It’s #WorldEnvironmentDay and the theme for this year is #BeatAirPollution – urging people to “be part of the solution, not part of the pollution”. But while many of us agree air quality needs to improve, we struggle for practical ways to do it.
While cities including London, Paris, Madrid and Oslo have taken steps to ban or discourage car use, the broader discourse on pollution tends to focus more on what policymakers can do and less on what can be done at the individual level.
On #WorldEnvironmentDay, here are five areas in which we can combat pollution as individuals on a daily basis.
Leaving the car at home and taking public transport, cycling or walking are key ways we can all make a difference to air pollution, according to UN Environment. Other options to reduce vehicle pollution include car sharing, using hybrid or electric vehicles and turning off the car engine when not moving.
Cutting down on meat and dairy products can reduce methane emissions released into the air. At the same time, reducing food waste and planting vegetables in your garden can also help improve air quality.
Improving how your household manages waste by working to produce less of it or repurpose it is vital for lowering polluting emissions. This can help to improve air quality by lessening the need for landfill sites and water incinerators, while fostering a more sustainable economic model for the future.
The World Economic Forum has collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a number of years to accelerate the circular economy, by embracing the need to recover, recycle, repurpose, refurbish, repair, refuse, rethink, reduce, reuse and remanufacture waste.
Simple measures like turning off the lights, shutting down electronics when they’re not in use and choosing more energy-efficient equipment can help to lessen the need to burn fossil fuels. And harnessing renewable energy through rooftop solar panels also helps to reduce emissions and limit air pollution.
Individual advocacy can make a difference. Ask teachers to incorporate sustainability and air quality themes into their classroom lessons, and urge your lawmakers to more act more urgently against pollution.
These ideas aren’t revolutionary, but they illustrate how small changes to our daily habits can help to globally work toward a greater goal.
And if these aren’t enough for you – how about planting a tree?
Trees are able to clean the air and absorb harmful airborne particles and gaseous pollutants through their leaves, bark and roots. To contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment, #plantatree! #WorldEnvironmentDay #BeatAirPollution
📸Google @UNEnvironment @NCFEDUCATION pic.twitter.com/RZCzdTHw0o
— NCF (@ncfnigeria) May 28, 2019
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