Air pollution is a hard nut to crack. It’s difficult to transform all the sectors responsible for it at the same time, but it’s not easy to choose to priority one either. How could we effectively deal with the air pollution problem? Here are some ideas.
The specifics of air pollution depend strongly on climate and other geographical factors. No wonder that fighting this problem is so challenging, particularly on a global scale.
There is no easy formula – and moreover, it’s not enough to transform the sectors responsible for the majority of emissions. We need a mental switch that would allow us to look at the well-being of our planet as a common good. In the end, saving the Earth should be our ultimate priority for our communities and governments – and somehow, even though we know the dangers of climate change and progressing air pollution, there is not much being done.
Apparently, this change in approach to environmental issues is already happening – it’s particularly noticeable when we look at the youngest generations. However, before they take the lead, it’s worth analysing which changes are the most urgent and applying the appropriate solutions. Monitoring the air pollution levels through real-time updated air pollution maps, like Airly.org, can be the first step towards a greener future. It’s a real eye-opener – you may not even be conscious of how high are the emissions in your area!
What actions aimed at the problem of air pollution would bring the best outcomes?
Air pollution sources – which ones are dominating?
The composition of smog can differ significantly depending on which type of phenomenon we’re dealing with. The sulphurous type, as the name suggests, contains mainly sulphur dioxide. This chemical compound gets into the atmosphere as a result of coal burning. The phosphorous smog, also known by the name of the Los Angeles type, consists principally of nitrogen oxide. Its emissions originate mainly in exhaust fumes.
On a global scale, fossil fuel burning is a sector to blame for the majority of emissions. Even though the green transformation is progressing fast in many parts of Europe, some countries – take, for example, Poland – continue to use coal as their main energy source. Reversing this trend is the action we should focus on in the following decades. Fortunately, the prognosis is quite optimistic. The switch to renewables is inevitable – many leading fossil fuel giants have sensed it already and are slowly turning to green energy in their business plans.
The traffic is the second sector we should definitely work on to achieve the best result. The emissions that come from it vary, depending on the region. In Western Europe, the percentage of transportation-related air pollution is much lower than in, for example, South Asia, particularly India or Bangladesh. In these countries, due to the overwhelming prevalence of old vehicles fuelled with diesel engines, the nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emissions are skyrocketing, resulting in smog that basically doesn’t ever disappear.
As you can see, there is no simple answer, but without a doubt, our communities should put the strongest emphasis on reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and the development of public transport run with renewables. This way, we make some room for change!
If you’re searching for more statistics and measurable data, enter the Airly.org air pollution map in order to verify the real-time emissions in your area (and not only!).