October 20, 2019

How Can You Influence the Reduction of Air Pollution?

Air Pollution

A good question to ask yourself – "How can I personally influence the reduction of air pollution?"

Here are some ideas you can try in your daily life, because small actions make a big difference:

1. Use public transportation, ride a bike or walk more often

Photo by Ronan Kruithof

Transport is a big source of air pollutants such as particulate matter PM2.5, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. Long-term exposure to these pollutants may lead to a variety of diseases, and air pollution emissions from transport have been linked to nearly 400,000 premature deaths annually. The world’s top 10 cities in which transportation was responsible for this were: Guangzhou, Tokyo, Shanghai, Mexico City, Cairo, New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing, London, and Los Angeles.

To encourage motorists around the globe to choose more sustainable ways to travel besides driving alone in a car, Car Free Day is celebrated on September 22. Join the movement of conscious cyclists or carpool!

2. Reduce food waste

When food waste is disposed of in landfills, it rots and becomes a significant source of methane - a potent greenhouse gas. Besides that, we need to realize that we dispose of not only food but all the packaging and resources spent on making it. The food system produces one-third of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change.

3. Buy products with recycled materials.

This helps to reduce raw materials consumption.

4. Use an EPA-approved wood-burning stove

The major source of indoor air pollution is burning fossil fuels for cooking and heating, as the smoke from it contains toxic gases and particulate matter. Wood-burning fires can produce about six times more particle pollution than a modern diesel lorry, according to Dr. Gary Fuller, a leading pollution scientist at King’s College London. EPA-certified wood stoves have better insulation and improved air flow, so more of these gases and particles are burned inside the stove, resulting in less smoke and less air pollution.

Photo by Rubén Bagüés

5. Shop for ENERGY STAR:

Electronic products with the ENERGY STAR label have been tested to ensure they meet the latest standards for energy savings.

6. Water-based paints and cleaners:

Chemical-based paints/cleaning products have volatile organic compounds that contaminate the air. Chemicals in these substances can react with nitrogen oxides in the air and form ozone. Switching to water-based cleaning products that are labeled “zero VOC” helps reduce air pollution.

7. Use rechargeable batteries:

A few of these and a charger are not that expensive. Plus, you don’t have to keep throwing out batteries, which contributes to landfills and processes that pollute the air.

8.  Use green energy:

Purchase solar panels, power derived from the wind, or even hydropower. You can reduce the demand on the power grid, save energy and cash, and reduce the strain on the environment from fossil fuels.

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