There are steps and solutions cities can take to reduce air pollution.
Some cities have already done this exact thing.
In this short guide, we outline solutions for air pollution, and give a few examples of cities that have reduced their air pollution levels.
How To Reduce (Indoor & Outdoor) Air Pollution
Outdoor (Ambient) Air Pollution
Mainly focus on:
- Using cleaner fuel for vehicles than fossil fuel based fuels like petroleum. This can include electric cars, hybrid cars and other alternative fuel cars like hydrogen cars
- Using cleaner energy for power/electricity generation than fossil fuel based fuels. This can include renewable energy like wind, water, solar, but also nuclear energy which is cleaner than coal, gas and oil
Some sources say that when you consider effectiveness of solutions, we might be able to get better returns on reducing outdoor air pollution by focusing on stationary power stations first, rather than mobile vehicles (due to various reasons). So, where we place focus and how intensely we pursue solutions in each area could be key for short to medium term results.
Other ways to address outdoor air pollution might be:
- making public transport as clean energy as possible
- reducing traffic congestion in cities, encouraging less cars and vehicles, and encouraging walking and bike riding in cities and heavily populated places
- implement stricter standards for vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions
- making cities greener with trees, vegetation, plant life and systems that can absorb contaminants from the air
- improving energy efficiency of households and buildings
- improving waste management to reduce air pollution
- improving energy efficiency in both power plants and business/industry/commercial sectors
- making agriculture cleaner and more sustainable to reduce air pollution from fertilizers and other synthetic chemicals
- transport, cities (and densely populated areas with humans and concentrated burning of fossil fuels), housing, power generation, waste management, agriculture – are all the main sectors and areas we can focus on
Indoor (Household) Air Pollution
Mainly focus on:
- Using modern technology and power for heating, cooking and lighting inside households rather than what is currently used which is open fires & cookstoves burning coal and wood, that emit smoke with harmful air contaminants (mainly in developing countries and poorer areas)
Other ways to address indoor air pollution are:
- increasing ventilation in areas where household pollution is an issue
- examining cultural behavior that contributes to indoor air pollution
- providing economic investment and help to areas that can’t help themselves financially to improve indoor air quality
Air Pollutants To Focus On Reducing
- particulate matter (PM2.5, and PM10) – PM2.5 is one of the main pollutants that is linked to premature human deaths related to air pollution
- ozone (O3)
- nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
- sulfur dioxide (SO2).
Read more about how to reduce or prevent indoor and outdoor air pollution at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_pollution#Reduction_efforts (includes how we can reduce air pollution, and practical alternatives to the principal causes of air pollution).
Examples Of Cities That Have Reduced Their Air Pollution Levels & Increased Air Quality Conditions
You can read about examples of cities that have improved air quality and reduced air pollution in these guides:
- Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain – reduced air pollution emissions by 63%. They added plants and greenery, reduced vehicle use, and retrofitted buildings
- Montréal, Canada – reduced air pollution emissions by 54%. They increased tree cover and are reducing fossil fuel using vehicles.
- Lisbon, Portugal – reduced air pollution emissions by 50%. They decreased vehicle usage, as well as started to switch over to electric vehicles
- Medellín, Colombia – reduced air pollution emissions by 33%. Increased greenery, introduced better transit system, and bike and car sharing projects.
- Seoul, Korea – reduced air pollution emissions by 28%. Introduced a program providing incentives based on the amount of energy saved
Paris, Delhi, Netherlands, Freiburg, Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Zurich, Curitiba and Bangalore are all areas that have done something to address and reduce air pollution.
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_pollution#Reduction_efforts (includes how we can reduce air pollution, and practical alternatives to the principal causes of air pollution)