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The focus for #WorldEnvironmentDay in 2019 is Air Pollution
How does air pollution affect your body?
Breathe Life tells us “Tiny, invisible particles of pollution penetrate deep into our lungs, bloodstream and bodies. These pollutants are responsible for about one-third of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory disease, and lung cancer as well as one quarter of deaths from heart attack. Ground-level ozone, produced from the interaction of many different pollutants in sunlight, is also a cause of asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses.”
Over 80% of all cities exceed WHO (World Health Organization) limits for safe air.
Air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths worldwide.
What causes air pollution? You’ll be surprised.
We all know that our cars emit carbon monoxide which is a main cause of smog and air pollution, but did you know that methane is a serious issue too?
1. Air pollution is caused by solid waste disposal.
The UN tells us, “Open waste burning and organic waste in landfills release harmful dioxins, furans, methane, and black carbon into the atmosphere. Globally, an estimated 40 percent of waste is openly burned. The problem is most severe in urbanizing regions and developing countries. Open burning of agricultural and municipal waste is practiced in 166 out of 193 countries.”
What you can do to reduce air pollution by waste disposal:
- Separate organic waste such as food & garden items into compost
- Waste less food at home (1/3 of all food is lost or wasted)
- recycle non-organic waste whenever possible
- use reusable tote bags at the store and reuse plastic shopping bags
- dispose of the garbage that is left properly in your local collection
- never burn garbage – it directly contributes to air pollution
- donate used items in good condition to be reused or – even better – have a New-to-You Party
2. Air pollution is caused by the oil & gas industry.
The UN tells us, “In many countries, energy production is a leading source of air pollution. Coal-burning power plants are a major contributor, while diesel generators are a growing concern in off-grid areas. Industrial processes and solvent use, in the chemical and mining industries, also pollute the air.
Policies and programs aimed at increasing energy efficiency and production from renewable sources have a direct impact on a country’s air quality. At the moment, 82 countries out of 193 have incentives that promote investment in renewable energy production, cleaner production, energy efficiency and pollution control.”
What you can do to reduce air pollution caused by the oil & gas industry.
- use solar panels as a renewable source of energy for your home
- use a photovoltaic solar power system instead of a diesel generator for off-grid
- use LED lighbulbs to save on energy costs
- make your home airtight to save energy use
- use the power saving mode on your game console & turn it off when not in use
- buy energy star certified or energy efficient appliances for your home
- set your ceiling fan the right direction for each season
- use a smart thermostat to reduce heating and cooling costs when you’re not home
- don’t overfill your fridge – it uses more energy to keep everything cold
- choose no-bake recipes to use less energy
3. Air pollution comes from agriculture.
The UN tells us: There are two major sources of air pollution from agriculture: livestock, which produces methane and ammonia when they pass gas, and the burning of agricultural waste. Methane emissions contribute to ground-level ozone, which causes asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Methane is also a more potent global warming gas than carbon dioxide – its impact is 34 times greater over a 100-year period.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide (this is more than the whole transportation sector).
The release of about 100 kg Methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2300 kg CO2 per year – the equivalent of the emissions from driving 7800 miles per year. World-wide there are about 1.5 billion cows that emit about two billion metric tons of CO2-equivalents per year.
Two pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average car in 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days
What you can do to reduce air pollution caused by cattle.
- the most effective way is to reduce the consumption of beef and dairy products
- embrace a vegetarian or vegan diet
I hope the information & inspiration from this article will help you make new choices that are healthier for you, your children and the whole world.
Get ready for World Environment Day on June 5th, 2019 by joining their mask challenge!
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