As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our world, never before have we been so confronted with the importance of having enough quality air. “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet” is the theme of this year’s International Day of Clean Air for blue skies, held each year on 7 September.
The Day aims to highlight the negative impacts of air pollution and the need for clean air to support our health and the environment. It emphasizes that, to combat the growing problem of air quality, the world needs to work together.
ISO has hundreds of standards that represent international consensus on tackling indoor and outdoor air pollution. These include standards for the measurement of air pollutants and emissions, workspace air, indoor air, and technologies that reduce pollution both inside and out.
With air pollution contributing to an estimated 6.5 million premature deaths globally, it is important to find effective ways to reduce harmful particles and allow us to breathe easier. The quality of the air circulating in a built environment can be compromised by many factors, such as harmful gases, particles, odours, micro-organisms and emissions from building products and furnishings.
The quality of ventilation and filtration systems, as well as design and layout, can therefore play a significant role. ISO 7708, Air quality – Particle size fraction definitions for health-related sampling, ISO 13138, Air quality – Sampling conventions for airborne particle deposition in the human respiratory system, and the ISO 16000 series for indoor air, are just some of the standards that support these technologies.
Around three billion people rely on polluting open fires or inefficient stoves for cooking and heating, which places them at serious risk of health disorders and premature death. ISO 19869, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions – Field testing methods for cookstoves, is a powerful tool for the development of cleaner cooking appliances. It provides a means to evaluate existing methods for the testing of cookstoves as well as guidance on developing new ones.
Saving the planet
ISO also has many standards supporting ways of reducing air pollution, such as those for electric, hybrid and fuel-cell road vehicles. These include ISO 20762, Electrically propelled road vehicles – Determination of power for propulsion of hybrid electric vehicle, and ISO 23274, Hybrid-electric road vehicles – Exhaust emissions and fuel consumption measurements.
All of these standards contribute to many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those on good health and well-being (SDG 3), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) and climate action (SDG 13).