Polluted Skies: A Reality Check on the World’s Most Contaminated Cities

Polluted Skies: A Reality Check on the World’s Most Contaminated Cities

Air pollution is an environmental and health concern that cannot be overlooked. WHO declared air pollution a public health crisis, causing more than 4.2 million deaths yearly. What is the cause of air pollution?

Air pollution is caused by carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. These gases cause Earth’s temperature to rise since greenhouse gases capture the heat from the sun resulting in global warming. The danger of air pollution is more severe than we think. If we do nothing by 2030, the air will be so toxic that we may need oxygen kits to breathe comfortably.

How Air Quality Is Measured

air pollution slump

Various organizations, such as governments, local municipalities, industry research institutes, and environmental groups, monitor and measure air quality. Different technologies are used to measure various contaminants according to specific standards. Using these measurements allows environmental and government agencies to measure the air quality level, which allows them to accurately measure which cities are the most polluted.

What Are The Sources of Air Pollution?

The impact of energy and environment issues are directly linked to electricity generation, transportation and energy consumption. Let’s look at the main causes of air pollution in big cities.

Burning Fossil Fuels

United Airlines Boeing 757-222 by Raimond Spekking Wikimedia

Air pollution is mainly caused by industries that use fossil fuels, power plants and vehicles. Fossil fuel combustion produces airborne toxins, emissions, and chemicals. Burning fossil fuels significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, but most of the air pollution in cities is caused by air pollutants from fossil fuels.

As mentioned above, air pollution, the environment and climate change are interlinked. The imbalance of the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface caused by GHGs and air pollutants contribute to global warming. Longer pollen seasons and the emergence of air pollutants that cause allergies, such as mould, will both contribute to this rising global temperature.

Ozone, Smog, and Soot

The ozone acts as an extra layer of protection against UV rays in the atmosphere. When ozone reaches the ground, it can become air pollution, reducing visibility and risking people’s health.

However, smog is a form of pollution caused by combining emissions from fossil fuels and sunlight. Nitrogen oxides from car exhaust and coal-fuelled power plants react with the sun’s rays to form smog.

Soot comprises fine chemicals, soil particles, smoke particles, dust particles, allergen particles, and other particulate fragments suspended in the atmosphere in a gas or solid form.

What Can We Do to Reduce Air Pollution?

staying cool at home without air conditioner

While much of the pollution comes from more prominent industries and manufacturing businesses beyond our control, there is still much that we can do as individuals to improve our air quality.

Switch To Renewable Energy 

Did you know that air quality issues can also occur in your home? One way to combat this is switching to a provider of energy that uses renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels. Air pollution can be decreased by using alternative energy sources like hydropower, solar, and wind power.

To further improve your home or workplace’s energy efficiency, you can look for improvement opportunities with our Energy Performance Certificate. Improve the insulations or replace the appliances and equipment with a more efficient model.

Use Public Transportation

Public transportation uses less energy and fuel than driving alone, making it an efficient way to reduce air pollution. Carpooling can also have a positive effect. Using public transport not only reduces fuel emissions but also saves you money. Fewer vehicles on the road mean less emissions.

Using public transportation can reduce issues such as:

  • Reduce overall emissions
  • Fewer vehicles on the road
  • Fewer traffic jams
  • A wallet-friendly alternative

Add Filters To Your Chimneys

indoor air quality is also important

Gases emitted from domestic and industrial chimneys are incredibly detrimental to air quality and are a major cause of air pollution. Filters can minimize the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere if consumption cannot be decreased.

Become Energy-Efficient

To be energy efficient, we need to reduce our energy consumption. This can be achieved through behavioral changes, using energy-efficient equipment, or combining both. The aim is to perform the same task with less energy.

Here are some useful suggestions to help you be more energy-efficient at work and at home.

  • Disconnect standby appliances, equipment and devices
  • Make sure gaps such as under doors and windows are draught-proof
  • Switch off lights in unused rooms
  • Switch to energy-efficient lighting
  • Insulate hot water tanks and piping

Final Thoughts

Stopsmog Air Pollution Smog Mask Antysmogowa

Both human and environmental health are negatively impacted by air pollution. It reduces visibility and sunlight, causes acid rain, and damages forests, wildlife, and agriculture. Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions affects the entire planet, causing ecosystem changes that species have difficulty adapting to.

But this war is actually winnable for those who want to fight. We can mitigate this impact by taking discrete actions to reduce air pollution. The real question is, will we fight and when will we fight it. What about you?

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