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Clean Air Day

Clean Air Day

The environmental conversation is largely focused on things we can see. After all, it’s hard to ignore campaigns that show discarded plastic litter on the beach, but harder to show are the hazardous affects of poor air quality.

8th October is Clean Air Day 2020. This is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign and according to their figures, air pollution causes 36,000 deaths every year. Additionally, the World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality can cause heart and lung disease and is also linked with low birth weight and even contributes to mental health issues.

Emissions from cars is high on the list of offenders for air pollution, so there are a few easy moves you can make to reduce your footprint. Using your car less is obviously the first thing to consider. Wrapping up warm and walking, cycling or scooting to school is an easy win that saves you from having to wrestle for a parking space too. Public transport is also a great way to get around, particularly in cities. During the coronavirus lockdown, air pollution in London plummeted as car usage declined exponentially. With so many people now working from home part-time and permanently, these changes in how we travel could be met more easily.

When we do use the car, it’s a sensible idea to switch the engine off rather than idling. This might not be practical sat at a red traffic light, but very easy to do when picking up the kids from school, or waiting for your partner to return from an errand.

In the home there are also several smaller things you can do that make a BIG difference. Paraffin based candles and fire lighters are air pollutants, so switching to natural alternatives such as soy wax candles are a great way to reduce your pollution footprint.

There are also measures you can put in place to purify the air in your home. A Himalayan salt lamp is known to reduce pollutants in the air, while a wide array of house plants also work hard to cleanse the air. It’s not just Jungalow vibes that they bring to the table, spider plants, peace lilies and golden pothos are renowned for their air purifying powers. Even a bunch of Chrysanthemums can filter out toxins like ammonia and benzene 💐

Of course, you can opt for a Dyson air purifying fan, or consider better ventilation - particularly if you suspect damp or mould. In fact during the colder autumn and winter months, it’s a good idea to consider air purifying tactics as we largely tend to bring in damp coats and shoes, then keep windows closed to hold the warmth in.

As Clean Air Day dawns, it’s time to give serious thought to how air pollution affects our daily lives. While often unseen, the detrimental affects of poor air quality is ever present in our lives, but is something we can take sensible steps to combat. For more information, and how to get involved with Clean Air Day, visit their site at cleanairday.org.uk.

Natasha Ray
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