ClimateNews & Opinion

Air Conditioners; How Harmful?

Air Conditioners Release HFCs, Aiding to Global Warming

These days we are continuously hearing about the hot weather. About 40+ Degree Celsius temperature in most areas of Pakistan. How really, we feel. Air conditioners are machines used to fight hot weather, but how harmful these are for our biosphere? Air conditioners; How harmful.

In this article, we will try to talk about the harmful aspects along with the good aspects of air conditioners.

The world is heating day by day. According to the NOAA Climate Change Report of 2019, there is an increase of 0.18°C per decade since 1981. This figure was 0.07°C per decade since the 1880s. This increase is very high for the world to exist. Climate change is such a phenomenon that is increasing day by day but we are actually unable to stop its way.

What are Air Conditioners?

Air conditioners are machines that are used to keep inside rooms cool. But how it actually works? The air conditioner works in a complex way, but saying in simple words, it directs the hot air inside the room toward outside environments.

Energy Requirements

On average, an air conditioner will consume about 3000-5000 watts of power if it operates for nine hours a day. Keeping the temperature of the air conditioner at or below 26°C may help to consume less power. If not, the way it is going higher and higher will cost our next generation lives at the worth of climate change.

Components of Air Conditioner

In the past times, Air conditioners were made of metal parts mostly. Today these metals are replaced by plastics. We can summarize that plastics are fatal for the species of the modern world. Water-dwelling species are paying the highest price of plastic pollution. And to add, the air conditioner is playing its role by entering the stomachs of these species.

An air conditioner consists of Refrigerant which is a fluid vigorous for freezing/cooling. The other parts are Condenser coil, compressor, expansion valve, and other parts.

Negative effects and Role in environmental health

The sole goal of this article is to discuss the negative effects and role of air conditioners. Air Conditioners; How Harmful? Saying generally, there are two main reasons why are air conditioners harmful?

  1. That air conditioner consumes a lot of power, and
  2. Air conditioners emit greenhouse gases.
  3. Air conditioners add plastic pollution.

Recent Studies say that Globally, about 15.4% of electricity for the refrigeration sector is used by the industrial sector, 45% by the residential sector, and 39.6% by tertiary sectors.

A study in Saudi Arabia by researchers indicate that air conditioners are safe areas for harmful fungi as these reside in humid conditions. Some of these fungi are very toxic to humans, i.e. destruction of red blood cells.   The case doesn’t end here. A lot of environmental impacts of air conditioner exists. They are part of this article.

Air conditioners emit gases like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These gases are very detrimental to our planet. It produces a hole in the ozone layer which protects us from harmful rays of the sun. It also increases global temperate causing global warming.

These have a dry effect on skin and mucus glands. It affects the respiratory system when we inhale cold air. The air traveling through this system can transmit diseases.

Positive role

Without an air conditioner, it would be impossible to operate a kidney dialysis machine. it would be impossible to operate industry as the temperature has a key role in machinery operation. It would be rather good to develop such smooth technology which makes it possible to operate air conditioners without any harmful impact on the environment.

Air conditioning technology is also helpful in capturing carbon and then storing it. It is also helpful in food preservation, medicine preparation and storage and in the surgical process, and many more.

We recommend and hope that in the near future it will become possible for us to develop air conditions thoroughly environmental-friendly.

We highly appreciate suggestions and criticism in the comment section.

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Sohail Anjum

Sohail Anjum completed his undergraduate degree in Zoology from University of Malakand in September 2019. He is a young researcher in Ecology. He has also worked with IUCN as a Reviewer of Proposals for IUCN Congress 2020.

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