May is Clean Air Month
Clean Air Month was created by the American Lung Association to champion clean air for everyone. In most parts of India, we’ve come to accept poor air quality as something that we simply must deal with, with no solution in sight. However, there are small things that we can do as individuals to try to prevent and combat air pollution.
Studies have shown that annually, vehicles contribute to about 290 Gg (gigagrams) of PM 2.5. In India, transport accounts for 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and in Delhi, this number is as high as 30%. If you are able to carpool or take public transport, try to do so and decrease your daily carbon footprint.
When we are home, we might think we are protected from outside air pollution but this isn’t true. Air enters our houses through windows, doors and cracks as well as exhaust systems. In order to protect yourself, invest in a good air purifier. Also, you can fix all your exhaust fans to ensure they suck out air rather than blow air in, and ensure that your stove uses vents that force air outside.
Check The AQI
We’ve gotten so used to high AQI numbers that we don’t think twice before heading out. The air quality index (AQI) tracks smog (ozone) and particle pollution. That is pollution from vehicle exhaust, pollen, etc. When you see the AQI being super high, and potentially showing red, then it would be better to stay indoors rather than expose yourself to very high air pollution. This isn’t easy, but it’s something to keep in mind.
State governments are trying to make changes and are incorporating measures like increasing green cover along roads, tree-planting drives, awareness activities at schools and promoting urban farming. According to Environment Minister Gopal Rai, “Under the Green Delhi Start-up scheme, start-ups that are developing alternatives to single-use plastic will be given financial support.”
Living with pollution seems like a necessary evil of life, but if we can find ways to reduce this while protecting ourselves, we can champion a greener future!