10.000 liters of air

by Abu Lido

 

Air pollution has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a human carcinogen. As early as the 1940s, scientists had begun expressing concern over possible hazards associated with air pollution by combining environmental and  public health data collected worldwide, but it was only during the following 70 years that scientific evidence linking air pollution with lung cancer has been found. This report was made public on last October 2013.

The main source of air pollution and atmospheric particulate matter, one of the deadliest form of  air pollution, is combustion, most of which is man-made. Just to give you an idea: particulates from coal-fired power plants for producing electricity, from methane, gas and wood used  for cooking and heating purposes, from all means of transport, cars, tractors, aeroplanes, ambulances. Any combustion releases a combination of toxic environmental chemicals into the air, which join together to form the framework of the compounds which alone or in a group trigger various biological reactions in human body instantly with our breath but even weeks and years later, and it will, unfortunately, remain for many generations to come.

“You can’t avoid breathing the air, no matter who you are”.

10.000 liters is the total amount of air we inhale in a day. When breathing we interact with all the emissions from all the past and present combustion, moment by moment. Future generations will come to the world with the effects of air pollution permanently included in their bodies.

And just because combustion releases elements that interact with our bodies throughout our lives, air pollution is the greatest interactive installation with a global “soul” of all time: it is created simultaneously by any man, woman and any means of transport in all the cities of the world and it directly addresses every citizen. It is a theme without frontiers that doesn’t need infrastructures or connections to spread and prosper. It doesn’t need to be packed in those common holders history usually makes use of in order to keep the memory of its existence, such as museums, books, files, cinematheques. It enjoys an eternity that stuns.

We all, citizens of the world, are wondering whether researchers have discovered a new treatment against cancer but hardly ever wonder whether they have found out how to prevent it. Since last October 2013 we can ask ourselves this question every time we breathe, or weeks later or even years later, but the answer will always be the same: reducing emissions by adopting a low-carbon lifestyle.

 

Photo credits:

1-9 | Suzanne Moxhay – Borderlands series

10-13 |MAK Remissa Asia Motion

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