4 ways to reduce air pollution

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4 ways to reduce air pollution
4 ways to reduce air pollution

Today, smog darkens the skies of every city in the world, and the air we breathe is increasingly polluted with certain matter and carbon monoxide. These pollutants are harmful to human and environmental health. So can you clean the air personally? It might surprise you how much you can contribute. Read step 1 for actions you could take to reduce pollution.


Method 1 of 4: Rethink Public Transportation

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 1
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 1

Step 1. Question the car culture

Industrial production practices are the number one cause of the Earth's air being polluted, but automobile-related pollution is the next cause on the list of culprits. The production of cars, roads, gasoline and emissions caused by burning fuel play a large role in this problem. Because many cities are spread out in such a way that driving becomes almost a necessity, it can be difficult to determine the best way to combat this problem. No matter where you live, you can take action by looking for creative ways to be less dependent on cars.

  • It may not be entirely practical to completely ditch your car, but you can still take steps to reduce its use. For example, instead of driving to the supermarket every other day, go only once a week or every ten days and buy everything you need in one go.
  • Going to your destination carpooling with your neighbors or signing up for a carpool program with someone else are also great ways to reduce your car use.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 2
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 2

Step 2. Take the bus, subway, or train

If you live in New York City, you are probably used to taking public transportation everywhere you go, but big cities aren't the only places that offer public transportation. Familiarize yourself with the train or bus routes in your city and start going to work with the bus instead of the car at least once a week. Do what you can to use public transportation as often as possible, only use your car when you don't have a good alternative.

Taking the bus or train to work, school, or to do any other activity has many advantages. Apart from being your contribution to reducing air pollution, you will have more time to read, knit, do crossword puzzles or look at people. Taking public transportation is safer than driving and will likely help lower your anxiety levels since you won't have to deal with rush hour traffic

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 3
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 3

Step 3. Try walking or cycling

Even better than public transportation is using your own energy to get you where you want to go. You can probably walk to the places where you arrive in five minutes with the car from your home; and if you are adventurous and have the time, you could walk a lot more. If you are so lucky that you live in a place with good roads for cyclists, start using them. In places with heavy traffic, cycling will be the fastest way to get to your destination.

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 4
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 4

Step 4. But if you drive, keep your car in good condition

Get it tune-up frequently to make sure you pass your city smog test. There are a few things you could do to help your car do as little damage as possible:

  • Use the quality of motor oil that conserves energy.
  • Fill your gas tank early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the weather is cool. This will help you prevent much of the gasoline from evaporating in the heat of the day.
  • When you fill up your tank, take care that the gasoline does not spill.
  • Instead of your car being paralyzed in the long queues at the supermarkets at fast food restaurants and banks, park your car and walk inside.
  • Air your car's tires to the recommended pressure. This will make it easier for your car to perform at its best and reduce fuel use.

Method 2 of 4: Change Your Shopping Habits

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 5
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 5

Step 1. Be a producer

Using raw ingredients or raw materials to prepare as many things as possible, rather than buying them from the store, is great to help reduce air pollution. This is because the practice of mass production of products, their packaging and their transport so that they are ready for consumers is directly responsible for the industrial emissions that pollute the air. Take a look at your house and analyze what products you could make instead of buying. Here are some ideas:

  • The food, of course. If you tend to buy a lot of packaged food, then preparing your food from scratch will be a good first step. Eliminating ready-made foods and creating new dishes with raw ingredients will be much healthier and more environmentally friendly. For example, if you love spaghetti, make your own sauce with raw tomatoes and garlic instead of buying a can of ready-made sauce. You could also make your own pasta!
  • Did you know that you can make your own cleaning products? Instead of buying dish soap, laundry detergent, and bathroom cleaner, make your own with non-toxic ingredients. Store your preparations in glass containers.
  • The same goes for homemade shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and lip balm.
  • Clothes are a bit more difficult to make yourself, but if you're feeling eager and want to give it a try, start with the basics, such as T-shirts and pants.
  • If you're interested in being a full-time grower, consider the art of farming. Soon, you'll be growing the tomatoes and garlic you need to make that spaghetti sauce.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 6
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 6

Step 2. Buy local products

When you need to buy something rather than make it, try to buy the products that are sold within your locality. You may have better luck in small stores, rather than commercial stores, which tend to import all their products, thereby contributing significantly to air pollution. Here are some strategies for buying local products:

  • Do your shopping at farmers markets. This is the best way to buy locally grown and marketed food.
  • Check the clothing labels. Try to buy manufactured clothing close to where you live. Although it could be quite expensive, consider purchasing clothing that is handmade by someone who lives near you. If that is not possible, buying second-hand clothes is another great way to reduce consumption.
  • Don't buy things online. Buying a book or item of clothing online is extremely consumer-friendly, but think about the boats, planes, and trucks it takes to deliver that item at your doorstep. You should only do it sporadically.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 7
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 7

Step 3. Opt for less packaging

The plastic, aluminum foil and cardboard used for packaging are made with practices that negatively impact air quality. Whatever you buy, try to choose products that have less packaging. For example, instead of choosing a box of individually packaged granola bars, try making them yourself at home or buying them at the bakery, where they are not packaged with foil. If that is not possible, opt for products that are packaged with recyclable material.

  • Bring your own fabric shopping bag to the store instead of asking for plastic or paper bags.
  • Shop the food section in bulk rather than buying individually packaged products.
  • Buy fresh, loose produce instead of canned and frozen.
  • Buy extra large containers of the products you use often so you don't have to buy a lot of small containers.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 8
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 8

Step 4. Reuse, recycle, and compost

Managing your household trash is another effective way to reduce air pollution. Reusing, recycling, and composting could significantly impact your garbage production, which means less garbage would go to landfills, which are major contributors to air pollution.

  • Try to buy the products that come in glass containers so that you can reuse them over and over again. Plastic can also be used again, but avoid reusing it too many times to store food, as over time the chemicals could leach from the plastic into the food.
  • Recycle plastic, paper, aluminum, and other recyclables according to your city's guidelines.
  • Make a compost pile in your garden, in which you can throw vegetable peels and other food residues. After you've tended to the pile for a few months, you'll have a black, heaped compost that you can use to compost your garden.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 9
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 9

Step 5. Use environmentally safe paints and cleaners whenever possible

These types of paints and cleaning products emit less smog-generating particles into the air, and it is also better for your respiratory health.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper use and capping of cleaning products, paints, and other chemicals. Following the instructions to the letter will ensure that the smog-generating chemicals cannot evaporate

Method 3 of 4: save energy

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 10
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 10

Step 1. Do not use the light or appliances for a long time

They've already told you a million times: turn off the light when you leave a room and don't leave the TV on all day! These small actions are more important than ever when it comes to reducing air pollution, since the electricity used by lights and electrical appliances is generated by natural gas or coal-fired plants that generate emissions. Here are some more ideas to reduce the energy you use in your home on a daily basis:

  • Take advantage of natural light. Place your study or work area near a window that has clear light all day, so you don't have to turn on the light.
  • Make one of the rooms in the house the “lit room” at night, instead of turning on all the lights in the house all the time. Your family could gather in the brightest room to read, study or watch a movie before going to sleep, instead of being scattered throughout the house.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when you're not using them. The same goes for large and small devices: televisions, computers, toasters, coffee makers, etc. Even a plugged-in cell phone charger could draw power all day.
  • Replace large, older electrical appliances with models designed to save energy.
  • Buy electricity from facilities that pollute nothing or almost nothing. Study the options available in your area.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 11
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 11

Step 2. Rethink your heating and air conditioning habits

Try to allow your body to acclimate to the changes of the season instead of using the heating and air conditioning to maintain the same temperature all year round. Abusing your heating and air conditioning is energy intensive, so use your hands as fans or put on warm sweaters to help you adjust to changes in weather instead of relying on your thermostat.

When you're at work or away on a weekend trip, be sure to set your thermostat so it's not blowing hot or cold air throughout your absence

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 12
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 12

Step 3. Don't take very long hot showers or baths

Heating water takes a lot of energy, so being considerate of how much hot water you use should be an important practice. You could start by taking shorter showers and skipping baths, as both require plenty of hot water.

  • Turn the water heater down to 120 ° F (50 ° C), so the water never heats up to a higher temperature.
  • Use the cold water option in your washing machine.

Method 4 of 4: Get Involved

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 13
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 13

Step 1. Learn about air pollution

Different regions have different air pollution problems. Perhaps there may be a factory nearby that is polluting the air in your city or perhaps the local landfill is the biggest culprit in the city where you live. To understand what would be the best actions you can take in your area, research yourself to find out which are the most significant sources.

  • Search the Internet, read the newspaper and ask for information. If you are in school, your teachers could point you in the right direction to take.
  • Start talking about air pollution with people you know, rather than downplaying it. Talking about it could give you brilliant ideas or actions that you couldn't come up with on your own.
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 14
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 14

Step 2. Plant trees

Trees reduce air pollution and planting them is one of the most satisfactory and concrete actions you can take to help improve air quality in your region. Trees generate oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, which they synthesize into food. Find out which types of trees are the best to plant in your area and get going!

Many cities have tree-planting programs, such as New York City's MillionTreesNYC. Find out if your city has a similar program

Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 15
Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution Step 15

Step 3. Join a group dedicated to fighting air pollution

Everyone can contribute to reducing pollution in their daily lives, but the most important solution will involve a change in government policies regarding industrial emissions. If you are passionate about taking action to reduce air pollution, consider joining an organization whose goal is exactly that. You will learn more about the type of education and experience you will need to help bring about lasting change and reduce air pollution in your city.


  • Ozone is one of the main components of smog. Ground-level ozone is formed when two types of pollutants react to sunlight. These pollutants are known as volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. They are found in the emissions of:

    • Motor vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, aircraft and trains)
    • Construction equipment
    • Garden equipment
    • Sources that consume fossil fuels, such as large factories
    • Small industries such as gas stations and print shops
    • Certain consumer products, such as some paints and cleaners

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