How does construction affect air quality and how can this impact be minimized?

September 12, 2023  18:24

During any construction work, a huge amount of dust is generated. Why is this a problem? How can we minimize the impact of construction on air quality? What innovative dust control methods are used in the world today? Read about all this in Tech's article.

Construction and air pollution

One of the most visible consequences of construction is the dust it generates. Construction sites churn out dust and particulate matter, which can pose health risks to both workers and nearby residents. The dust carries tiny particles of various substances, including concrete, wood, and metals, which can be harmful when inhaled.

Construction can also contribute to overall air pollution in a number of other ways. Equipment used in construction, such as heavy machinery and diesel-powered vehicles, emit pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). These emissions can exacerbate respiratory issues and contribute to smog formation.

Minimizing construction's impact

Fortunately, construction's impact on air quality can be reduced through innovative practices and technologies:

  1. Dust Control Measures
  • Water Spraying: Using water sprayers to keep dust particles from becoming airborne.
  • Dust Suppressants: Applying dust suppressant products to construction materials.
  • Covering Loads: Covering trucks hauling loose materials to prevent particles from escaping.
  1. Cleaner Construction Equipment
  • Electric and Hybrid Machinery: Transitioning to electric and hybrid construction equipment to reduce emissions.
  • Tier 4 Engines: Employing construction equipment with advanced emissions control technology.
  1. Alternative Materials
  • Eco-Friendly Materials: Choosing construction materials with lower emissions during production.
  • Recycled and Sustainable Materials: Incorporating recycled and sustainable materials into construction projects.
  1. Efficient Design and Planning
  • Prefabrication: Embracing off-site construction techniques to minimize on-site activities.
  • Optimized Transportation: Planning efficient routes and schedules for construction vehicle movement.

Construction may be synonymous with progress, but it doesn't have to be synonymous with poor air quality and worsening environmental problems. Some of the measures listed above will, of course, require significant costs, but others are quite feasible at minimal cost and are recommended for implementation first, even in low- and middle-income countries.

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