It’s no secret that the aviation industry causes various environmental hazards. From air pollution to vast amounts of waste, airports are damaging the environment in and around them. Airports of all sizes have some impact on the local and global environment.
It is estimated that by 2030, 313 million passengers will come through mainland UK airports. Aviation is a major economic contributor to tourism, trading and the business world. Fortunately, there are a few ways these environmental hazards can be diminished so that the aviation industry can become more eco-friendly. The environmental and social harm caused by aviation can be reduced through improved technology and operational management.
So, What Are the Types of Environmental Pollution in an Airport?
Airports produce various types of pollution. The main ones include noise pollution, air pollution, waste and factors damaging local wildlife habitats.
Air pollution is the most significant environmental hazard. Emissions from aircrafts and ground vehicles contribute to local air quality issues and can cause larger global problems. Aviation pumps enormous amounts of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and presents a significant threat to the environment. However, nitrogen dioxide is the primary concern with the aviation industry’s pollution. Nitrogen oxide is thought to damage the infamous ozone layer that filters out the harmful radiation from the sun.
As the aviation industry grows rapidly, these emissions are only increasing and become more dangerous. The power use in airport buildings and on the ground vehicles also contribute to the high level of pollution from this industry. Alternative fuels are being used in these vehicles instead, like compressed natural gas, hydrogen, electricity and compressed air.
There is also the issue of noise from the airport and aircrafts. Noise pollution can disrupt local wildlife and deplete the quality of life for local communities.
How Can We Improve the Quality of the Environment in Airports?
There are ways to lessen the impact that the aviation industry has on its surrounding environments. One of these methods is technology. New technology means today’s aircraft emit 50% less carbon monoxide and 90% less smoke and unburned hydrocarbons than those of the 1960s. Airports are using air pollution control systems to optimise their air quality and filter out hazardous substances. In fact, currently, road traffic has a more significant impact on local air quality than aircrafts.
As for noise, regulations and charges on loud aircrafts have drastically reduced noise pollution over the years. Airports use quieter aircrafts and encourage airlines to take a continuous descent or climb for a quieter flight. Noise limits have been introduced in some UK airports between 7 am and 11 pm to improve the surrounding area’s quality of life. Airports can also invest in noise barriers and screenings to further reduce the noise.
Energy-saving buildings, renewable energy power systems and increased recycling have improved the waste generated from many airports. There are more on-site recycling facilities and an increased push to maintain a biodiverse environment around the airport.