Worldwide, an estimated 6 per cent of all deaths are attributed to outdoor air pollution, and dust is a substantial contributor to this pollution.
One sure way to reduce, if not eliminate dust on roads, construction sites and factories is to use dust suppression or dust control technology.
Doing so will not only provide health but also economic benefits, and help improve people’s living standards. In this article, you’ll know all about the benefits of effective dust control.
An effective dust control system can offer tons of benefits to industries and communities, including:
Where there is dust, there is deterioration. Fine dust particles cannot be used as a binder to maintain road surfaces. Dust results in an exposed and unstable aggregate that erodes with each passing car or rainfall, producing ruts and potholes.
Also, acid rain caused by dust stains erodes construction materials, including roads.
Dust suppressants attract moisture from the air that binds fine particles and aggregates, keeping roads durable, rugged, smooth and safe.
Road maintenance is just as expensive as road construction.
In 2015, for example, the average annual cost of maintaining one mile of the U.S. National Highway System was estimated at $28,020. That means that better roads would require fewer repairs which, in turn, means savings in labour and materials.
Studies have shown that dust control can reduce the overall cost of keeping unpaved roads in acceptable condition by 30 percent.
According to a study conducted in 2019, dust and sand on roads can cause a sudden loss of visibility and reduced traction on the pavement. As a result, this increases the likelihood of loss of vehicle control and collisions.
The other downside of dust on roads is that it can extend braking distances, as tyres struggle to adhere to loose earth or gravel, which could then cause particles to be thrown around, endangering other drivers and people in the area.
Dust suppression technology improves these conditions and, therefore, ensures the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
Nobody likes their car to be dusty and dirty, but this is only a surface problem. Untreated unpaved roads can lead to much worse damage, including windshield damage, chipped paint, suspension, steering and long-term wear and tear issues.
Besides, dust is a silent killer and can produce swirls that ultimately damage paint, especially on black cars. Dust control reduces such damage to vehicles and the cost of that damage.
It has been scientifically proven that dust affects photosynthesis, resulting in the penetration of phytotoxic gaseous pollutants into plants.
Sulphuric acid, nitrogen oxides, and other volatile compounds that end up settling in the soil and infiltrating water, participate in acidic particle formation. As a result, freshwater lakes and rivers become acidic, leading to harmful acid rain that kills existing vegetation and prevents plants from growing.
Controlling dust prevents fine particles from getting into the air, damaging crops and vegetation and causing health problems. Using the best dust control products, you can also stop these particles from reaching streams and waterways where they can develop sediment levels that are harmful to aquatic life.
In cities where dust is a massive problem and pollutes the air, pullets suffer from respiratory problems that often cause fatal respiratory diseases.
Also, studies have shown that dust can cause complications in the brain. An analysis of the brains of 900 subjects over 60 years of age showed that brains that were less exposed to dust seemed healthier. People overexposed to dust were at a high risk of stroke and developing dementia.
Dust control could help people breathe cooler air and be less likely to experience respiratory and other health problems related to dust inhalation. This, in turn, leads to a better quality of life.
When dust accumulates on equipment, it can hinder equipment mechanics. As a result, these defective equipment pieces will require constant repair, which is not conducive to productivity.
Dust control technology allows you to use tools and machinery that are safe from deterioration and increase productivity by reducing equipment downtime and worker sick leave.
On the other hand, low air quality leads to unhappy employees who start looking for work in different, safer workplaces. Studies have shown that dissatisfied employees do not work well, and that high staff turnover can be costly.
Maintaining clean air improves employee morale and job satisfaction. It also reduces hiring and training costs, and produces greater output for the same input level.
There are many reasons to not underestimate the importance of dust control in your plant, construction sites or even country roads.
Dust control is an essential element in meeting health, safety and environmental requirements and standards. It also guarantees not only business productivity but also the well-being of the community and employee health and safety.
Troy Adams is the Managing Director of Global Road Technology, an international engineering technology company in Australia that specialises in engineered solutions for dust suppression, erosion control, soil stabilisation and water management. A pioneering, socially conscious Australian entrepreneur, Troy is passionate about safer, healthier and more cost-effective solutions in the mining and infrastructure sectors and beyond.