Environmental Air Quality

Clean air is required to maintain human health and air pollution is a big environmental issue. The air we breathe impacts our well-being and is critical to supporting the amenity of everyone.

While Australia’s air quality is generally very good, there are ongoing challenges. Some pollutants such as particulate matter and ozone still exceed national ambient air quality standards in built up areas, and concerns over industrial emissions still affect many communities.

Environmental consultants play a vital role in maintaining air quality and addressing the impacts of air pollution on human health. One way environmental scientists help monitor air quality is by assessing the performance of businesses in achieving environmental approvals, and managing their ongoing operations and compliance with regulations designed to keep the community safe from air pollutants.

Atmospheric scientists with experience in air quality consulting, odour measurement, dust and odour impact assessments understand the key air quality issues faced by businesses and how best to provide solutions that meet the expectations of environmental regulators and the community.

This can require the monitoring of air quality in the workplace and gas sample laboratory analyses including soil vapour assessments; meteorological monitoring, modelling and data analysis; air and odour dispersion modelling and impact assessment  and the clear and concise reporting and communication of complex ideas and outcomes, to government regulators and community stakeholders.

An example of this kind of work in action is shown in the video below, where Melbourne based environmental consulting company Atma Environmental demonstrate the application of soil vapour testing, to measure the seeping of volatile contaminants present in soil or groundwater, into the atmosphere, which is particularly dangerous in buildings and enclosed spaces. If these toxic chemicals are not identified and mitigation or clean up managed, people suffering from prolonged exposure can aquire chronic health problems or terminal illnesses.

Consulting environmental scientists can identify actions that can be taken to deliver strategic approaches to address air quality, and one area where this is particularly relevant is in the development of systems to maintaining air quality in industrial, mining and manufacturing environments.

In these circumstances environmental consultants specialising in the design, use, deployment and monitoring of air quality systems to control dust, fumes and other toxic air pollutants in workplace environments.

One example of this is the use of materials extraction systems which use industrial ducting components to build Fume extraction, dust extraction, and dust collection systems, which keep employees safe when they are working in environments which are potentially hazardous air conditions.

In the beginning

No blog on Environmental Scientists would be complete without a little acknowledgement of the woman who was at the very beginning of environmental science, in fact the whole environmental movement itself really was brought to light form her work; Rachel Carson. I know that I for one am grateful for what she uncovered and shared with the public through her book Silent Spring.Environmental-Science-SilentSpring-Carson That began our understanding of the devastating effects of DDT and the harm we as humans can inadvertently do to the environment and each other through the use of chemicals that were meant to make our lives better. I think that creed that you hear from the medical profession “First do no harm” might well be employed in the chemical industries. I think the world would be a different place if were enlightened enough to take that approach. There’s certainly a mind boggling number of chemicals that get approved with minimal testing, we won’t truly know their effect possibly for generations and even then it’ll be the effect of unknown chemical cocktails. As much as I appreciate the work of my fellow environmental scientists working in clean up operations there is a limit to what they can accomplish. I suppose all progress is slower than what we’d really like. I am glad for the increasing awareness that is resulting in more jobs in these fields, that is a good sign atleast.

Enviro Scientists Down Under

I’ve been over in Australia recently and met a few enviro scientists in my travels. One of them was Steven Molino he works at Molino Stewart

These guys cover an interesting range of environmental work. Working in NSW around Sydney they provide environmental consulting services for getting your land ready for development whether just for your esa or for land remediation for soil contamination and the like. They also specialise in natural hazard management; that is working on a large scale to help in situations that are what they term bushfire (wildfire) prone or flood prone to help minimise the risk and also manage it in the event of these emergency situations. This is clearly something that is going to be needed more as we get an increase in the quantity and intensity of severe weather events due to global warming. Another area of environmental science they specialise in is ecological assessments. Ecological assessments differ from environmental assessments in that it focuses more on living things that is flora (plants) and fauna (animals) rather than more inert things like chemicals in soil, air and water. So for an ecological job they would assess habitat and species present they would look for rare species, quantity of individuals and what needs they have so they can provide a report that helps to create an educated skoala-ecological-consultantsolution for managing the needs of the environment as well as human needs.

When I was down in Melbourne I met another guy Glenn Berry from Atmaenvironmental. Lovely guy, from Canada originally. He was flat out in his business. He mainly focused on site assessments and contaminated land. He’d put together a great series of onsite videos for his clients to get a much better idea of what they do, if you’re needing this kind of work done they’re definitely worth a look even if you’re not in his neck of the woods. I’ve put this one in here on (whatever it is) but check out his youtube channel too here.

Then of course there’s another branch of environmental science that leans a bit more toward psychology and that is helping businesses reduce their waste by providing analysis and better infrastructure and education for staff and clients to more effectively sort their waste. One of Glenn’s friends, Peter Hosking from Great Forest Australia works in this area and I must say it’s quite impressive how much money a reasonably large organisation can save simply by engaging these guys to direct more waste away from landfill which really adds up when you’re talking large office buildings or shopping centres. Have a look at their video, I think you’d be surprised how much trash there is on a daily basis, yeah I know, sounds like fun viewing doesn’t it?! It’s better than it sounds and I think you’d agree after watching it, letting them sort it out seems like a pretty good deal!