There are steps and solutions cities can take to reduce air pollution.
Some cities have already done it and have results to show for it.
In this short guide, we outline solutions for air pollution, and give a few examples of cities that have reduced their air pollution levels.
Summary – How To Reduce To Outdoor Air Pollution, & Cities That Have Already Reduced Air Pollution
Two of the major sources of outdoor air pollution worldwide are transport, and electricity generation
Cleaner energy that doesn’t use fossil fuels – both for vehicles (electric vehicles as one examples), and electricity generation (solar, wind, renewables and other forms of cleaner energy for example) – is one major solution to decrease pollutants
Some reports indicate that there may be better return of investment and more potential for effectiveness in addressing cleaner stationary power at power plants first, compared to cleaner mobile transport
In addition to this, becoming more efficient or cutting consumption rates can help
Other specific solutions might include – use of public transport where possible over single passenger vehicles (or increasing per passenger mile pollution rates), making cities greener with more vegetation, focussing on solutions in other industries like building energy efficiency, waste management, and also agriculture
Cities, as a place where there are dense populations of people, may be a place to put increased focus on
Particulate matter (particularly fine particulate matter) is a main outdoor air pollutant that might be reduced, but ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide are others
There’s an increasing number of cities worldwide that have used different solutions to decrease air pollution already.
Just a few of them are Montreal, Lisbon, Medellin and Seoul, but there’s several others.
Indoor air pollution can very simply be addressed in developing regions with cleaner indoor electricity systems
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
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
Reduced air pollution emissions by 54%.
They increased tree cover and are reducing fossil fuel using vehicles
Reduced air pollution emissions by 50%.
They decreased vehicle usage, as well as started to switch over to electric vehicles
Reduced air pollution emissions by 33%.
Increased greenery, introduced better transit system, and bike and car sharing projects.
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)