In this blog post, we will discuss “What are 10 ways to reduce air pollution?” Firstly, we will talk about the basics of air pollution. Then, the article will provide 10 ways to reduce air pollution. In the end, the article will also provide information to protect yourself from air pollution.
What are 10 ways to reduce air pollution?
Air pollution is very unpredictable due to the atmosphere- air can move from any place. The various meteorological factors such as winds, heat, humidity, showers and temperature can influence its concentration and intensity. Air pollutants such as greenhouse gases are also intensifying other challenges like global warming and climate change. Immediate effects of air pollution are as follows:
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain and congestion
- Sore throat
- Redness and irritation of eyes
- Dizziness and fatigue
Let’s see more about air pollution.
What is air pollution?
The introduction of harmful agents into the atmosphere is known as air pollution. The toxic agents are known as pollutants. These pollutants are derived from natural and human activities, and they can be chemical or biological.
Major pollutants present in the air are particulate matter (PM), ground-level ozone (O3), NO2, SO2, and CO. Air also has lead, allergens, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Besides climate change, air pollution has become a significant environmental risk to human health.
What is Outdoor and Indoor pollution?
Air pollution in the outside environment is called outdoor pollution. The examples of outdoor pollution are as follows:
- Combustion of fossil fuel
- Cooking activities
- Energy generation and consumption
- Improper Solid Waste Management
- Industries and factories
- Household pollution
- Construction and demolition
Air pollution created inside any closed structure is called indoor pollution. The examples of indoor pollution are as follows:
- Household activities
- Perfumes and fresheners
- Cooking fuel/activities
- Poor ventilation
- Uncleaned furniture
There are two leading causes of air pollution- natural pollution (happened due to natural events like dust storms) and anthropogenic pollution (happened due to human activities like combustion of fossil fuels).
Air pollution has shaken the balance of our ecosystem. Since the stone age, humankind has always strived hard to achieve stability and comfort in their life. Finally, we succeeded, which led to the industrial revolution, followed by urbanization and much-needed changes in the lifestyle.
However, in the process of progression, somewhere we left behind the great values of nature, we forgot the support and symbiotic existence of the environment. While human inventions, no doubt, have always helped us to save our lives, it has also given birth to much inevitable stuff. One such thing is air pollution.
Humans have tremendously exploited natural resources such as fossil fuels in the constant chase of becoming the best in every term and during the development of energy and manufacturing sectors. But, unfortunately, such combustion of fossil fuels for various purposes such as transport and energy releases lots of toxic gaseous and solid contaminants such as carbon monoxide, noxious gases and particulate matter.
Air pollution has dramatically impacted our nature and human health too. Polluted air causes respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer. It can also create trouble in the cardiovascular system. Prolonged exposure to air pollution can cause the heart and circulatory system; it can cause heart failure, hypertension, and stroke. Besides affecting our mental health, it can weaken our immunity too.
The effects of poor air quality on nature have depleted many natural resources such as lakes, streams and soil quality. This has resulted in lower crop yields. Furthermore, the threat of air pollution has caused massive damage to the animal kingdom and their habitat. As a result, many plant and animal communities have been declared endangered, and some have even become extinct! In addition, many artificially produced greenhouse gases are over warming the planet, cascading their effects on the weather and climate.
Let’s face this- we are in a climate crisis, and we need to do something before it’s too late. So here, I am giving you the top 10 solutions to reduce air pollution.
The top 10 ways to reduce air pollution are as follows
Keep your indoor accessories clean
There’s a simple yet powerful saying- ‘cleanliness starts at home.’ Reducing indoor air pollution, the ones created due to indoor activities can significantly improve ambient air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.8 million deaths happen every year due to household exposure to smoke from improper cookstoves and fuels. In addition, indoor air pollution is produced due to the combustion of fossil fuels.
You can decrease poor air quality by adequately maintaining indoor hygiene. For example, you can frequently clean your cupboards and open decks to avoid an accumulation of dust particles. In addition, I would strongly recommend carpeting a minimum floor area. Home accessories like carpets attract many allergens and pollens. These pollutants get stuck to the carpet and can degrade the indoor air quality. You can vacuum these carpets and furniture such as sofas at least twice a week.
Besides, always make sure that you are keeping your house well ventilated. It would be best if you keep the doors of your balconies and windows open whenever the weather permits. In addition, I would strongly recommend you to use ventilators in the bathrooms and toilets to remove foul odour and accumulation of viruses and bacteria, if any. While cooking, make sure you keep the exhaust fans and chimneys on to eliminate any smoke produced while cooking.
If the weather is not allowing for natural air to pass through your home, you need to use air purifiers. Air purifiers help to maintain a healthy atmosphere in the house. Along with air purifiers, it is okay if you also invest in good humidifiers and dehumidifiers. They allow you to balance the humidity levels indoors. You must be wondering which to buy. Don’t worry; I am providing its detail in the coming solutions.
If you are using all these appliances and chimneys and exhaust fans, it is necessary to maintain them properly. The dust and dirt can get accumulated and clogged in these machines. This can reduce their efficiency. Thus, it is essential to clean the filters and ducts of these appliances at regular intervals to reduce indoor air pollution.
If you have furry friends with you, make sure your doggies and cats are well-groomed. Avoid overuse of strong perfumes or strong scented candles indoors. You can additionally use indoor plants to make your indoors more lively and fresh.
Smoking cigarettes, hookahs (shisha), electric vape or any other types of cigars are not at all suitable for your health. It’s best to stop smoking. Active and passive smoking provides the direct entry of harmful pollutants into your body. This causes the risk to your respiration and other organs dependent on it. Besides, cigarette butts can trigger particulate pollution. This can happen, so if it gets in contact with the forests, it can cause forest fires. Thus, forest fires can emit organic carbon and other particulates.
Encourage tree plantation drives amongst the communities. You can be a green saviour of your region. Trees are the natural air purifiers of the environment, and it supplies us with clean air. Municipal councils or the local authorities can develop urban forests to increase the green cover of the locality. They can also plan to create vertical green walls to improve oxygen levels of the region naturally. But don’t forget to plant only indigenous trees. Also, don’t forget to shower love to the oldest of oldest trees in your nearby park.
Air pollution is unpredictable; air pollution in your vicinity can affect people living in Asia and vice-a-versa. However, you can create public awareness about air pollution amongst your community by teaching and interacting with your kids about the importance of good air.
Educate youth by telling them the ill effects of poor air quality. Then, let your country’s future know that they deserve a better place to live!
Reduction of personal carbon footprints
You can also keep a check on your carbon footprints. For example, you can delete unwanted photos, videos or emails from clouds and email boxes as and when possible. Unfortunately, this unwanted stuff takes a lot of energy, which indirectly contributes to air pollution.
You can also switch off the lights and electrical appliances of the vacant rooms. Try buying local products instead of imported ones. Be vocal about them. You can also discover your own country rather than travelling to different ones.
Be Sustainable Trendy
Single-use plastic has been one of the major concerns in the environment. Plastic pollution indirectly contributes to the degradation of air quality. Plastic, when burned, releases various toxic gases such as dioxins into the air.
Encourage alternative use of plastic products. For example, you can wear a cloth bag for shopping. You can also carry your travel cutlery set to a restaurant. Additionally, you can take your water bottle instead of purchasing a packaged drinking water bottle every time.
Nowadays, many couples celebrate gender (of their baby) revealing parties by bursting firecrackers. But, unfortunately, these firecrackers can transform into massive wildfires if they are burst near trees.
Thus, you can celebrate such celebrations by planting trees in your nearby barren land. Bursting firecrackers on any religious, festive or personal occasion are only going to harm your loved ones.
You can also celebrate Christmas by not cutting Christmas Trees. Instead, you can buy artificial ones and use them in the coming years too.
Alternative use of fossil fuel
It would be best to try switching to other fuel alternatives. For example, don’t use wood for the fireplace. Instead, you can wear multiple layers of clothes for warmth. In this way, you can conserve energy. Additionally, you can also install solar panels on house roofs to convert solar energy into electricity.
Use of public transportation
You can increase the use of public transport to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. You can also try carpooling or the cab sharing option. The US EPA has observed that transportation accounts for about 29% of the total greenhouse gas emissions.
However, if you still prefer a private vehicle, I still have options for you.
Then, you can also use bicycles instead of scooters. Lastly, you can always opt for walking a shorter distance.
If you are using an old vehicle, make sure you have installed catalytic converters. Catalytic converters help to convert harmful toxins like nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides and hydrocarbons emitted from engine’s emissions into safe gases, for instance, steam. Such simple installation can reduce the threat of smog conditions. In addition, you can also cut short your vehicle trips; organize your plans accordingly to avoid frequent use of commutes.
Besides, if you are going to purchase a new vehicle, go for an electric one. Electric vehicles ensure that you don’t require any gas to run them; it has a battery recharged. It is low in maintenance, and most importantly, it promotes net-zero carbon emissions. If you want to travel a short distance, you can use a bike instead of mopeds. And best of all, you can always walk to your preferred short-distanced destinations.
How to know whether I am breathing clean air?
WHO has set up the air quality guidelines to regulate the emissions; however, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has calculated its own AQI to safeguard the public health of Americans.
Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has determined the air quality index (AQI) to know the air quality you inhale. The table given below will show how the air quality index looks like.
|Air Quality Index (AQI)||Levels of Health Concern|
|(When the AQI is in this range)||(air quality conditions are)|
|0 to 50||Good|
|51 to 100||Moderate|
|101 to 150||Unhealthy for Sensitive group|
|151 to 200||Unhealthy|
|201 to 300||Very Unhealthy|
|301 to 500||Hazardous|
The primary purpose of AQI is to inform residents about the impact of local air quality on their health. The Environment Protection Agency calculates the AQI for five major pollutants: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.
The meaning of the Air quality index as mentioned earlier categories are as follows:
|Air quality is considered satisfactory; air pollution is of little or no risk.|
|Air quality is acceptable; some pollutants present in the air might be dangerous for a minority of people who are very sensitive to air pollution.|
|Members of sensitive groups may get ill effects. However, the general public is likely not to get affected.|
|This air quality level can pose a threat to everyone. However, members of sensitive people may experience more severe effects.|
|Emergency level of air quality; Entire population might be affected|
|Health alert: Every person breathing such air quality may get serious health issues.|
Thus, it is clear that excluding the first two levels is relatively good to venture out and to do various outdoor activities. However, the last three levels will give you or other adverse effects by inhaling dirty air.
What can I do to protect myself from air pollution?
I will elaborate on some of the measures to protect yourself from air pollution.
You can also fight the effects of air pollution by maintaining personal hygiene:
- You can cut your nails short to avoid the accumulation of dirt.
- You can also practice mouth gargling after coming home to free your mouth from unwanted guests.
- You can also brush twice a day to keep airborne infections at bay.
- You can also take steam therapy at home to cleanse your lungs.
Smoking cigarettes, hookahs (shisha), electric vape or any other types of cigars are not at all suitable for your health. It’s best to stop smoking. Active and passive smoking provides the direct entry of harmful pollutants into your body. This causes the risk to your respiration and other organs dependent on it.
Physical activities have many benefits to your body. It not only improves your stamina and immunity levels but also helps to increase your lung capacity. Yoga, sanas, swimming, running, cycling, brisk walking and dancing are some of the best forms of exercise to improve your health.
The majority of people in the world don’t breathe properly. However, correct breathing techniques can keep illnesses due to air pollution at bay. A pranayama is a form of yoga asana which helps to improve breathing methods and lung functionality.
Some of the pranayama types that help you fight air pollution are Kapalbhati, Anulom Vilom, Chandra Nadi, Surya Nadi and Bhastrika. It is strongly recommended to learn this art of breath from a well-certified yoga trainer.
You can also increase your lung muscles by simply taking a deep breath and holding it for a count of 10. Then, slowly breathe out the air. If you can keep your breath for a longer time, then you have good lungs health.
Always go for a well-balanced diet to remain fit and strong. Consistent eating of junk and fast food will increase the risk of obesity and other diseases. In addition, such people are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution. Instead, add more fresh veggies and fruits to your diet. Also, you can consume less meat to minimise carbon footprints.
You can also add anti-inflammatory foods as these types of food help to cleanse your lungs effectively. Anti-inflammatory foods which I recommend are:
Immunity booster drinks
You can do your immunity booster drinks by using readily available items in your kitchen. Immunity booster drinks help to cleanse your lungs. Some of the DIY immunity booster drinks are as follows:
- Take a glass of warm white milk. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to it. Also, add two strands of saffron to it. Drink it at night before sleeping. You will get good sleep, and you will be relieved from chest congestion.
- Boil water by adding half cinnamon stick. Drink the spice-infused water once a day. Your sinuses would be cleared up.
- Buy an excellent green tea. Prepare a green tea by following the packet instructions. Have it whenever you feel irritation in your throat.
- Take some crushed 1 or 2 peppercorns, a half-inch of a blade of lemongrass and 1 inch of grated ginger and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Add everything in one glass of boiling water and reduce it to half a glass. Drink two tablespoons of this spice-infused warm water every after three hours. Adding honey is optional.
- You can also drink warm water and add honey if you want. Honey helps to relieve throat irritation.
Mask can prevent you from inhaling the polluted air. You would be able to work in contaminated areas without any fear of allergy infections and stress.
Masks I recommend
|Name||Why I recommend it|
|BASE CAMP CROSSDUST MASK||EAPI Filter Technology & Advanced NanotechnologyUser FriendlyMore Durable Six layers face maskFilter materials of the dust mask: Double-Layer Melt-blown with Electrostatic Adsorption Performance, Activated carbon, Non-woven Polypropylene|
|NIOSH approved N95 mask||Four layers mask Flexible nose pad, dual strapsDisposable maskEasy to breathe|
|BASE CAMP Reusable Cloth Face Mask||Three layers mask; 100% cotton Skin-friendly and breathablePocket to add additional filterReusable Mask|
Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.
In this blog post, we discussed “What are 10 ways to reduce pollution?” Firstly, we talked about the basics of air pollution. Then, the article provided 10 ways to reduce pollution. In the end, the article also provided information to protect yourself from air pollution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are 10 ways to reduce air pollution?
How does the air get polluted?
Air pollution can occur in multiple ways. Human activities such as the transportation sector, industrial processes, and combustion of fossil fuels generate particulates and other toxic gases such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides. Natural events also create air pollution. Some of the instances are volcanic eruptions and dust storms.
What are the causes of air pollution?
The causes of air pollution are as follows:
- The burning of fossil fuels
- Indoor Air pollution
- Vehicular pollution
- Construction and demolition activities
Which produces the most pollution?
The burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation is the most produced pollution. These activities are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. GHG emissions from the transportation sector come from cars, trucks, ships, trains and aeroplanes.
Which country is carbon negative?
Bhutan country is the only country in the world to become carbon negative.
Which country has the highest and least emissions?
China has the highest emissions; they are the most significant contributor of CO2 emissions. In contrast, Tuvalu country is with the lowest carbon footprint in the world. They continue to be in such a state by avoiding the use of fossil fuels.
Who leads the world in air pollution?
China leads the world in air pollution. The United States and India follow this.
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Mackenzie, J. and Turrentine, J., 2021. Air Pollution: Everything You Need to Know. [online] NRDC. Available at https://www.nrdc.org/stories/air-pollution-everything-you-need-know
National Geographic Society. 2021. air pollution. [online] Available at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/air-pollution/
Shi, Z., 2014. Why air pollution reduces crop yields. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2014/11/air-pollution-reduces-crop-yields/
Unece.org. 2021. Air pollution and food production | UNECE. [online] Available at https://unece.org/air-pollution-and-food-production