the body

This is absolutely a must. Unfortunately, many teens do not follow this rule of thumb and keep their mobile in a pocket.

  • Do not use your phone in a car without an external antenna

Some countries recommend moderate use of mobile phones for children because they can get a specific absorption rate (SAR) levels about 153 percent higher than adults. In addition, with a decrease in the permittivity of the brain as it grows older and an increase in the relative volume of the open growing brain in children, radiation penetrates far beyond the midbrain.

5G tower
Photo credit: Wikimedia

How to Protect Your Home from 5G?

Although there is no way to truly and completely shield yourself, there are a few tips that can certainly protect you best from the dangers of 5G radiation:

Keep your distance as much as possible

Increase the distance between you and all electronic devices. This measure will not completely eliminate the effects of 5G exposure, but it will help to reduce the risks associated with prolonged exposure to harmful radiation

Measure levels whenever possible

Use the device to identify areas of strong electromagnetic radiation. There is currently no EMF meter that detects 5G because so far there have been no requirements. These devices will not emit one specific type of radiation, but will only detect sources with a high level of radiation.

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Buy EMF shield

To minimize the effects of 5G radiation emitted by your phone, check for EMC products such as special cases or diodes that can be attached directly to your mobile device. Although they do not completely eliminate the risk of 5G radiation, they claim to reduce their exposure by up to 90%.

Protect your home as much as possible

The most important things to consider when protecting your home from 5G radiation are moderation and self-education.

The simplest ways to limit your exposure to harmful EMF radiation are:

  • Unplug Wi-Fi enabled devices when not in use. This is the easiest way, and it will become even more important when 5G becomes popular.
  • Keep your bedroom away from phones and other devices operating on 5G networks and frequencies. This will not only help improve your sleep but also reduce your exposure in the room, which you will inevitably spend most of your night.
  • Ultimately, we must educate ourselves as much as possible and take proactive measures to limit our exposure to radiation, where possible.

Thus, if we educate ourselves and research how to protect ourselves from 5G, we will be able to maintain a healthy and safe life for us and our family. Are you ready for 5G? Have you decided how to protect yourself and your home from 5G? Please share your thoughts and leave your comment below.

The Best Air Purification Technologies for Home

Air quality can not only affect how your house smells and feels but can also negatively affect your overall health. The good news is that indoor pollution is more manageable than outdoors. There are the best air pollution technologies available that can remove indoor pollution using various methods.

The best way to improve the air quality in your home is to remove unwanted particles in the air coming from different sources: your environment, pets, or old building materials.

Currently, there are quite advanced air purification technologies, including high-performance air purification filters, which we will discuss below.

HEPA Filters

HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air) filters are the most efficient filters available and remove 99.97 percent of dust and particles as small as 0.3 microns and larger. This type of air filter meets the U.S. Department of Energy standards.

HEPA filters comprised of a mat of randomly arranged fiberglass fibers with diameters between 0.5 and 2.0 micrometers. When air is passed through the mat, the microparticles stick to the fibers based on three mechanisms: interception, impaction, and diffusion.

Air purifier

In contrast to electrostatic air purifiers that do not require any filter replacement and remove only 30 percent of particles from the air, HEPA air filters require regular filter replacements. They can remove PM 2.5 and PM 10 particulate matter, pollen, mold, dust mites, some bacteria, tobacco smoke and pet hair and dander from the air. HEPA filters cannot remove odors and VOCs.

HEPA filters were originally developed in the 1940s for use in nuclear power plants to remove radioactive particles from the air. Today they are widely used in hospitals, in aircraft, industrial facilities, pharmaceutical plants, and many high technology industries that demand high air quality.

HEPA filtration is recommended for people with allergies and asthma. It can be used in homes and offices to keep the indoor air clean and free of germs.

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Activated Carbon Filters

Activated carbon air filters are effective in removing gases (VOCs), fumes, and cigarette smoke and bad odor missed out by HEPA filter. The filters contain a layer of activated carbon, which can trap or interact with gases, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, and odors and prevent them from passing into the air.

Activated carbon filters remove impurities from the air by a process known as adsorption (not to be confused with absorption). Adsorption is a process by which VOCs stick to the outer surface of the activated carbon molecules.

They are excellent for household use and can eliminate harmful VOCs released into the indoor air by cleaning supplies, paints, glues, varnishes, deodorants, insect repellants, room fresheners and scented personal care products. They can also remove cigarette smoke and stubborn odors.

Activated carbon can be treated chemically to target and remove certain pollutants. When carbon is impregnated with potassium iodide or blended with active alumina to increase absorption and neutralize the airborne formaldehyde or hydrogen sulfide.

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Activated carbon filters are recommended for people who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and have high sensitivity to any airborne chemicals such as cleaning chemicals, fumes from household building materials and other chemicals. An air purifier with an activated carbon filter can be used to remove irritants from the air, especially including asthma sufferers, babies, children, and the elderly.

Most air purifiers contain a complex of a true HEPA and activated carbon filters that combine all the benefits of these types of air purification technologies.

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Ionic Filters 

Air ionizers create negative ions that change the polarity of airborne particles, causing them to magnetically attract together. Particles become heavier and settle on the ground or on walls instead of staying airborne. Air ionizer removes particles as small as 0.01 microns as well as neutralize chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, viruses, and bacteria.

Negative ionization technology is widely used in air purification to remove contaminants. A negative ion generator or an air ionizer uses electrostatically charged plates to ionize or electrically charge air molecules. Most substances found in ambient air have a positive charge. This causes the positively charged particles and pollutants in the air to stick to negatively charged gas ions like N2¯ and O2¯.

The mechanism is similar to static electricity. As soon as the positive particles and the negative gas ions fuse together, they become too heavy to float in the air and fall down to the ground or stick to surfaces. This prevents them from entering our respiratory tract through inhalation and can be cleaned by cleaning activities like dusting, washing, and vacuuming.

Air ionizers remove only about 30% of particles and do not take in all the air in an enclosed room. Electronic air purifiers do not need filter replacement, they only require cleaning of the collection plates for optimal efficiency.

However, the negative effect of ion technology is that it produces small amounts of ozone which may cause health problems including irritation of the nose, throat, and esophagus, coughing and wheezing. Prolonged exposure to ozone may also cause lung disease.

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Air purifiers for home

Ultraviolet (UV) Light

Germicidal UV lamps can effectively kill germs, viruses, mold, and bacteria. However, the UV lamps cannot remove most allergens and dust, chemical fumes, gases, or cigarette smoke.

It is important to use UV technology in combination with HEPA air filters and possibly activated carbon. Without a particulate filter system like a HEPA air filter, too many microorganisms may be hidden from the UV light, since it is not easily located on an air filter.

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Ozone Generators

Ozone generators are air purifiers that intentionally produce ozone. Ozone is an excellent sterilizer. However, ozone is not effective at cleaning the air except at extremely high, unsafe ozone levels. Ozone generators are used in hospitals and commercial applications to remove airborne particles, chemicals, mold, bacteria, spores, viruses, and odors by professionals.

It is important to note that ozone generators are not recommended for home use. Even a small amount of ozone can cause health problems when inhaled inside closed unventilated rooms.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared ozone to be a toxic gas. Some people are sensitive to ozone itself that cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and trigger asthma and lower lung capacity at high concentration. Ozone generators can be used in facilities where human presence is not required.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides Ozone exposure levels that have been adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

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These are leading air purification technologies that are currently available and can be used safely at home, with the exception of ozone generators. Ozone generators are used only in hospitals and commercial facilities by trained professionals.

Thus, you can control the air quality in your home by choosing the right air purifier depending on your concern (allergens, chemicals, smell, pet dander, smoke). Leave your comment below if you have any questions and we will be happy to help you.

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Updated 03/19/2020

Indoor Air Pollution – How to Improve it?

Indoor air pollution is one of the five major environmental risks to public health. About 2 million people die each year from diseases associated with indoor air pollution, mainly from the use of solid fuels, chemical, and biological sources.

A number of studies have shown that air pollution is associated with an increased risk of various health problems, including respiratory as well as cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Indoor air pollution is a common problem for every home, regardless of location. Many homeowners do not know that the pollution in their homes can be worse than of outdoors two to five times.

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Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Building an energy-efficient home helps achieve several important goals, such as energy conservation and reduce our energy bills and save money. Another equally important goal of greening our home is to create a healthy indoor environment for the health and comfort of our family.

Indoor air pollution and allergens can affect our health, causing eye inflammation and runny nose, headaches, and fatigue. The worst cases of indoor pollution are chronic diseases such as respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, and lung cancer.

Common indoor air pollutants include:

Dust is the most common indoor pollutant that can cause respiratory allergies.

Biological pollutants such as pollen, mold, bacteria, viruses, and dust mites that can cause diseases like hay fever or induce asthma in adults and children.

Chemical pollutants include household cleaners, paints, and solvents. These products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause mild syndromes, such as headaches, skin and throat irritation, when people are regularly exposed to them.

Volatile organic gases are emitted by building and remodeling materials, such as paint, lacquer, glue, and plywood. Toxic volatile organic compounds can be released by building materials for several years after installation.

Carpets and upholstery that use formaldehyde as a permanent adhesive. The World Health Organization classifies formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.

Synthetic fragrances, perfumes, and deodorants. It has been found that some of the volatile and semi-volatile chemicals used are toxic and can cause skin irritation, an allergic reaction, cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and reproductive disorders.

Radon gas coming from a kitchen countertop, attic or basement. According to the US National Cancer Institute, radon is America’s second leading cause of lung cancer.

Combustion pollutants. These are gases or particles that are emitted by non-ventilated or poorly ventilated fuel-burning appliances, such as a fireplace, heater, wood or gas stove, water heater, and dryer. Some of the hazardous gases that can be produced include nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, as well as other chemical fumes.

Tobacco smoke contributes to poor indoor air quality and causes asthma in primary school children.

Pet dander. Animal hairs and dried skins can also be a source of respiratory irritation.

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Air purifier for home
Air purifier for home

 How to improve indoor air quality?

You can manage the air quality in your home with a few simple steps. Let’s look at the possible steps for improving the indoor air quality:

  1. Indoor air quality can be improved by removing the source of air pollution. The main solution is switching from solid fuel (coal and biomass) to cleaner and more energy-efficient energy sources.
  2. Cleaning, vacuuming carpets and dusting surfaces regularly from a source of air pollution and allergens can significantly reduce the amount of dust and allergens in the air.
  3. Use high-efficiency filters for air ventilation and change them regularly. Regular filter replacement can significantly improve indoor air quality and your family’s health, especially if someone in your family has serious allergies.
  4. Control of exposure to indoor allergens and air humidity using air monitors. Excessive moisture in the air can cause the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus, in places such as basements and bathrooms.
  5. Cleaning indoor air in your home using an energy-efficient air purifier. Using an air purifier can help reduce indoor air pollution in enclosed spaces.
  6. Use an energy-efficient vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency filters. It has been shown that this significantly reduces interior particulate pollution and, therefore, the symptoms of asthma and allergies.
  7. Replace furniture made of toxin-releasing materials when refurbishing your home. Buy quality furniture from eco-friendly materials that will last you a long time and your family healthy.
  8. Invest in heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems and household appliances, including vacuum cleaner, air purifier, and high-quality air filters. The proper HVAC system of your home with also help you save on energy bills.
  9. The cheapest and simplest way to improve indoor air pollution is houseplants. Studies have identified the 12 most beneficial plants, especially in removing VOCs.

Potted green indoor plants
Green indoor plants. Photo by Huy Phan from Pexels

High-efficiency filters for air ventilation

Advanced technologies for air purification in your home are currently available, including high-performance filters for air purifiers.

HEPA air filters are the most efficient filters available and remove 99.97 percent of dust and particles as small as 0.3 microns. They can remove dust, dust mites, pet dander, pollens, mold, some bacteria, and other common indoor allergens.

Activated carbon air filters can remove gases, fumes, and cigarette smoke missed out by HEPA filter.

Air ionizers create negative ions that change the polarity of airborne particles, causing them to magnetically attract together. Particles become heavier and settle on the ground or on walls instead of staying airborne. Air ionizer removes particles as small as 0.01 microns as well as neutralize chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, viruses, and bacteria.

Germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lamps can effectively destroy germs, viruses, mold, and bacteria. However, the UV lamps cannot remove most allergens and dust, chemical fumes, gases, or cigarette smoke.

Ozone generators are highly effective against odors, including cigarette smoke odors as well as certain chemicals and bacteria. However, some people are sensitive to ozone itself that causes irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat at high concentration.

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Final Thoughts

Remember that indoor pollution is more manageable than outdoor air pollution. It is recommended that you invest in upgrading your existing home step by step. You can invest in alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, and energy-saving appliances that will lower your energy bills for years to come.

If you plan to build a new home, you may want to invest in environmentally friendly materials and additional insulation that can trap pollutants and chemicals released by building materials, paint and other toxic materials.

Let us know what you think on this subject. Are you considering investing in your home to improve your indoor environment? Please leave your comment below.

Updated 03/19/2020

Rethinking Waste – What Is Zero Waste Energy?

Zero Waste movement was introduced in the 80s, which means preventing waste by making the best choices, starting with the extraction of raw materials, product manufacturing, and disposal to a landfill. A zero-waste system approach focuses on redesigning the product life cycle so that the end-product can be reused or recycled, thereby enabling a circular economy.

According to the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health. Other definitions for zero waste given by various organizations and communities are very close.

Zero waste is a systems approach to eliminate waste through recycling and reusing it by redesigning of resource lifecycle. The United States Conference of Mayors adopted a Hierarchy of Material Management, which includes:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Redesign
  • Reduce Waste, Toxicity, Consumption, and Packaging
  • Repair, Reuse and Donate
  • Recycle
  • Compost
  • Down Cycle and Beneficial Reuse
  • Waste-Based Energy as disposal
  • Landfill Waste as disposal

When something can’t be reused it will enter the landfill, the landfill sites produce huge amounts of methane gas as organic compounds such as food scraps decompose.  This gas is captured and then able to be reused as combustion material to produce electricity.

Why Is Zero Waste Important?

As mentioned above, zero waste means that at least 90 percent of the waste must be diverted from incineration and landfills. Landfills are the least expensive municipal waste management, and this is the most commonly used method in the United States and many other countries. However, landfills have a huge harmful environmental impact, in the form of leachate which can contain harmful metals and chemical pollutants, and this can get into the groundwater.

Landfills also accumulate greenhouse gases, from the decomposition process, which contribute to global warming. There are other alternative methods of municipal waste disposal that can be more environmentally friendly, and some can be used for conversion to energy sources. Recycling municipal waste can be done in several ways, including some alternative ways that have less of a harmful impact on the environment.

Waste Management

Rubbish recycling has developed over decades in many countries with the goal of eliminating waste that is harmful to the environment. Implementing the latest technologies, zero waste communities, businesses, and individuals strive to recover as much waste as possible so that up to 90 percent of the waste is diverted from landfills.

Municipal waste management services are using the latest technologies, such as Material Recovery Facilities, to recover as much waste as possible to divert waste from landfills and turn it into resources.

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What Is Zero Waste Energy?

Zero Waste Energy is referred to as renewable energy obtained through anaerobic digestion of solid organic waste and resource recovery processes.

Emerging technologies can be used to further generate energy from non-recyclable waste. The proper application of these technologies in combination with the extraction of expensive goods and organic substances for energy and compost production makes the best use of an integrated waste management system.

Recycling municipal waste helps the environment by removing greenhouse gases from landfills. Utilization of municipal waste using the latest technologies can generate alternative energy. Municipal solid waste is a sustainable and renewable source of energy.

Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT)

MBT plants are designed for the treatment of mixed domestic, commercial and industrial waste. The process combines a front-end sorting facility with biological treatments such as composting or anaerobic digestion.

The MBT facility has one line that sorts single-stream, commingled and source-separated recyclables, and the other line sorts residential and dry commercial waste. It can handle a wide variety of materials, including municipal solid waste, C&D debris, single-stream recyclables, and source-separated OCC, paper, electronic scrap, and white goods.

Anaerobic digestion plant
Anaerobic digestion plant. Credit: Wikimedia

Anaerobic Digestion

Biodegradable organic waste can be treated with or without air access. The aerobic process is composting and the anaerobic process is called digestion.

Anaerobic digestion is a low-temperature thermal process of decomposing biodegradable materials into gas, also called biogas, mainly composed of methane and carbon dioxide.

Biodegradable materials are broken down by microorganisms in the process of anaerobic digestion without the use of oxygen using Anaerobic Digesters. The end result of anaerobic digestion is valuable by-products such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and electricity.

Waste-to-Energy Is Not Zero Waste

There is confusion with Zero Waste and Waste-to-Energy approaches. Although both strive to reduce CO2 emissions and landfills, their goals and technologies are quite different.

Waste incineration is not part of the Zero Waste strategy. In fact, the waste-to-energy approach has been criticized as wasting energy and producing the most expensive form of electricity compared to other resources (including coal, natural gas, and oil).

Zero Waste only accepts anaerobic digestion as the technological process for making sustainable energy resources from waste. Waste-to-energy practices such as incineration, pyrolysis, gasification, and a plasma arc system  are considered as “waste-of-energy.”

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“Zero Waste to Landfill” Is Not Zero Waste

“Zero Waste to Landfill” is not the same as the Zero Waste system approach. The former focuses on producing energy by burning waste and thus eliminating landfills. Burning waste is considered as the destruction of resources and ends up with a lower amount and more expensive energy. “Zero Waste to Landfill” approach does not reduce waste and protect natural resources.

Contrary, a zero-waste system approach focuses on reuse or recycles of the products by redesigning of resource lifecycle. According to ZWIA, any term including “zero” means at least 90 percent diversion from landfills, incinerators, and the environment. However, Zero waste does not mean achieving absolute zero.

Zero Waste Cities

Zero-Waste City is a program adopted by cities for phasing out waste without incineration or landfill but using a zero-waste strategy that prevents waste in the first place.

Cities around the world including Auckland, Catalonia, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Milan, Montreal, Navarra, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rotterdam, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington D.C. announced their commitment to achieve “zero-waste” signing C40’s Advancing to Zero Waste Declaration.

The International Zero Waste Cities Conference (IZWCC, 2018) at Bandung, Indonesia with the theme ‘Circular City is the Future City’ presented the zero-waste approach of municipal waste management to reduce their waste by redirecting it to other purposes, extend recycling and composting and increase the overall sustainability of the cities.

Thus, Zero Waste aims to help people change their habits and lifestyle, minimizing excess consumption and maximizing their recovery. Could you reduce your waste or live a zero-waste lifestyle? Please leave your comment below.

What Can Be Recycled? – The Case of Polystyrene

We cannot change the fact that people produce waste. An average person uses 45-85 tonnes of materials each year. However, we can change how much waste we produce, how we manage it and what we do with it.

Indeed, managing waste in a sustainable way, optimizing recycling and reuse, as well as limiting production, forms a core part of any government policy to protect the environment.

To reduce waste industries, businesses and governments are developing advanced technologies that by mimicking nature turn the waste into a resource.

Dematerialization is being encouraged through the ideas of industrial ecology, eco-design, and eco-labeling. In addition to the well-established “reduce, reuse and recycle” shoppers are using their purchasing power for ethical consumerism.

Reduce or Waste Minimization

Waste minimization is not going to reduce waste output to zero. Therefore we also have to think about what we do with the rubbish left.

Reuse

The reuse of products or materials that would otherwise become waste can provide a range of social, economic and environmental benefits. This is an area where the voluntary and community waste sector has led the way. The sector has pioneered many of the services that are widespread today, such as the re-use of furniture and white goods.

Recycle / Recover

Recycling is a way every individual can help the environment every day – and it is easier to do than it has ever been. Your recycling options will vary depending on where you live and what service provider you have. Some service providers allow you to put all your recycling into one bin, except glass and plastic bags.

Most common is drop off locations specifically for plastic bags, and other waste recycling items.

Polystyrene food containers
Takeaway food in a styrofoam container. Photo credit: Piqsels

What Can Be Recycled

Rigid Plastics/Bottles

– Any plastic bottles or containers found in your kitchen

Paper and Cardboard

– Cereal/snack cardboard boxes

– Phonebooks, magazines, and mail

– Office Paper, newspaper, and cardboard

Metals

– Tin, aluminum, and steel cans

Glass

– Food containers or jars

– Soft drink and beer bottles

– Wine and liquor bottles

What Cannot Be Recycled

Loose Plastic Bags

– Plastic shopping bags

– Plastic stretch wrap

Polystyrene Foam Cups or Containers

– Egg cartons

– Take out containers

– Drinking cups

Soiled Food Items

– Food soiled containers

– Soiled paper products

Other

– Broken or sharp glass

– Fast-food packaging

– Plastic utensils

In many places scheduled trash pickup services to offer customized trash pickup solutions to manage your daily garbage collection and waste needs.

What is Polystyrene?

Polystyrene packaging, commonly known as the trademark Styrofoam is a type of plastic made from petroleum and synthetic chemicals. It usually comes in two forms: “Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), which is used for making disposable cups, plates, take-out food containers, and packing materials and “solid polystyrene, which is used in plastic forks, CD, DVD cases and other products.

Polystyrene can’t be recycled through your weekly recycling bin. Most places still don’t accept it in foam forms because it’s 98% air. So take it back to a local grocery store that participates in a store take-back program for the recycling of the foam packaging. Polystyrene recycling drop off recycling stations are now available at some locations.

Polystyrene is hard to recycle because it is an end product. Polystyrene is non-biodegradable and its lifespan in a landfill can last for hundreds of thousands of years.

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What Are the Effects of Polystyrene?

Polystyrene is the most widely used plastic packaging due to its melting point and durability. However, polystyrene is one of the least recycled post-consumer plastics, at a rate of below 1 percent for post-consumer polystyrene foam.

Styrene, a synthetic compound in styrofoam, and styrene oxide can leach into foods and affect human health. Obviously, this poses a serious threat to humans health and the environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study found tiny styrene residues in the human fat tissue samples. The EPA and International Agency for Research on Cancer consider styrene a “possible human carcinogen” and “that such materials can have serious impacts upon human health, wildlife, and aquatic environment, and the economy.” In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had added styrene to its list of known or possible carcinogens.

Therefore, recycling polystyrene is of great importance as a serious hazard to humans, wildlife, marine life, and the environment.

the case of polystyrene
Styrofoam food containers. Photo by Romana Klee/Wunderstock

Polystyrene Ban

On January 1, 2019, the New York City enforced its ban on Styrofoam. because the material can’t be “recycled in a manner that is economically feasible” or “environmentally effective” in its recycling program. Other cities have already banned EPS packaging including Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami Beach, Seattle and Washington, DC. Several states in the U.S. passed a ban on polystyrene in food containers at restaurants and grocery stores.

Alternatives for food packaging are made from bamboo, cornstarch, mushrooms, and peat plastic, and other plant-based materials.

Currently, many countries across the world banned single-use plastics including Styrofoams. Others consider ESP ban legislation and businesses phase out EPS foam packaging.

Some companies like Dell and Ikea are already offering alternative packaging. Other leading brands pledged to ensure that 70% of their packaging is reused or recycled globally. These are Coca-Cola, Danone, Dow Chemical, L’Oreal, Marks & Spencer, Mars, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.

McDonald’s is pledging to replace EPS with renewable or recyclable materials in all of its packagings by 2025. Other major U.S. companies like Amazon, Target and Walmart under growing pressure to make plans to phase out the foam.

Starbucks promised to make a 100 percent recyclable coffee cup.  The company plans to double recyclability, compostability, and reusability of their cups and packaging by 2022 and. Starbucks is committed to phasing out plastic straws from its stores globally by 2020.

Besides polystyrene, other packaging products with limited recycling markets include plastic cutlery, straws and paper napkins.

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Recycling tips

  • If you buy things that can be reused, you will save precious natural resources and energy used to make them, and you’ll reduce the amount of landfill space we need when they are thrown away.
  • Well-made items may cost a little more, to begin with, but they are usually worth the money because they last for a long time.
  • When your family goes shopping, think about taking bags with you. Only about 700 paper bags can be made from one 15-year-old tree.
  • Plastic bags start out as either oil or natural gas – non-renewable resources. Throw-away bags add a lot of pollution to the environment.
  • If everyone recycled his or her newspaper just one day a week, we would save about 36 million trees a year. You can save a tree for every four feet of paper you recycle.
  • Recycle your newspapers. Recycle your old notebook paper. It is considered “white paper,” and makes better-recycled paper.
  • Batteries that are thrown away produce most of the heavy metals – dangerous substances like lead, arsenic, zinc, cadmium, copper, and mercury – that are found in household trash. These metals are toxic. They can be harmful to humans and wildlife.
  • Turn off the toys and games that use batteries when you are not playing with them. That makes the batteries last longer, and you won’t need as many of them.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and a recharger.

All together, avoid packaging that cannot be disposed of in your community. Instead, choose alternatives made from plant-based material. Take the initiative to encourage local companies, colleagues, and friends to switch to biodegradable packaging. By doing this, you can help protect the environment from plastic pollution and prevent the poisoning of fish and aquatic animals in the ocean.

The Effect of Air Pollution on Human Health

Air pollution has turned into a general health concern everywhere throughout the world. Huge scale economic activities and transportation discharges are significant reasons for environmental air pollution.

Recent studies show that air pollution has a huge impact on our general health and well-being. A Cornell University study claims that about 40 percent of all deaths worldwide are caused by environmental pollution. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), almost half of million people die prematurely due to air pollution. More than twenty million people die from environmental pollution every year, mostly in developing countries of South and East Asia.

Types of Environmental Pollution

Recent studies revealed the negative impact of air pollution on human health causing so-called environmental pollution diseases. Diseases caused by pollution can be originated from air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, food pollution, and noise pollution and some other factors.

Ambient air pollution is one of the most widely spread and affects everyone. Clearly, the most affected individuals are those working and living in polluted air conditions (for example, different industries and buildings with indoor air pollution). Moreover, enormous city smog is a common reality everywhere around the world which is affecting countless individuals.

There are different air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, sulfur oxide, and organic volatile compounds.

Air pollution
Air pollution by industrial chimneys

Impact of Air Pollution on Health

Air pollutants can enter our bodies in the form of gases and particulate matter (PM) through the airways and lungs. Once in the body, toxic compounds enter our circulatory blood system, affecting different parts and organs. Symptoms can range from simple ones like nausea, dizziness, headache, and coughing to more serious ones such as respiratory and lung diseases.

Serious health conditions caused by air pollution include respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Respiratory diseases due to poor air quality in urban areas are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Air Pollution and Cancer

Air pollution is a leading cause of various types of cancer. Severe illnesses include pulmonary cancer, such as mesothelioma, a particular type of lung cancer that is usually associated with exposure to asbestos.

Leukemia, a type of blood cancer, is usually associated with exposure to benzene vapors via inhalation. Cancers of the liver and other organs are caused by inhalation of carcinogenic volatile chemicals.

Skin cancer is usually seen as a result of prolonged exposure to UV radiation. However, exposure to environmental pollution can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

Air Pollution
Air pollution by industrial chimneys

Air Pollution and Mental Health

Particles smaller than PM2.5 and ultrafine particles (UFPM), can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect the brain and the central nervous system. Several studies have been shown that these particles negatively affect the structure of the brain, causing degenerative changes such as a decrease of white matter or neuronal degeneration.

Chronic exposure to ambient air pollution can cause oxidative stress and neuroinflammation which leads to physiological alterations of the central nervous system.

Therefore, air pollution is one of the important factors that can affect mental health, causing the early onset of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia.

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Air Pollution Is Linked to Depression and Suicide

Depressive disorders affect about 350 million people worldwide resulting in reduced quality of life, a higher risk of morbidity and premature mortality.

Numerous studies have shown that environmental pollution may be linked to bipolar disorder, depression, and suicide. The link between an elevated exposure to tiny particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and ozone and depressive episodes has been confirmed. There are many risk factors for such mental conditions, the most significant of which are the social circumstance or chronic infections.

Air Pollution Affects Kids’ Mental Health

Cincinnati’s study has shown a positive correlation between elevated exposure to air pollution and a kid’s mental health. Poor air quality caused inflammation and the rise of depressive episodes, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Accumulated evidence confirms that children exposed to poor air conditions revealed decreased attention, short-term memory, and below-average levels of an intelligent quotient. The negative environmental impact on a kid’s mental health may be elevated by poverty caused by stress and other social and health conditions.

Several studies link autism and autism-like disorders to the effect of fine PM from ambient air pollution.  Air pollution affects prenatal brain development and an increased risk of developing mental disorders as well as neurobehavioral disorders, birth and immune system defects, and premature death.

Altogether, the link between urban air pollution and human health condition is obvious. Air pollution is an environmental hazard, therefore, novel public health initiatives have to be implemented to prevent health deterioration reaching epidemic proportions.

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Governments and businesses need to focus on greening our cities and changing to cleaner transport. Sustainable cities and communities programs should focus on investing in environmentally friendly public transport, green buildings, and public spaces, as well as improving urban planning and management.

What green initiatives have been implemented in your city or community so far? Are you satisfied with the environmental situation in your city or does it still need to be improved? Please leave your comment below.

Why Should We Ban Single-Use Plastics?

Plastic is a very extraordinary substance with numerous useful applications however it doesn’t worth to produce it for only a single-use when it is so seemingly long-lasting, persevering, and harmful for the natural environment.

What Is Single-Use Plastic?

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used just once before they are discarded or recycled. These are plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda, and water bottles and most of the food packaging. Disposable plastic shopping bags take around 20 years to degrade in the ocean – leaving synthetic substances and harmful particles (microplastics) behind. A bottle that holds one beverage will take 450 years or more and for a polystyrene (styrofoam) container  – from 500 to hundreds of thousands of years to break down into microplastic.

We produce approximately 300 million tons of plastic every year and half of it is disposable! Worldwide just 10 to 13 percent of plastics are recycled. Petroleum-based plastic isn’t biodegradable and for the most part, goes into a landfill where it is covered or it gets into the water and discovers its way into the ocean. Albeit plastic won’t biodegrade (deteriorate into a common substance like soil) it will degrade into tiny particles after many years. During the period of degrading, it discharges toxic substances that advance into our food and water supply.

We produce a large number of plastics consistently, a large portion of which can’t be recycled. Clearly we have to use less plastic, move towards environmentally sustainable products and develop technology and innovations that recycle plastic more effectively.

E.U. Single-Use Plastic Ban 

In October 2018, the European Parliament voted for a ban on the top 10 single-use plastic items including straws, plates, cups and cotton buds, in an attempt to stop plastic pollution of the ocean and empower sustainable options.

The Single-Use Plastics Directive will ban items for which alternatives are available, for example, single-use plastic cutlery, plates, and products made of oxo-degradable plastics, by 2021. E.U. members states will likewise need to accomplish a 90 percent collection target for plastic bottles by 2029.

Moreover, the agreement will extend the “polluter pays” principle, putting more pressure on producers of tobacco filters, fishing gear, and other pollutive items to support environmental obligation.

The ban is, initially, extensive. Besides the 2021 complete restriction on a lot of single-use items, the use of plastics for which no alternatives now exist – generally food packaging – should be cut down by 25 percent by 2025. Beverage bottles will require be collecting and recycling at a pace of 90 percent by 2025. Cigarette butts should be reduced by 50 percent by 2025, and 80 percent by 2030.

As per the European Commission, over 80 percent of marine litter is plastics, and less than 30 percent of the 25 million tons of plastic waste produced yearly by E.U. nations are recycled. Because of its slow pace of decomposition, plastic accumulates in oceans, seas and on seashores in the E.U. and around the world. The legislation is evaluated to keep away from around $25 billion worth of environmental damage by 2030.

E.U. single-use plastic ban
The most common objects of plastic pollution. Credit: Twitter
What Is Being Banned?

The E.U. Single-Use Plastics Directive focuses on the most widely recognized plastic pollutants of the ocean. The list of banned products such as cutlery and cotton buds was picked because there are promptly accessible alternatives, for example, paper straws and cardboard containers.

Other products, “where no elective exists” in any case must be decreased by 25 percent in all member states by 2025.

MEPs likewise attached alterations to the designs for cigarette filters, a plastic pollutant that is common litter on seashores. Cigarette producers should lessen the plastic by half by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030.

Another ambitious objective is to ensure 90 percent of every single plastic beverage bottles are collected for recycling by 2025. As of now, bottles and their lids represent about 20 percent of the ocean plastic. Producers will likewise need to assume greater responsibility for what befalls their plastic items and packaging.

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Single-Use Plastic Ban in North America

Only around 10 percent of plastic waste gets recycled in the USA and Canada. Most plastic up in landfills, some is burned and others wind up in unmanaged dumps.

Canada plans to “ban harmful single-use plastics as early as 2021” and address companies that that manufacture or sell plastics to be responsible for their plastic waste. The Canadian government did not specify which single-use plastic items will be banned, but most likely the list will include “shopping bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada threw away 8 billion Canadian dollars’ worth of plastic material each year. “People have had enough of seeing their parks and beaches covered with plastic,” he said. “That’s a problem, one that we have to do something about.”

There is no nation-wide plastic ban in the USA. However, several states announced a ban on most types of disposable bags. In 2016, California passed the first statewide ban on single-use plastic, as well as a 10-cent tax on paper or reusable bags.

Other states include Hawaii, New York and as well as the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

New York plastic bags ban
New York bans plastic bags. Image source: Pixabay / BrightVibes

There have also been plastic bag bans implemented in cities like Seattle, Boston, San Diego and Washington, D.C., and some states like Maine, Vermont, and Maryland.

However, this has led to clashing over whether it’s legal to ban plastic in some cities and states, placing a ban on ban. The plastic industry is putting a lot of their money on preemption to make it illegal to ban single-use plastics.

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Plastic Pollution Is a Global Challenge

Countries around the globe are joining the initiative in banning harmful plastics. The United Nations reports that 180 countries reached an agreement to reduce single-use plastics that make it to the ocean and is harmful to marine wildlife by imposing bans or taxes.

In 2002, Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags. The Indian government announced that will eliminate single-use plastics by 2022. Since 2017, Kenya has implemented the strict plastic bag ban for selling, producing or using plastic bags that could end up with imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000. Single-use plastic bags have been prohibited in New Zealand starting on July 1, 2019.

Chili was the first country to ban nationwide single-use plastics in Latin America, followed by Colombia and Panama. Costa Rica pledged to abandon disposable plastics by 2021. Other countries and cities in Latin America and the Caribbean use taxes, bans and innovative approaches.

The Impact of Plastic on the Environment

A large number of plastics floats in the ocean in goliath islands of plastic waste. As indicated by the World Economic Forum, 90 percent of the plastic winding up in the oceans, and that presently there are 50 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans.

Obscure amounts have degraded into tiny toxic microplastic particles that act similarly as microbeads, drawing in and restricting different toxins and making themselves increasingly dangerous. While it floats and breaks down, the plastic drains marine-toxic synthetic compounds into the water. Microparticles of plastic end up in the stomachs of marine creatures, birds and, in a human organism too.

single-use plastic ban
Sea lion tangled in plastic. Photo credit: Pxfuel

The impacts of plastic bags and bottle caps on seabirds, turtles, seals, whales, and different species are graphically shown by their death from starvation after erroneously expending the plastic or from getting tangled up in it.

These toxic substances are presently being found in our circulation system and the most recent research has discovered them to upset the Endocrine framework which can cause cancer, infertility, birth defects, impaired immunity, and numerous different sicknesses.

In conclusion, we need to consider changing our everyday shopping habits such as excessive consumption and minimizing single-use plastic waste. Before buying anything containing plastic parts, consider alternatives, including packaging. You can find more recycling tips here.

What are other ways to avoid using single-use plastics? Do you use them when you go shopping? Do they help you minimize your expenses or vice versa? Please share your comments or questions below.