Last year, across Europe, air pollution was considered to be the biggest health risk to the public. But, as well as air pollution, we are now living in a time where overall pollution is affecting us daily. Water, plastic and fashion have all become more polluted in recent years and our day-to-day lives are practically filled with pollution.
Pollution can take on many forms, and we are becoming more exposed to them on a daily basis. However, with this increase comes more awareness. So, here are five ways you can start living a pollution-free, healthier life.
1. Use Public Transport
Public transport is not only a great way for you to get to work, but it is also an environmentally friendly way of travelling. As public transport vehicles can carry numerous passengers in a single vehicle, this then reduces the number of vehicles on the road, traffic noise levels and emissions.
By reducing emissions, particularly in urban areas, public transport can help to reduce smog, air pollution levels and the health risks to residents living in these areas. By using public transport, you not only help to get another vehicle off the road, but also contribute to less traffic, enabling a much more efficient travel flow.
2. Invest In An Air Purifier
We now spend more time than ever indoors, thanks to technology, demanding work schedules and having less time to spend out and about. Whilst you might not realize it, indoor air may be just as, or even more, polluted than the air outside, thanks to pets, kitchen smells, fumes and heating choices.
Air pollution can impact a lot of things, from children’s development to respiratory health and once you begin to notice these factors, you’ll be amazed at the many ways your life can be impacted by minuscule air particles. Air purifiers use a system of fans and filtration systems which pull in the air from around your home and remove any airborne particles, such as pollen, bacteria and dust. The more times the air passes through the filters, the cleaner the air becomes.
3. Change Your Beauty Habits
Environment experts have predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there is fish, and it is widely agreed that plastic pollution is becoming a huge concern. It was estimated the beauty industry is responsible for 142 billion units of plastic packaging per year, with around 40% of it made from rigid plastic which will never break down.
However, companies are now becoming more aware of the impact beauty products are having on plastic pollution, with many going packaging-free, offering refillable products and using biodegradable materials.
There has been an increase in the amount of research going into the beauty industry, with more products become sustainable and eco-friendly. Cosmetic and face glitter has had a huge overhaul in becoming more eco-friendly, as it has been classed as a microplastic. Products such as face scrubs and washes have also banned the microbead, another form of microplastic.
4. Change Your Shopping Habits
Sustainable shopping is a confusing term and has been thrown around as a buzzword for years now. Fashion has become the second most polluting industry, behind only oil, so making some small changes to your shopping habits and the way you think of and buy clothes will make a difference. Shopping sustainably is not an easy transition to make and can become a little confusing, but as it is now a very real, and very damaging, problem, it is good that it is finally being acknowledged.
Start by researching the facts behind the fashion industry and then look into brands which are taking steps towards becoming more sustainable. Whilst there are very few brands who are 100% sustainable, more and more are creating sustainable and ethical collections. Another tip is to research and shop online. Around 22% of a clothing item’s environmental impact comes solely from the process of transportation to and from stores, so online shopping is a great way to find new and exciting brands and cut down on environmental impact.
5. Exercise At The Right Times
We all know fitness and exercise is an important contributor to a healthy lifestyle, but if you workout outdoors, then air pollution can be a damaging and unhealthy combination. Whilst we can’t avoid being outdoors, there are some tips that can help reduce the levels of pollution you breathe in when exercising outdoors. In the UK, there are many cities where the air quality often reaches illegal levels, but the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risk of pollution exposure, unless you suffer from asthma or are young, pregnant or elderly. If you like to exercise outdoors, then try to avoid heading out during rush hours. This is when air pollution is at its highest. It is always better to go before rush hour, rather than afterwards. Avoiding the most built-up areas is best and if you can, reduce your exposure to pollution levels by running or cycling along quieter streets. It has been shown that taking a side street route rather than a main road can reduce your exposure to pollution by 53%.