How to Fight Urban Air Pollution

Urban air pollution can be a big problem for those with air sensitivities. Living in large, sprawling communities can cause a lot of problems with allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues. Not only is this bad for your health, it definitely affects many other aspects of your environment. Trees, vegetation and the water supply can be affected as well. There are several steps we all can take on an individual level to help fight urban air pollution.

Step 1 - Commuting

One of the leading factors of urban air pollution is the fact that we drive many unnecessary miles each day. If everyone limited making unnecessary trips each day, we could cut back on a lot of the pollution problem.

  • If you need to go to the grocery store, make a list of the items you need so you only have to make one trip.
  • Find a carpool group for your work commutes, or use public transportation when possible.
  • If you are able to find a more fuel efficient car that doesn't emit excessive and harmful emissions, you can help fight urban air pollution.
  • Next time you need to go somewhere, think of all the other errands you need to run, and try to do them all during one outing. This will also help you save money in the long run.

Step 2 - Planting Trees

Trees are actually a beautiful way to help cut back on air pollution. Since they rely primarily on carbon dioxide and provide oxygen, trees can help to clear the air. The oxygen that trees release back into our environment is clean and free of pollution. You can join the National Arbor Day Foundation for less than $20 and receive free trees to plant. If you don't have the space to plant, you can donate the trees directly through their website, and they will be planted on your behalf.

Step 3 - Carbon Offsetting

If you are already doing what you can to cut back on air pollution, you can look at purchasing carbon offset credits. These credits are a financial tool aimed at reducing pollution. The money given towards offsets is put into programs that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful things that can cause pollution.

The way it works is simple:

  • Carbon offset credits are measured in the same way carbon is measured. So one carbon offset would equal one metric ton of the gas.
  • If you purchase 100 carbon offsets, you are essentially making up for using 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
  • These offsets are available through many different companies which offer different plans. Some agencies will plant trees that will clean the carbon from the air. Others will invest in renewable energy, which will cut back on the amount of carbon emitted into the air.

Urban air pollution doesn't have to be a problem that will exist forever. We can still clean our air. We need to make wiser choices and invest in different forms of renewable, sustainable energy.