Building upon the first article, which explored: What is Air Pollution?, this post will look at what we can do in and around our homes to reduce the air pollution that we cause, either directly or indirectly.
This second post is a celebration of UN world Environment Day 2019 (5 June 2019) with its theme of #BeatAirPollution & the UK Clean Air Day 2019 (20 June 2019).
Chemistry of Air Pollution
It is important to understand the combustion (burning) process, which underlies air pollution.
As seen in our article: What is Air Pollution?, the chemistry helps us to understand that oxides are produced, such as Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxides & Sulphur Oxides, which are air pollutant.
Direct Air Pollution
In order to reduce direct air pollution, you should look around your home for fuels, which are burnt to produce heat or warmth, such as a gas cooker, gas hob, gas-fired boiler and wood fire.
Once you have identified these air pollution sources, you can see what opportunities there are for reducing the air pollution, such as discontinuing or reducing their use especially wood fires known for producing significant air pollution or reducing use by turning down the thermostat or re-programming the times for central heating.
In some cases, consider ensuring that your gas cooker is serviced and efficiently operating.
During a boiler service, it is possible for the Gas Engineer (Gas Safe Registered in the UK), to provide a summary of the efficiency of the boiler, the percentage of the Carbon Dioxide produced & other information.
As we found out in the first video: What is Air Pollution?, transport accounts for 36% of all Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) air pollution in the European Union.
Anything that we can do to reduce our car journeys will go directly towards a reduction in air pollution and Greenhouse gases.
Consider whether to take the journey at-all.
For local journeys, consider walking or use public transport.
For longer journeys, try using the train or tele-conferencing, if it is for work.
The Clean Air Day campaign have produced a handy Clean Air Travel Hierarchy guide, which can be downloaded here
Indirect Air Pollution
Using electricity may, at first sight, appear to be the solution to reduce air pollution from our homes as it does not generate air pollution at the point of use unlike a gas boiler.
However each time we flick the light switch or turn on the TV, we can be using electricity that has been generated from gas or coal-fired power stations. Each unit of electricity is causing air pollution.
So we should make wise choices about the electricity that we consume by turning off unwanted lights and appliances.
Whether you are heading for “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” or even a cruise for your holiday, consider the environmental impact of your journey. You may feel that you don’t have any real choice for that Spanish Villa holiday but to take a flight, maybe consider a train journey.
At the time of the article, the UK Government is committing to the UK to achieving Net-Zero for its Carbon Emissions based on the Committee on Climate Change‘s Technical Report Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming.
You can work towards this aim for your home too.
There are opportunities and incentives for installing Photo Voltaic (PV) Panels on your roof to generate electricity from sunlight for use in your home or export to the National Grid.
Even if you can not afford or are not able to install PV Panels on your roof, there are opportunities in the UK electricity market to buy “Green Electricity” generated from renewable sources, such as wind and solar farms.
Further resources are available at the websites for the UN World Environment Day & Clean Air Day