Air pollution is dangerous for people and the environment. But what can we do to contribute to cleaner air?
Car traffic is a massive contributor to bad air. For this reason, environmental zones have been introduced throughout Europe for decades, and their rules have been tightened more and more. Environmental experts are calling for car-free zones or even entire cities without cars, where people can breathe easy again. But it is not only the enactment of new laws by politicians and the production of clean cars that can reduce pollutants such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, but also CO2 in the air. Every individual can also do their bit. Here are a few tips and tricks:
Leaving the car behind more often for shorter distances and walking or cycling instead can significantly improve air quality. Using public transport and carpooling also helps. If you are buying a new car, you should also consider an electric car. However, this only really contributes to cleaner air if the electricity that charges the car comes from a sustainable source. Not taking a long-distance plane trip or a holiday on a cruise ship can also significantly reduce self-generated emissions.
We can also make choices about air quality when we build our homes. Fireplaces, for example, contribute greatly to air pollution. Gas and electric heaters, or even those powered by green storm, have significantly lower emissions. As a house builder, you can of course also think about generating your own electricity in the form of solar and geothermal energy. This way, you reduce your contribution to particulate matter and nitrogen oxide produced by combustion processes immensely.
Our daily consumption patterns also affect the air. The more industry produces, the more particulate matter is blown into the air. Transporting goods to the shops and to our homes in turn contributes to traffic on the roads.
In the garden and on the balcony, we can not only avoid air pollution, but remove the pollutants already present from the air. This is because plants filter the air and absorb the pollutants. Mosses in the garden and in nature are true fine dust sponges. Their many small leaves absorb and bind inorganic compounds such as metals and salts. Ivy is also a natural air filter. Houseplants remove fine dust in the house and thus improve the indoor climate.
By the way: to filter the air in cities, a start-up has developed so-called City Trees: these green walls contain many plants and mosse and bind fine dust. The start-up "BiomiTech" creates futuristic-looking artificial trees that house algae in the centre and clean as much air as 370 natural trees. In cities where there is almost no space for parks and green spaces, such projects could provide carefree breathing in the future.