According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92% of the world’s population live in areas where unsafe levels of pollution are present. This does not only apply to pollution outdoors, but indoors as well.
Due to exposure to air pollution, people from across the globe have suffered greatly. Approximately 3 million deaths a year are connected to both outdoor and indoor pollution; in 2012, it was estimated that the number reached 6.5 million for deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) associated with pollution. Something intangible and invisible can be so deadly!
Although you may think that this is bigger than you are and that there’s not much you can do, there are certain things you can do differently and habits you can adopt which can reduce pollution.
Use Environmentally Friendly Sources of Energy
This is the single most obvious, yet ignored solution. ‘Dirty’ sources of energy, i.e. oil, gas, etc. have been marketed as mandatory elements in our everyday lives, e.g. petroleum industries have been pushing away endless possibilities of sustainable sources of energy.
Solar, wind and hydro energy are widely used in many parts of the world and are excellent environmentally-friendly sources of energy. In fact, certain states in America allow solar and wind energy sources installed in residential areas, e.g. windmills and solar rooftops.
However, these installations are not permitted everywhere therefore we must seek simpler ways to reduce pollution in our everyday lives, e.g.: did you know for every 40 km you don't drive, you are estimated to reduce 1 pound of pollution? Alternatively, attempt to walk or bike to your destinations. If not, carpool to reduce emissions and opt for electric cars if possible. Small things like not leaving your engine running whilst sitting in cars help too!
Another thing you can do is to turn off electrical switches when not in use. Many of us are guilty for leaving the TV, fan or air-conditioner on as we’re only leaving the room ‘for a short while’. Remember, every little bit counts; and you’ll be saving on your monthly bill too. Some appliances also consume electricity when switched off so you may want to consider unplugging them when not in use.
Recycling and Reforestation
Recycling is a simple act that unfortunately not many take the effort to do. Countries such as Sweden, Germany and Austria are progressive with their recycling methods whereas some countries are not prioritizing recycling or are just about to implement it.
Besides recycling materials, i.e. paper, plastic bottles, tubs, jars, cardboard, milk cartons, etc. you can opt for purchasing products with recyclable contents. You would be surprised with some of the items; for example clothes made out of recycled plastic bottles! Refer to eco-friendly initiatives, such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation introducing 100% recyclable raw materials while providing a circular economy.
Alternative options include; purchasing rechargeable batteries to reduce using alkaline batteries, purchasing fans instead of air conditioners etc. When you are grocery shopping, opt for purchasing raw ingredients instead of pre-packaged meals due to the process of mass-production, packaging and exporting goods to supermarkets. Also, do bring your own shopping bags to reduce the use of plastic bags; and if you do forget your shopping bags, only take a bag if necessary. After all, do you really need that plastic bag for those two items that you bought? Some supermarkets even provide cardboard boxes for you to pack your groceries in.
This concept applies to clothing. To all the fashionistas, purchase less in-trend clothing items that go to waste as they become irrelevant in the near future.
Lack of Awareness
We must be aware that consumption (in our daily lives) is dependent on causes of pollution. Literally consuming anything and everything is a cause of pollution. Although it is a complicated and almost impossible act for human beings to do, we must push collective consciousness into increasing awareness of maintaining a sustainable environment. This can be initiated by reducing purchases of things you do not need!
As children are the future, public education systems must push towards spreading correct information and spreading awareness of sustainable environment! Countries with educated populations will be pushed into creating environmental regulations. In addition, new media platforms can help spread knowledge and share ideas amongst one another to improve the state of our environment!
Preventing pollution is an act that requires everyone to collectively work together. We must consider the impact and effects of pollution, such as climate change, and do our part to not exacerbate the situation. Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary Before The Flood publicly released on National Geographic Channel regarding the issues of climate change is a true eye-opener, highlighting the devastating effects of climate change on our planet. Let’s make a change before it’s too late!
What are your solutions for reducing unhealthy pollution levels?
Reduce buying your favorite vegetables and herbs in grocery stores by growing them in your garden.
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