With international cooperation and collective global environmental action, environment on the priority list of governments, the world could truly celebrate on World Environment Day, June 5th 2022, with the whole world focused on living sustainably with nature, and can be achieved with a global commitment to resolving climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. This crisis is humanity’s greatest threat, and may cause the extinction of millions of species.
Air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to public health globally, and does have an impact on the climate. Improving our air quality will bring health and international efforts to tackle this critical issue is a must. Every breath we take sucks in tiny particles that can damage our lungs, hearts and brains and cause a stroke, heart disease, lung disease and cancer and a host of other problems such as diabetes and impairing cognitive development in children and exacerbating mental health problems, especially for those living in developed nations. Women and children are the most vulnerable.
There’s residential pollution which mostly comes from cooking, the use of wood and other solid fuels like raw coal for cooking and heating and the use of kerosene for lighting, and heating and generating electricity for our homes increases air pollution in homes.
Most methods of transportation are sources for fine particles polluting our air, as well as windblown dust, including anthropogenic dust emissions from soil particles altered or disrupted by human activity and combustion and industrial dust.
Other contributors to fine particles causing air pollution are landscape fires, agricultural waste burning and solvents, industrial and commercial.
Most fine particles that pollute our air mostly come from human activities such as burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and transportation, waste burning, agriculture and the chemical and mining industries. Natural sources which pollute our air include volcanic eruptions, sea spray, soil dust and lightening. Agriculture is a major source of methane and ammonia.
As many as four million people have died in a year from exposure to fine particulate outdoor air pollution, and with the highest death rates occurring in Asia and Eastern Europe.
Air pollution is a major global health concern. More governments are now introducing policies to improve air quality. Unfortunately, barriers to making progress are causing slow implementation of those policies, including financing them and the monitoring of air quality worldwide, especially the most polluted areas. All of humanity needs to seriously demand that the policies introduced be implemented as soon as possible not just for our generation but generations to come.
There has been some great improvement in recent years in many developed countries not as reliant on wood and other solid fuels for cooking and heating. Many underdeveloped countries are in need of support and guidance to access knowledge, tools and resources to tackle air quality.
Countries need to work together on sustainable transport, renewable energy products and their use, and waste management, along with businesses all over the world putting forth a vital effort together to make changes so that our carbon footprints are reduced more and more forever.