Every year, we are reminded, on Clean Air Day, that we should reduce our carbon footprint and our own air pollution. However, improving and changing habits are difficult, and sometimes seem impossible. It is also a common misconception that we, as individuals, can't change the environment. As Clean Air Day approaches and ends, it is important we make a "Clean Air Day" resolution- an environmental goal to accomplish the entire year. So, how can we, as individuals, take practical steps in reducing our carbon footprint?
1. Saving Energy
This might seem easy to undertake, but ways to save energy can often be forgotten. For example, it can be as easy as turning off the television, and remembering to turn off the lights. Other tips include washing full loads of dishes/laundry, using energy efficient lightbulbs like LEDs, and cleaning/replacing air filters. You could even go as far as installing solar panels on top of your house. Not only will you save money on your electricity bill, but you will also be reducing emissions from coal-fired electricity plants.
2. Reducing Vehicle Pollution
As a company that created technology that detects and measures vehicle emissions, we hope that everyone can take small steps in better vehicle maintenance. Another tip is to avoid excessive idling, since idling exhaust contains more pollutants than running exhaust. Also, it is crucial to consider public transportation and carpooling, to limit the amount of air pollution that enters the air because of automobiles. Globally, cars and other forms of transportation are responsible for nearly 15% of all carbon-emissions. Additionally, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA), road transport contributes to 41% of nitrogen oxide emissions. Not only does nitrogen oxide affect the environment negatively, but it also affects infant health, since it lingers at ground level longer. Because of these negative effects, it is important that individuals reduce pollution due to transportation.
3. Advocate for Standards and Regulations
In the light of recent automotive scandals, such as Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, it is crucial that we all advocate for better regulations on emissions. Unfortunately, 6.5 million deaths are from pollution-related diseases; this means that air pollution is not only an environmental risk, but a health risk. Air pollution is also a an economic risk, which costs European governments nearly 1.6 trillion a year. By establishing new standards and regulations, there are both tangible and intangible benefits, environmentally, economically, and physically.
As Clean Air Day comes and go, it is important that we make everyday, clean air day. Another way to be knowledgeable in your carbon footprint is to simply take this test:
This test will open your eyes to your own personal pollution, which will allow you to make mindful commitments to change. By taking these small tips into account, individuals, like yourself, can eliminate your carbon footprint. We hope that everyone has a #HappyCleanAirDay!