The construction industry is one of the primary contributors to pollution in Australia. The activities that come with it, like land clearing, the use of large vehicles and heavy equipment, as well as the application of hazardous chemicals, not only produce air pollution but also water and noise pollution.
Now, if you own a construction company yourself, one of your responsibilities is to reduce the negative impact of your operations on the environment. Having some measures in place to reduce air pollution at construction site will go a long way in preventing irreversible damage to the health of your workers and the people living in the communities nearby.
Types of Pollution a Construction Site Produces
As previously implied, construction sites produce different types of waste that can harm the environment. Here are the major types of pollution that you should be aware of:
This type of pollution comes from various processes, such as land clearing, excavation, and burning of materials. Generally, these activities produce dust, emissions, and smoke that pose a great risk to workers and nearby residents.
The poor air quality caused by construction can lead to major health problems, such as asthma, cough, shortness of breath, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and lung cancer.
This occurs when hazardous chemicals and other toxic substances produced by construction projects are not managed well and end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Materials, such as paint, glue, cement, diesel, and oil, are mostly the source of this type of pollution.
While this form always takes the backseat when talking about pollution, its effects are actually worse than most people think. Not only that it causes hearing loss in workers, but also higher levels of stress in nearby residents, which consequently lead to serious medical conditions, such as high blood pressure. Aside from that, it also disturbs the natural cycles of wildlife.
The common sources of noise pollution in construction site are the use of machinery and equipment, as well as the building process itself.
Construction Pollution Statistics in Australia
According to a recent construction pollution statistics report, Australia’s construction industry is currently producing 25% of the country’s overall emissions. However, this number is received in a good light by some experts, considering that the country is on the right track of achieving 26%-28% below its 2015 pollution levels, which it had set to achieve by 2030. Above all, the Australian government aims to achieve zero net emissions by 2050.
Part of the government’s strategy to achieve such a goal is setting minimal obligatory requirements for construction companies to achieve energy efficiency. Apart from that, these companies are also encouraged to implement voluntary measures to reduce the emissions they produce.
Sustainable Air Pollution Prevention Methods for Your Construction Site
Among the three types of pollution caused by the industry, it is easy to say that air pollution is the biggest problem that construction companies face. So, it should be the one that you put more focus on. Here are some sustainable solutions to curb it down:
- Use a monitoring system to manage air pollution at construction site.
There are new software solutions that use an integrated approach to collecting information on the diesel particulate matter (DPM) you are producing at the site, verifying and implementing control measures to minimise health risks, and making informed decisions for risk management.
- Utilise emission-control technologies.
Take advantage of products that are designed to reduce or eliminate hazardous exhaust components and other types of emissions that are harmful to human and animal health. Good examples of these technologies are diesel particulate filters, catalytic converters, and diesel oxidation catalysts.
- Upgrade to new equipment.
Old pieces of heavy equipment are known to consume more fuel. Thus, they also produce more emissions.
With that in mind, one good step to construction pollution prevention that you can take is upgrading to newer, more efficient equipment.
Aside from the construction equipment that is often used at your site, you should also look into your generators. You might want to start replacing them with hydrogen fuel cells, which are known to produce zero particle emissions.
- Make your projects as environmentally friendly as possible.
Apart from using new technologies, you should also try to only use construction materials that have less impact on the environment. You can also implement measures to manage your waste properly, such as a “recycle and reuse” programme.
Owners of construction companies have a shared responsibility to reduce air pollution at construction site. You need to be aware of the pollutants your work activities create and take some preventative measures to limit their harmful effect on the environment. A good place to start is using the sustainable strategies mentioned above.
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