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  • Writer's picturePeter Rogers

Tackle Toxic Air - A silent killer

5 June marks World Environment Day, which is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year World Environment Day is themed around air pollution.

Air pollution is a silent killer. The World Health Organisation recognises noise as second as pollutant to air pollution as a public health threat. Air pollution can cause both short term and long term effects on human health and damage the health of plants, wildlife and ultimately, the planet's ecosystems.

Air pollution in this country is a major cause of diseases such as asthma, lung disease, stroke, and heart disease. It is estimated to cause forty thousand premature deaths each year in the UK. This figure represents 8.3% of deaths, costing around £40 billion each year. Last year, air pollution on Oxford Street was found to breach EU nitrogen dioxide limits 80% of the time – that’s a staggering 5.6 days a week. Globally, data from the World Health Organisation tells us there are 7 million premature deaths from air pollution exposure every year. There are benefits for tackling air pollution, which have knock on effect to noise pollution also, so there is a win-win here. As a company mindful of the bigger picture we offer some tips that can help.

We can take action to beat toxic air – here are 10 ways you can help reduce outdoor and indoor air pollution.

1) Car share – reducing car journeys reduces air pollution

2) Ditch the diesel – at one point the government encouraged us to go diesel to reduce concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere – but diesel engines produce higher levels of particulates, microscopic bits of soot left over from the combustion process. Go electric, if you can.

3) Switch your energy supplier and go green. Here at Sustainable Acoustics we use Ecotricity but there are several providers of new green energy in the UK, just check their certification results in improving access to all for real green energy, and does not just pay for the privilege of a theoretical green unit of power.

4) Plan journey times to avoid driving in heavy traffic and switch your engine off when static and idling, or use the incentives available to switch to electric, as we are doing here.

5) Go organic – switch to organic food. Fumes from nitrogen-rich fertilizers commonly used in farming are a significant cause of air pollution.

6) Buy local food to reduce food miles and eat less meat.

7) Use green paints like claypaints and water-based odour free paints and finishes inside your home or office.

8) Choose natural and untreated fibres for the home and office that are naturally hard wearing and durable.

9) Plant trees – trees are the ‘lungs of the world’ helping to clean our outside air.

10) Use indoor plants in our homes and offices to help filter the indoor air we breathe.

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