Pollutants in the air must be reduced for human health and the ecosystem. Human health is harmed by poor air quality, particularly the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. In addition, pollutants can damage plants and structures, while smoke and haze can make visibility difficult. Air pollution affects more than humans and communities, industries, farmland, animals, plants, and bodies of water.
Everyone's health is harmed by air pollution. Pollution enters our lungs and can enter our bloodstream when we breathe. Unfortunately, it can also induce or worsen various lung and respiratory illnesses, resulting in hospitalizations, cancer or even death.
Air pollution can affect everybody, no matter where they live. The type and amount of exposure you get depends on where you are, what time of day it is, and even the weather. Air pollution is more prevalent near pollution sources such as busy highways or heavy machinery. We are exposed to increasing air pollution due to many of our regular activities. Idling cars, gas-powered yard equipment, and household chemicals add to total air pollution and expose us to dangerous toxins.
Today, there is no denying that air pollution is a global public health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution causes roughly seven million premature deaths each year, or 800 people per hour, or 13 people every minute. It endangers everyone from unborn fetuses to schoolchildren to men and women of all ages. Overall, air pollution causes more deaths than several other risk factors, such as starvation, alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity.
What are simple ways to reduce air pollution?
Air pollution is a severe threat to human health, affecting practically everyone on the planet and nearly every organ in the human body. Fortunately, it's a risk that can be avoided in most cases. Reducing pollution at the source can have a significant and immediate impact on health. Shortness of breath, coughing, and other side effects can subside within a few weeks, while school absenteeism, clinic visits, hospitalizations, cardiovascular sickness, and death reduce dramatically. Here are a few simple ways to reduce air pollution:
Choose a cleaner commute: Driving a car is often the most convenient and time-efficient method of transportation, but you may not realize that changes in our daily decisions can significantly impact us. However, there are a few different options that can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Opportunities to have a cleaner commute include ride-sharing, walking, biking and carpooling. Furthermore, you can choose a car with eco options to reduce air pollution.
Consider a hybrid or electric car the next time you shop for a new vehicle. Electric vehicles are more cost-effective and reduce pollutants in the air thanks to zero tailpipe emissions. Additionally, they come with tax credits and other incentives related to cost.
Conserve energy: At its most basic level, conserving energy is utilizing less energy to save money and lessen the environmental effect of energy usage. This could imply consuming less electricity, gas, or any other power you pay for and receive from your utility. With finite energy resources in our world, individuals and larger energy systems need to save energy actively.
At home, start conserving energy in your home by utilizing natural light. Replace regular light bulbs with LEDs or turn off appliances when not in use. Additionally, purchase a smart thermostat and ensure your home is well insulated. Reduce appliance usage, too, such as fewer loads of laundry per week. Finally, use less hot water usage and Energy Star appliances.
You can ask to switch lights to LED bulbs at work and request to treat draughts in heating, ventilation, or cooling systems by repairing the damage. Encourage coworkers to switch off electronics and appliances when not in use. Ask the company to choose energy-efficient devices whenever possible. Sometimes companies can find tax break incentives to become more energy-efficient, and you could help lead the company toward these changes. Lastly, check to make sure HVAC filters are changed often.
Buy energy-efficient products: Because they use energy-intensive home appliances, families are still one of the primary contributors to damaging greenhouse gas emissions today. As a result, it may be ideal for using today's innovation, such as employing energy-efficient tools to cut carbon emissions.
Energy Star Appliances often offer eco settings that reduce the energy and water necessary to run the appliances. Look for products with the Energy Star or smart appliances, as the investment often includes energy management options. Electronics typically have energy-saving options as well.
What percent of air pollution is caused by cars?
Cars that run on gasoline release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures and climate change. Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions accounts add up to 29 percent of emissions1.
How does burning fossil fuels affect air pollution?
Burning fossil fuels cause the release of nitrogen into the atmosphere, which adds to air pollution. While an essential nutrient to plants and animals, the excess from energy production, transportation, and agriculture throws off balance in the environment, contributing to acid rain and smog. Fossil fuels further release nitrogen oxides into the air adding to the polluted environment.
What are large-scale solutions to air pollution?
The main methods of reducing air pollution on a grand scale include burning less coal and reducing the impact of transportation on the environment. Other methods include:
- Reducing energy usage in homes.
- Monitoring air quality warnings.
- Encouraging action in communities to combat pollution2.
What are major laws that attempt to control air pollution?
Policies such as the 'Clean Air Act' are paving the way for more improvements to air quality and our environment's benefit. By setting standards involving the government, we can address pollution and emissions to reduce issues that lead to climate change.
Since the Clean Air Act, the U.S. has implemented beneficial changes that reduce six common pollutants in the atmosphere: particulates, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Over time, the Clean Air Act has changed to meet current needs and improve standards with amendments. The last revision took place in 1990, authorizing programs to control acid deposits, toxic pollutants, permit requirements, and more. Government intervention will continue to help decrease pollutants and create a better environment for people to thrive in and future generations3.
How does using clean energy reduce air pollution?
Non-renewable energy sources harm our planet and only offer a one-time use. Adopting wide-scale renewable energy can positively impact the community and the entire planet.
Clean energy can reduce fine particulate matter by reducing black carbon, linked to many serious health concerns. By preventing poor air quality, we can maintain better weather conditions that are less hazardous to everyone and everything. Renewable energy reduces aero-allergens common from burning fossil fuels, affecting air quality and irritating the human body.
By reducing fossil fuels and switching to renewable sources, we can cut down on the harmful effects of energy production. The majority of renewable energy sources emit little to no greenhouse gases, allowing us to have clean air to breathe and maintain the health of everyone, including animals and plants, for a healthier environment.
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