Each year on June 5, the UN observes World Environment Day in an effort to raise awareness for the protection of our environment. This year, the focus is on air pollution. To those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy clean air on a daily basis, air pollution may seem like an abstract issue. But we can all do our part to reduce some of it, and there’s no better time than today. Here are a few ways you can do your part to help beat air pollution.
1. Reduce Vehicle Emissions
Reducing vehicle emissions is an important intervention to improve air quality, especially in urban areas. While many of us rely on cars as our main mode of transportation, there are ways to cut down on drive time – and therefore, time spent sitting in traffic! Try using public transportation or even sharing rides with friends and co-workers. Better yet, if you live close enough to your destination, walk or ride a bike.
2. Consume Meat & Dairy Responsibly
One highly impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint is by consuming less meat and dairy products, or choosing to support local, sustainable farms. Industrial livestock farming is a major source of air pollution, releasing large amounts of methane and ammonia into the atmosphere. By reducing demand for these products, we can help minimize the negative long-term effects.
3. Save Energy
In many countries, power generation is a leading source of air pollution. So for pete’s sake, turn off lights and electronics when you’re not using them!
4. Choose Non-Toxic
Industrial processes and use of solvents also pollute the air and endanger the health of factory workers and nearby residents. Being cognizant of the manufacturing processes used to create the products you buy is an important part of exercising your power as a consumer.
5. Spread the Word
Share this article across social media, or take action by participating in the UN’s Mask Challenge this World Environment Day. Together, we can #BeatAirPollution.