World Environment Day: 7 things you didn’t know about air pollution (and how to make a difference)
Today, June 5th 2019, is World Environment Day. This year’s focus is air pollution. And rightly so – as it’s is all around us and it affects us all, whether we realise it or not.
So. We thought it you’d find these seven staggering air pollution statistics interesting (and frightening)… We’re sure this will galvanize you in to action.
- Shockingly… 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air worldwide, according to the United Nations.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 7 million premature deaths every year are attributable to air pollution.
- Globally, 93% of all children breathe air that contains higher concentrations of pollutants than the WHO considers safe to human health.
- Household air pollution is particularly harmful to women and children and about 60% of household air pollution-related deaths globally are amongst this demographic.
- About 3 billion people depend on burning solid fuels or kerosene to meet household energy needs and 3.8 million of them will die each year from exposure to these pollutants.
- WHO figures show that 97% of cities in low- and middle-income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet the minimum air quality levels. In high-income countries, 29% of cities fall short of meeting the organisation’s guidelines.
- According to the World Bank, air pollution costs the global economy more than US$5 trillion every year in welfare costs and $225 billion in lost income.
Don’t forget: It’s not just humans…
Air pollution also has a big impact on the built environment as it degrades materials and coatings, decreasing their useful life and generating costs for cleaning, repair and replacement.
How can you make a difference?
Today, on World Environment Day, we should turn our minds to thinking about the many small, but significant, steps we can take to make a difference and #BeatAirPollution.
For businesses… it is an opportunity to consider how you can reduce emissions of air pollutants from facilities and supply chains. Organisations of all sizes can make a positive impact from planting trees to pledging to use recycled materials in your products and buying low-emission or electric vehicles for the company fleet. It’s an opportunity to look closely at how your business can make a difference by reducing carbon emissions.
Individuals can contribute too… How about picking up litter or finding a way to commute to work without using a petrol or diesel vehicle? If you do need to drive to work, then how about turning the engine off whilst you are stationary? And on a really basic level, we should all try and reduce our personal carbon footprints at home and at work – for example, don’t forget you can reduce emissions by turning off the lights and electronic equipment when you aren’t using them.
Why not use World Environment Day to make pledges on reducing emissions and #BeatAirPollution?