Urban air pollution worsened climate change and now it’s time to focus on solutions.
Statistics of urban air pollution
Urban air pollution encompasses all the toxic fumes that are experienced by the population that lives in and around the urban areas. It has been reported by WHO that more than 80 percent of the urban areas have higher levels of air pollution. In fact, it has skyrocketed to 98 percent in cities or urban areas in low and middle-income nations.
Sources and consequences
The sources of air pollutant mainly include vehicle emissions, combustion of fossil fuels, domestic fuel, natural dust, and poisonous emissions from industrial activities, etc. all of which add to particulate matter. When this polluted air is breathed it leads to respiratory issues and in some cases causes autism, dementia, and schizophrenia. The combination of all this adds to the already high health and economic costs of a nation. Here I present some day to day strategies that should be utilized for improving air quality.
- Keep your vehicle in good shape
Keep your tires properly inflated and also maintain your pollution control equipment. Also, fix the exhaust and any issues related to oxygen sensor problems. Use less-polluting reformulated gasoline and do not top off the tank as the extra gasoline evaporates which creates smog that has toxic pollutants in it.
- Concept of green buildings
Green buildings are the best solution as they focus on creating environmentally friendly and resource effective structures that aid in bringing a reduction in carbon footprint. The concept should thus be applied from planning to the demolition stage.
- Keep your city green
Making way for green spaces around the city may not be the only solution for air pollution reduction, but plantation works in improving air quality. The plants also counteract the urban heat island effect, absorb radiation, and filter the particulate matter which is most needed to keep the air clean, fresh, and cool.
- Avoid aerosol spray products
Most of the aerosol products such as paints and solvent available in the market contribute to smog. Hence opt for water-based options, use brush/rollers rather than sprayers and also keep the lid closed when the paint is not in use.
- Lay emphasis on clean energy usage
The present era is of utilizing clean energy technologies such as solar, geothermal, and wind energy. Governments of various nations have been providing grants to the customers who wish to install solar panels in their homes. This is a good strategy to curb urban air pollution.
- Focus on reduced driving
The focus should be laid on vanpool, carpool, usage of public transport, telecommunicating, and opting for walking mode for short distances which will bring a reduction in carbon footprint.
- Check your thermostat
Keep the thermostat few degrees warmer in summers and few degrees cooler in winters. Use of a programmable thermostat is a good option in this context.
- Turn off the engine when idle
Research says that an idle and running engine is one of the hot spots of urban air pollution. Buses and trucks produce this unhealthy exhaust. Hence the school authorities and daycares should advise the drivers to implement no-idling policies.
- Switch to electric or hand-powered lawn equipment
It is important to note that gas-powered engines such as lawnmower/snow mower often have an absence of a pollution control device. Research says that when you run a lawn mower for an hour then it produces the same amount of pollution if you opt for a 100-mile car trip. Hence it is best to use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment.
These are some small tips that should be followed by every citizen to bring a reduction in urban air pollution and for improving air quality. If done in a collective manner then these strategies will benefit the environment profoundly. After all, it is our duty to keep the natural environment in a safe and healthy state for our future generations.