SOLUTIONS WE CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO REDUCE URBAN URBAN AIR POLLUTION

Published by Amna on 18th Mar 2020

With so much going on around us, we don’t get enough time to think about the quality of air that we breathe.

What we breathe directly affects our health, immunity, and overall energy level. Prolonged exposure to air pollutants can cause severe health effects. 

Do you drink polluted water? Do you eat spoiled food? Then why breathe polluted air?


“Invisibility is a strange feature of this crisis. You see one person run over in the street and you’ll never forget it, but thousands dying from the effects of dirty air will never even faze you.”

Excerpt from Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution

(Written by Beth Gardiner, 2019, University of Chicago Press)


Cities in general have more dangerous levels of air pollutants. 

And the largest contributor to urban air pollution is traffic. 

Particulate matter emitted from vehicles poses a health risk to around 85% of European citizens, according to the EEA. 

So what can be the solutions to urban air pollution that are practically possible?


Banning Vehicles in City Centers?

Although there are limits set for air pollutants, the air quality of most of the urban areas is declining. 

One of the solutions to lower air pollution can be banning vehicles in city centers. 

Paris, Athens, and Madrid are banning diesel cars by 2025. 

The German government is introducing a “blue badge” for all the cars that have met the emission restrictions before they enter city centers.

In Colombia, the government restricts certain days vehicles can operate by license plate to reduce the emissions.


Maintenance and Monitoring of Vehicles

You must keep your car engines properly tuned. 

And make sure the tires are inflated. 

Since 2013, a portable air pollution monitoring equipment is being used in Europe to measure the emissions of air pollutants from buses and trucks. 

Most of the NOx emissions come from vehicles. 

Therefore, monitoring vehicular exhaust and imposing a penalty on those failing to meet the standards, can reduce NOx emissions.


Specifying Routes for Public Transport and Bicycle

A lot of cities are promoting separate bikes and public transport lanes. 

This can be an alternative to private cars by limiting traffic on roads. 

Encouraging citizens to use bicycles requires a change in infrastructure. 

But it can still be a start in reducing air pollution.


Making the Cities Greener

Planting trees can also help to improve urban air quality. 

Green belts, parks, and roof gardens are good options to consider in this regard. 

Plants tend to lower the temperature, filter particulate matter, and provide oxygen by using carbon dioxide. 

Trees can reduce the temperature by 11 degrees.

Vegetation can be grown even on the infrastructure already available. 

One such example is of “Living Walls”. 

A living wall is a very simple but effective solution to air pollution. 

Plants grown on the wall not only filter out the air pollutants, lower the temperature, and give out oxygen, but also limit the absorption and reflection of solar radiation.

A recent study concluded that the correct placement of outdoor vegetation can reduce the concentration of NOx as much as 40 percent, and microscopic particulate matter by 60 percent.


Sustainable Architecture

Urban designing and landscape with a focus on environmental aspects can greatly affect air quality. 

Cities have high-rise buildings. 

They have multiple surfaces that absorb and reflect sunlight, thus heat the surrounding areas. 

They also block wind and prevent air pollutants to dissipate. 

The streets with no air circulation and concentrated air pollutants are called urban canyons.


Protect Yourself: Masking Up

Last but not the least, you must protect yourself. 

If the air quality is bad, stay inside. 

In case you have to go outside, wear a protective mask or scarf. 

They have air filtration technology built-in that helps us in protection against particulate matter, smoke, smog, pollen, diesel fumes, pet dander, dust, bacteria, and viruses.

Both masks and anti-pollution scarfs provide health protection via filters installed in them. 


MASK VS SCARF? 

It has been seen that masks cause discomfort if they are used for longer periods. 

This is because of its construction and structure. 

They are not ideally suited according to face shape. 

Also, the material used in masks doesn’t let out the moisture from the inside. 

It has been reported that wearing masks for longer periods causes skin issues in many people. 

The metal nose fit equipped on the masks is not suitable for people who wear glasses. 

Cycling and jogging wearing these masks are very uncomfortable because they usually are not stable and slide down.


SO, SCARF UP!

For these reasons, anti-pollution scarves are a better alternative to face masks. 

They are much more usable, stylish, and comfortable. 

These scarves adjustable nose strip and elastic closure that suit every face shape making it perfect for everyday use.

They are ultra-breathable and lightweight neck tubes equipped with nanofiber membrane filters. 

They provide effective protection against airborne pollutants, PM 2.5, irritants, and germs. 


THEY'RE MULTIFUNCTIONAL & STYLISH

And the best part is, they can be washed and reused for up to 5-6 months.

Some people don’t like masks because they do not look good in them. 

But the anti-pollution scarf is a fashionable addition to your outfit. 

It is a combination of protection, style, and comfort. 

These are available in different styles and colors making you feel comfortable and protected as you express your style. 

Along with that, the inside layer is made with skin-friendly fabric. So, no skin abrasion and irritation.

Governments are recommending the use of face mask and face-covering after the easing on lockdown measures following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Anti-pollution scarves can be used in this context as it provides an extra layer of protection.

Check out what my friend, Ryan and his team made! It's the world's most breathable Urban Air Snood only available at: https://webreathe.com/shop/facewear/

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