Environmental health is a pressing world issue. While economic growth in Asia is booming, specifically in China, there is a flipside to progress and that is living constantly with air pollution.
On most days, the double-edged sword of economic growth in China is easy to see. Development across China, especially Hong Kong, has brought big business to the region. Manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure, and construction have provided jobs for millions and raised the standard of living at a pace never seen before.
The flip side, however, is the also unforeseen levels of air pollution. The thing about air pollution that is really troubling is that it is one problem that cannot be avoided. Overweight? Eat less. Broke? Save more. No opportunities? Get an education. Air pollution? Don’t breathe?
In China, the statistics are staggering. A study conducted by Berkely Earth, an independent non-profit, showed that in the past few years 17% of all deaths in China could be attributed to air pollution, about 1.6 million per year. Furthermore, during a five-month study between April 5, 2014 and August 5, 2015 they found that 92% of China’s population was breathing dirty air for at least 120 hours and a whopping 38% experienced an unhealthy level of air pollution the whole time.
Certainly this kind of thing is news to no one. The air quality situation in China has been on the news cycle globally for a couple years now, so what should we be paying attention to?
At Renaud Air, something our Clean Air Experts often address with commercial clients is sick building syndrome. This refers to the tendency for people to have health problems when they spend too much time in buildings with poor air quality. Building practices are only just starting to catch up to doing what they need to do to tackle air quality issues. It was estimated that in the USA, where buildings follow strict heath codes, poor indoor air quality cost the US economy $168 billion in 2010. Here in Hong Kong businesses everyday come to us looking to get an edge by installing air purifiers.
What once was a luxury now is a necessity, that is, if companies are serious about attracting the best talent.
We usually only look at the scary side of air pollution, respiratory illness, cancer, and death, but what about the smaller problems that also have a widespread negative effect on businesses? Without adequate protection from air pollution, the number of sick days will increase, productivity will decrease, and minor things like seasonal allergies and illness will become more severe. Although air pollution is a problem all year round, the winter months are the worst. Our sales of HEPA air purifiers spike between September and March, sometimes as much as 85%.
Don’t panic. All of this is not meant to scare you, air pollution is a terrible thing, but what’s worse is when it’s ignored. Over the year we have learned how to live without pollution. Renaud Air was born
Renaud Air was bornout of necessity and as a business we have grown because we are experts in providing real solutions to this problem. We have performed thousands upon thousands of free air tests for people all over China, especially in Hong Kong. It’s a great opportunity for us to sit down with our clients and explain to them where they are at risk and what they can do to provide clean air for their families and employees. Now, we are currently pioneering the science of designing large-scale purification systems that integrate into building’s HVAC systems. It’s pretty crazy stuff but we’re passionate about it because it lets us provide clean air on a larger scale, which benefits more people.