Hello. I’ll start this article with a definition: air pollution is caused when particulates, chemicals and biological materials are introduced into the atmosphere. These materials can cause discomfort or disease to humans. They also cause many hundreds of thousands of human deaths worldwide each year. Every year in the UK, an astonishing 36,000 a year die as a result of air pollution.
Air pollution levels in the UK are so poor that a quarter of all homes suffer from levels which are higher than safe World Health Organization limits. This amounts to 8 million homes which are blighted by nitrogen dioxide* and toxic particulates.
Almost every part of Britain is affected by air pollution from road transport. Most of our pollution comes from our continued reliance on fossil fuel burning (which releases high levels of carbon dioxide* into the atmosphere).
Vital crops and forests – and also buildings are damaged by air pollution.
Simple solutions to end the pollution
- Use public transport. This reduces the number of petrol-powered vehicles on the roads, thus reducing each person’s net carbon, nitrogen dioxide* and sulphur dioxide* emissions;
- Of course, reuse and recycle. This conserves resources and reduces emissions of pollutants;
- Cease/reduce the use of plastic bags (and other plastic products). These take a huge length of time to decompose, due to their high oil content. Paper bags will decompose much sooner and they are more easily recycled, too;
- End air conditioning. Air conditioning uses a high level of energy, emitting much heat. This is, of course, damaging to the environment. Air conditioning require much more power to operate than fans do;
- Reduce forest fires, smoking and the incineration of rubbish. These fires cause air pollution and (by definition) worsening air quality. Naturally, this damages everyone’s health;
- Where chimneys are used (in homes and businesses), filters should be used, to reduce the enormous levels of air pollution caused by the emission of harmful gases, via the chimneys;
- The use of strong-smelling products containing chemicals (perfumes, paints, etc.) should be reduced – or they should be used outside the home, instead. Organic and low-chemical-content alternatives may be available, too;
- Plant and grow as many trees as we possibly can, wherever we can. This will, of course, greatly increase the release of oxygen.
In Delhi (India, of course), pollution levels are so bad that the population is advised to stay inside, wear a mask, buy and use air purifiers, eat healthily, BUT AVOID physical exercise (due to the high levels of pollution) and avoid going out late at night (when the cold temperatures trap the pollutants from factories and cars, exposing the highest pollution levels).
* These are all greenhouse gases.