Air pollution is everybody’s problem
It’s easy to think air pollution is a problem far away from us. That it’s a problem affecting people in other places of the world, not here. But in fact, poor air quality is a huge global problem affecting everybody, everywhere.
First and foremost, air pollution is preventable. We can fight poor air quality and eliminate this problem. This would result in better health, reducing climate change, improving childhood development, strengthening biodiversity, creating equal societies and saving lives. But we need to act now.
The air we breathe is polluted with small particles able to penetrate our cells and organs, causing health problems. Cooking on an open fire as well as exhaust from fossil fuels are two sources of air pollution that affect our health in a negative way. The small particles can cause us chronic diseases such as asthma, stroke, heart attack and dementia. Dealing with air pollution would save the lives of millions of people every year.
Air pollution and greenhouse gas are closely related, since they come from the same sources. CO2, NO2, O3, SO2 and CO all contribute to climate change, read more about them here. We really need to reduce emissions now, to fight climate change.
Babies are breathing polluted air already in their first breath. The small particles affect brain development, mental health and cognitive development all through childhood. Air pollution can lead to physical health problems as well as behavioral issues. Clean air is important for everybody, especially children.
Air pollution is an invisible yet extensive threat to ecosystems and biodiversity all over the world. Not only humans are affected by air pollution, but animals and plants as well. Animals' respiratory systems are damaged by pollution and climate change is changing nature and what plants can grow in different areas. Extreme weather such as drought, flooding, wildfires and dust storms are a consequence of climate change- and makes it hard to find food and to survive.
The people most affected by air pollution and climate change tend to be the ones contributing to the problem the least. Poor and marginalized people in dense populated areas are the ones suffering the most from air pollution. People in communities like this often work in dangerous and toxic environments for a low salary. They pay with their health for someone else’s profit. Fighting air pollution and climate change is also a fight for equal societies.
So yes, air pollution is everybody's problem. But what can we do about it? Locally, we can monitor air quality and analyze data of air pollution to understand how to fight the problem in our area. We can learn more and use our knowledge to talk to organizations, companies and politicians. Demand good air quality, and anti-pollution advocacy. We can also make sure to reduce our own contribution to air pollution and emissions in our everyday life. Poor air quality is affecting us all, every citizen in every country. Air pollution is truly everybody’s problem.
Would you like to know more about our solution to poor air quality? Read about it here.