The importance of our own carbon footprint and reducing air pollution
According to the UK Government and the World Health Organisation, air pollution is now found to be the largest environmental threat to people in the UK, with long-term exposure causing between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths every year. This poor air quality leads to a number of health issues including heart disease, lung disease, low birth weight, and poor lung development in children.
With this environmental and health issue in mind, Clean Air Day is the largest air pollution campaign in the UK to spread awareness and show people how they can make simple changes to their lives to reduce air pollution across the UK. It’s so important that we all do our part to make a positive change for the future, so here are 3 easy things you can do for Clean Air Day 2020.
1. Ditch Motorised Vehicles
The first thing you can do to help reduce pollution is to walk and cycle whenever you can, particularly if you need to make a shorter journey. It is best to stay away from the busiest roads as this is where air pollution is more concentrated. Find a route through back streets, through parks and green spaces, or through pedestrianised areas. Not only will you be getting away from the high levels of pollutants, but you will also have a much more pleasant journey!
You can also be exposed to much more air pollution if you are stuck in traffic. The polluted air that is expelled by the vehicles in front of you can actually enter your car and remain there for extended periods of time so there is no way for you to get away from the pollution until you are actually able to exit your vehicle.
Switching the motorised vehicle for a bike or some walking shoes is beneficial for the planet, your physical health, and your mental health.
2. Reduce Smoke and Air Pollution at Home
You can also help to improve air quality in the UK by reducing the amount of smoke you produce at home. If you have an open fire or wood burner at home, ensure that any wood you are burning is completely dry and well-seasoned before adding it to the fire (buy “Ready to Burn” wood where possible). If not, the wood does not burn efficiently and will give off more smoke, lowering the air quality.
Also avoid having bonfires to burn garden waste and other forms of waste, as again, this can create a lot of smoke, especially if you burn something you shouldn’t.
3. Practise Conscientious Driving
Although walking or cycling are the better alternatives if this is not an option for you and you need to drive you should think about changing your behaviours slightly to practise more conscientious driving.
This includes switching off your engine whenever your vehicle is stationary for a longer period. This may seem like a bother, but it is actually less polluting to turn your engine off and restart it again when you need to move than it is to leave it running whilst not going anywhere. Many modern cars have now built a start/stop feature to do this automatically.
You can also help to reduce pollution by working to anticipate road conditions so that you can drive totally smoothly. When you can avoid sudden quick acceleration or breaking your vehicle’s fuel consumption is reduced and in turn, so are your exhaust emissions.
Finally, if you are thinking about getting a new vehicle, consider going hybrid or full-electric if you can. There are more charging stations than ever, and all new cars on the market will gain a full charge if you charge it at home overnight. They’re also becoming more affordable with a further range, so if you can, make the switch.
Summary of taking action on air pollution
There are things that we can all do to reduce pollution and help to improve air quality in the UK and they are such simple changes to make but ones that can really make a big difference to the environment. Use Clean Air Day, on the 8th October 2020, to kick start your new, environmentally friendly lifestyle! As individuals, we can take on personal responsibility regarding these issues, but EMSOL is here to give companies the opportunity to take responsibility for their impacts to the environment and help them to understand where they can make changes to improve air quality by easily monitoring their pollution activities.