UN has cited pollution and environmental hazards as the biggest threat to mankind as of now. Millions of people across the world lose their lives to this. The numbers are startling.
But now, post the first conference on Air pollution held in Geneva, Switzerland end of October 2018, UN has said that millions of lives could be saved and one billion people living in Asia could be breathing clean air by 2030 if 25 simple and cost-effective measures are implemented.
Currently, about four billion people, 92 per cent of Asia and the Pacific’s population, are exposed to levels of air pollution that pose a significant risk to their health.
The report titled “Air pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based solutions” was launched at the World Health Organisation’s first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health.
This is the first time that such an extensive, comprehensive and thought through action has been taken on air pollution causes and measures. It is a collaboration between the UN Environment Programme (UN Environment), the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.
The report details 25 policy and technological measures that can make a difference towards a better quality of sustainable living.
Some of the measures are –
– Conventional emission controls, that focus on emissions that lead to the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
– Air-quality measures to reduce emissions that lead to the formation of PM2.5. For example, in India these could be the burning of agricultural and municipal solid waste or preventing forest fires.
This includes activities like providing clean energy for households, improving public transport and promoting the use of electric vehicles.
According to the report, effective implementation would result in a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide and a 45 per cent reduction in methane emissions, preventing up to a third of a degree Celsius in global warming.
So, what can we, as citizen do to reduce air pollution and reduce the harm of pollution on our bodies –
Use pollution masks all the time –
A pollution mask is the new facial accessory, that unfortunately, we cannot do without now. Choose the one which filters out pollutants like N95/99. Also use air purifiers.
Stay indoors as much as possible. Check pollution levels each morning and plan accordingly. Rigorous outdoor activities need to be curtailed. This is especially important for young children and older people.
Greenery and plants help –
Have plants in your balconies and indoors. Many plants help in reducing pollution levels. Use indoor houseplants to increase the intake of oxygen.
Reduce vehicular emission –
Carpooling, public transport, minimising outdoor travel are the way forward if we want to reduce vehicular emissions.
Right food habits & detox –
Increase Vitamin C intake, eat healthy food. This helps build immunity and makes the body strong. Air pollution is disastrous and we need to, individually, make efforts to combat it. Wash vegetables and raw fruits well.
Other measures – Minimize electricity use, say no to crackers, plastic and other harmful material which adds to the universal land fill.