They say “prevention is better than cure”. Definitely, it’s better and safer to prevent a problem, than allow it to grow and waste your time and effort which may end up not attracting any cure.
Before stating the best practices for managing air pollution, it is important to note that prevention should be pursued at all cost and with as much effort as one can exert.
Once the atmosphere/air is polluted beyond permissible limits, attention has to focus on reducing or managing pollutant or air pollution sources. However, pollution prevention in the environment (air, land, and water) should be the first goal.
What is pollution prevention?
Pollution prevention is any practical method used to prevent or reduce the production or creation of wastes and eventually cut down air pollutants, solid wastes, hazardous wastes, and water pollutants.
Pollution prevention increases efficiency and enhances environmental protection; in addition, it helps reduce the toxicity and quantity of pollutants when:
- less hazardous materials are substituted for more hazardous materials.
- reusable material is substituted for single-use material, where practicable.
- spills and leakages are prevented from occurring.
- pollutants from leakages are captured, recycled, and treated before discharge into water or air.
- raw materials are efficiently utilized in a timely manner in order to avoid and reduce waste.
- solvents are cleaned and reused.
- materials are periodically inspected, serviced, or maintained, and unusable raw materials are rejected or returned.
- people and society are taught, properly trained, or directed on how to effectively tackle pollution.
Best practices for managing air pollution sources
The following best practices can be used to manage air pollution sources, regardless of whether they are mobile sources, area sources, criteria pollutants, greenhouse gas sources, or major point sources of criteria pollutants and/or toxic air pollutants:
(1) Conducting surveillance on any part of the environment to determine where pollutants are being released into the air, the quantity of pollutants being released, and the exact times of their release.
(2) Searching or checking for leaks using leak detectors, especially around vents, valves, sampling points, trainers, gaskets, ductwork, lint bags, seals, condensing coils, exhaust dampers, and pipe fittings.
(3) Cleaning up all spills, as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
(4) Cleaning of all HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems on rooftops and replacing all essential filters if they have been incorporated to help prevent growth and spread of Legionella organisms which cause Legionnaires disease.
(5) Replacing carbon absorbent materials and filters, regularly.
(6) Substituting less hazardous materials and chemicals for more hazardous materials and chemicals, when possible or appropriate.
(7) Reusing and recycling substances, where or when possible.
(8) Ensuring that general housekeeping, all operating equipment, sampling equipment, control devices, and storage vessels operate the right way and are maintained in a well-timed manner.
(9) Training employees to do their jobs properly, test their proficiency, continuously build their knowledge or education, and upgrade their skills on a periodic basis.
(10) Keeping written records of all maintenance works carried out on facilities and equipment, and highlighting notable problems and the solutions that were used to solve them.