December 7, 2016

What you need to know about air pollution: its importance and effective solutions

The article below is a guest post written by Joe Thomas of All Green PR. Joe is a writer from the UK, who creates articles on a range of subjects, including health and nutrition, sustainability and environmental issues. He believes living a healthy lifestyle will ensure a good platform for a happier life. This will help provide a better environment for us all, and help keep us more free of disease. Raising awareness on such issues is important for progression - education is key.

Air pollution is now one of the most pressing environmental concerns. While nine out of the ten most polluted cities in the world lie in India and Pakistan that leaves no room for complacency amongst other countries; partly because they too have their own issues and also because we live in a connected ecosystem.

What Is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is a complex topic as so many factors are responsible for the poor quality of our air. However, simply put, air pollution is any chemical, physical or biological change which causes the atmosphere to become dirty and thus risks not only our own potential for survival but also that of other animals and plants.

Air pollution can also be further divided into two distinct categories; visible and invisible. Both can lead to an alteration of the delicate balance of our atmosphere and cause problems to health on a local scale and also damage to the ecosystem globally in terms of depletion of the ozone layer leading to climate change.

Air pollution can arise in two main ways. First, pollutants can be released directly into the atmosphere and are known as primary pollutants. Second, primary pollutants can combine to form secondary pollutants and this can be seen in the formation of issues such as smog.

What Causes Air Pollution?

Fossil Fuels: A main cause of air pollution is the one you might expect, namely the sulphur released from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum. We rely on petrol, diesel and jet fuel to transport not only us but our goods around the world as we live in an increasingly globalised economy. In 2015 alone nearly 3.6 billion passengers, almost half the world’s population, were transported by the world’s airlines.

Vehicle Emissions: As our reliance on cars, trucks, shipping freighters and aeroplanes increases so do the levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere. 13% of global CO2 emissions, a major factor in global warming, come from transport.

Agriculture: We may not always immediately think of agricultural activities being connected to air pollution but methane and ammonia are both by-products of farming and are highly hazardous to our environment. This is compounded by the use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers, a heady cocktail of chemicals, some parts of which make it into the air.

Manufacturing: Heavy industry leads to the release of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and a soup of other chemicals, all of which can lead to a decline in air quality. Oil refineries also release hydrocarbons which pollute the atmosphere.

Deforestation: Deforestation is caused by clearing land for agriculture, manufacturing and ever growing urban areas. This lowers air quality because the fewer trees there are the less carbon dioxide they can absorb.

Mining: The result of mining on the health of workers and nearby residents has been clearly demonstrated over the years and in developing countries the quest to extract as many tons of natural resources as possible is having a devastating impact on the health of those working in the mines.

Indoor Pollution: What we use in our own homes is also leading to air pollution. Household cleaning products, paints and varnishes release chemicals into the air which contribute to poor air quality and many of us add to this chemical mix by smoking.

What Damage Does Air Pollution Do?

Air pollution damages our environment, and it also leads to a variety of health issues and even death.

Circulatory and Respiratory Issues: The particulates in the atmosphere have been linked to heart problems, respiratory issues and even cancer. Current estimates are that polluted air causes 5.5 million premature deaths per year.

Climate Change: The rise of levels of carbon dioxide, alongside other greenhouses gases, has led to global warming which has caused increasingly unpredictable weather systems and the melting of the ice caps.

Thinning of the Ozone Layer: As the levels of hydro chlorofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere rise this leads to a depletion of the ozone layer which protects the planet. As it does we are exposed to higher levels of ultraviolet light which can cause skin and eye problems.

Acid Rain: As sulphur and nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere they can combine with water droplets and fall as acid rain. The results can be devastating to fish, wildlife, trees and even the crops we rely on for our food production.

What Can Be Done About Air Pollution?

Air pollution needs to be tackled at a global level through legislation and international agreements which aim to reduce pollution levels, such as the Paris Agreement which was agreed in December 2015.

However, there are also steps we as individuals can take to lower our own environmental impact, particularly when it comes to air pollution.

Reduce Your Use of Private Vehicles: Where possible travel to your destination on foot, by bicycle, on public transport or car pool with others in your area. By lowering vehicle emissions you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Conserve Energy In the Home: Reduce your use of electricity by purchasing eco-friendly goods, keeping your thermostat turned down and insulating your property. Switch to sources of renewable energy where possible.

Recycle: Try to buy less from new and recycle household items as well as everything you are throwing out, even food scraps can go on a compost heap.

Reduce Food Miles: By purchasing more local food from farmers’ markets and growing your own fresh produce you can drastically reduce the distance your food travels to reach your plate.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality: As well as the steps above you can also improve the air quality in your own home by asking smokers to light up elsewhere; avoiding harsh cleaning agents; minimising your use of synthetic air fresheners; opening the windows regularly; and including plants in your interior design.

While it is sometimes easy to dismiss poor air quality as something which doesn’t concern us, we only have to take a look at the statistics to understand the negative impact pollution is having on us and on our world. It is also important to remember that it is vital for us all to act today if we don’t want to leave a legacy it will be impossible for future generations to reverse.

December 1, 2016

Is a "no cards Christmas" the way to go?

This year, as in the previous 10 years, C&D Consultancy will not be sending Christmas cards to customers and friends to wish them seasonal greetings, instead we will be making a charity donation equivalent to the cost of the cards and stamps to our charity of the year.

This year that donation has been made to Bark Inn Kennels after the kennel walk on Sunday.

I know many people love a house full of cards at this time of year, but we feel that the money we would have spent, this year £100, can be more useful to a charity hence our decision.

As more and more people use social media to send Christmas messages and share videos of themselves as dancing elves, perhaps you could do the same this year or next and help a charity close to your heart instead.

November 30, 2016

Practicing What We Preach

Continuing professional development is important for any professional person as I am sure we all agree. Equally important, however, is the continued development of the companies they work for.

Here at C&D we take this very seriously and as a result we have just renewed our SMAS certification, which evaluates our Health and Safety systems within our own business. Obviously, as Health and Safety professionals it is highly important that we practice what we preach and it is always nice for others to confirm that this is what we do.

Interestingly, following conversations with our allocated assessor, it would seem that our certification at Principal Designer level is possibly the only, certainly one of the very few, Demolition Consultancies certified at this level. Once again C&D is leading the field.

Please click the certificate below to view it full size:

November 29, 2016

November-December issue of D&RI Magazine available!

The latest issue of Demolition and Recycling International magazine is no available to download. The Volume 18, Number 6 November-December 2016 issue contains 60-pages of content, including:

Changing legislation and a trend to higher quality products are raising the profile of the Finnish company's natural stone recycling business.

For a small country in the centre of Europe, Austria has one of the world’s biggest concentrations of crushing and screening companies. D&Ri catches up with three of them, starting with Rubble Master.

A measured approach to product progression: the compact equipment market has remained a hive of activity during 2016 as manufacturers show that it is possible to have big plans for small machines.

We look back at the World Demolition Awards 2016 in Miami which featured five first-time winners including Priestly Demolition of Canada.

The first of two articles on the forthcoming Conexpo exhibition in the USA, taking place in March 2017 features exhibitors and new products.

D&Ri rounds up some recent developments in concrete cutting as the ingenuity of equipment suppliers becomes increasingly tested with complex and time-specific requirements.

The annual USA-based showcase for the global concrete industry returns after a 2016 show that was its most successful for seven years, with a total of more than 60,000 professionals attending the event.

You can download the PDF edition of the magazine by clicking here.

November 28, 2016

Changes to Midlands Regional Meeting Dates and Venues

Following discussions with Adrian McLean and Richard Dolman the IDE have decided to make the following changes to the Midlands Regional Meetings:-

Tuesday 17th January: Venue is changed from Armac Group to an AR sponsored venue. Details will follow but date remains the same.

Wednesday 5th April: Date is now Thursday 30 March at Armac Group Quarry to coincide with the launch of the new Volvo Demolition Range at the venue on the following day.

November 23, 2016

Training preview for 2017

As stated on our sister site Demolition Training, there's now a preview of the training courses we are offering during the first 3 months of 2017. We realize it's a little early to be talking about the new year, but as is the point of training: we like to be prepared.

To download a copy of the training programme click HERE, or contact Stuart on stuart@demolishdismantle.co.uk

November 22, 2016

Matt Birch chats about the UK's first Demolition Degree (on camera)

C&D's very own Matt Birch featured in this video chatting about the UK's first Demolition Degree, which starts next year at Wolverhampton University. Matt will be attending!

November 21, 2016

IDE Midlands Regional Meeting dates announced for 2017

The IDE have announced the Midlands Regional Meeting dates for 2017 and they are as follows;-
  • Tuesday 17th January. Venue:- Armac sponsored at new Armac offices.
  • Wednesday 05 April. Venue:- AR Demolition sponsored, Venue to be agreed.
  • Tuesday 15th August Venue:- DSM sponored. Venue to be agreed.
  • Tuesday 12th December Venue;- Possibly Mr Wongs, Birmingham. (Meal and meeting)
Please put the dates in your diaries.

November 14, 2016

McAuliffe offers free advice, releases hospital site transformation case study

C&D Consultancy customer McAuliffe has released two useful resources recently that may be of benefit to some of our readers.

The first is a case study covering demolition, remediation, and enabling works for Wates Living Space which saw a former hospital in Dudley transformed into a viable development platform for the construction of apartments and houses. The case study can be viewed and downloaded from the McAuliffe website.

The second is the provision by McAuliffe of free materials management advice to housebuilders, with the aim being to help prevent costly mistakes and environmental prosecutions.

According to McAuliffe:

"The team - who recently travelled to Ferrara, Italy, to deliver advice on managing asbestos at RemTech 2016 - will take their expertise straight to clients, presenting at client review meetings.

Topics covered will include demystifying core legislation and common urban myths. This includes how to navigate the CL:AIRE: Waste Code of Practice and implications of the new asbestos in soils (CAR-SOIL) guidance - as recognised by the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency.

For more information, please contact McAuliffe via their website.

November 11, 2016

A chat with Matt Birch about the Demolition Degree

Last week we brought you the news that the UK’s first ever demolition degree had been announced.

C&D’s very own Matt Birch, trainee demolition engineer, was one of the first people to sign up for the course, which will be officially launched at the University of Wolverhampton in September 2017.

Here we speak to Matt about his journey with C&D so far and to find out what he hopes to achieve from the course.

What made you want to pursue demolition as a career?

It all happened when John Woodward (C&D founder) came to Smestow School in 2014 to do a talk as part of an initiative called ‘Inspiring the Future’. He spoke really passionately about the demolition industry and its use of ground-breaking technology, which I found very interesting.

Feeling inspired, I contacted John a couple of days later to ask if I could do a week’s work experience with C&D. He agreed and following that I returned for a further four week placement in 2015. Then earlier this year, I joined C&D full-time as a trainee demolition engineer.

Why did you want to sign up for the degree?

When I first heard about the degree, it was a very easy decision to put my name forward.

I enjoy learning and I have developed a real thirst for knowledge during my brief time working in the demolition sector and this gives me the ideal opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge even further, not to mention the chance to secure a national qualification in the process.

What impact do you think these developments will have on the sector as a whole?

There is a lack of understanding about the complexity of the industry as a whole, there is a lot more to it than just knocking down buildings and clearing the rubble. No two projects are the same.

Now is an incredibly exciting time to break into the demolition industry. Hopefully the course will go some way towards eliminating the common misconceptions surrounding the sector as well as presenting demolition as a viable alternative to other engineering career choices such as mechanics or architecture.

Will you continue to work at C&D during your studies?

Yes. The degree is going to have a big emphasis on working in industry, so the hands-on experience will only benefit my studies.