According to recent data from the WHO, “9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.”
The data also blames the alarming death toll of 7 million people every year on outdoor and household air pollution.
It further states that “around 3 billion people – more than 40% of the world’s population – still do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes, the main source of household air pollution.”
In the wake of these disturbing revelations, it is heartening to see wind turbines and solar panels become an increasingly common sight. It is no secret that renewable energy is great not only for our environment but also our health and economy.
If renewable energy and environment-related statistics are to be believed, you should know that:
- Renewable electricity generation (excluding hydropower) is estimated to account for 8.4% of global electricity generation.
- Renewables played a significant role in the growth of electricity, contributing almost 50% of the growth in global power generation in 2017.
- If you consider the country-wise use of renewable resources, Denmark leads with 68% of power coming from renewables. Among the larger EU economies, the renewables share in power is 30% in Germany, 28% in the UK, 25% in Spain, and 23% in Italy.
- The year 2016 witnessed the biggest increase in the volume of renewable power generation in China, followed by countries such as America, Germany, Japan, and India.
- Further, growth in power generation continued in 2017, with an increase of 17%, thereby providing 8% of the world’s electricity.
Apart from this, the idea of recycling plastic and paper is catching on among environment enthusiasts. After all, recycling has become the need of the hour. It helps in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and landfilling.
You should also know that:
- On average, Americans use 650 pounds of paper a year.
- S. businesses use around 21 million tons of paper every year.
- Making new paper from recycled materials uses less energy than producing paper from virgin tree products and leaves more trees to absorb excess carbon dioxide.
- 2,000 pounds (or 1 ton) of recycled paper helps to save 17 trees, over 350 gallons of oil, and a large portion of landfill space. There are many ways recycled paper can be made, like using a frame, making paper pulp using pulp molding machine and also by mixing with water & grind it in mixer, etc…
- Glass and aluminum can be recycled any number of times, without any loss in purity or quality.
- Over 11 million tons of recyclable clothing, shoes, and textiles make their way into landfills each year.
- A single recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours. It also creates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution that would be created when making a new bottle.
Baffling, isn’t it?
If you find the above statistics alarming and are looking to do something to mend the distressed environment, you’ve come to the right place. It all begins at the basic level and then expands to the macro level. Here are a few tips.
Steps for Curbing Air Pollution
- Avoid smoking in congested areas, and especially indoors and in closed rooms. If you can, avoid smoking altogether.
- Stop burning fires to dispose of waste. The smoke emitted due to this is extremely dangerous to the environment and our health.
- In the same breath, avoid using fire for outdoor barbecues as well. An electric probe or natural/propane gas barbecue is an environment-friendly alternative.
- If you’re yet to buy a car, ensure to buy a model that generates less emissions. Speak to the sales reps about your ecology concerns and ask them to help you buy an eco-friendly ride.
- Before heading out in your car, combine as many tasks as possible to avoid taking multiple trips.
- As far as possible, use public transport. Try carpooling with your neighbors or colleagues.
- Buy locally grown food items as this reduces the need for packaging, shipping, and refrigeration. Buy them in bulk, if possible.
Steps for Curbing Water Pollution
- A lot of people tend to leave the taps open unnecessarily (for example, when brushing teeth) and waste water, which contributes greatly to water pollution. Aim to prevent wastage and reduce your usage of water to reduce water pollution.
- If you want to have a garden at home, it makes sense to plant small patches of natural plants instead of big lawns. Big lawns need maintenance in terms of a lot more water supply and chemicals. This is hardly environment-friendly.
- Consuming meat is another factor that contributes to water pollution. The extent of water required to produce and clean meat is ridiculously high.
- Make sure to install low-flow to medium-flow taps and showerheads in your bathrooms and kitchen to prevent unnecessary consumption of water. Also, see to it that there are no leaks in the pipes to avoid water wastage.
- Cleaning pet waste with water also leads to water pollution. Pet waste pollutes the water and leads to the eutrophication of lakes. It is always better to pick up pet waste and dispose it.
- Detergents and shampoos contain chemicals that may be harmful to the environment. Detergents, in particular, contain nonylphenol, a chemical that hinders fish procreation. It is, therefore, advised to check the ingredients before buying these items.
Steps for Curbing Land Pollution
- Replace your plastic bags with cloth or jute ones. Plastic bags contribute greatly to plastic pollution.
- Recycle inorganic waste items instead of trashing them.
- Items like laptops cannot be recycled, but paper can. In fact, recycling paper is highly recommended as it helps save forests, reduces pollution, decreases solid waste disposal, and prevents the formation of methane in landfills.
- Be aware of the structure of your neighborhood’s garbage disposal system. Respect it and dispose waste as instructed.
- Avoid littering altogether as it dirties land as well as water.
- If buying food items packaged in plastic/glass jars or bottles, try and reuse these containers at home. Avoid buying items in containers again, and buy refills instead.
- Learn the fine art of composting and maintain a compost bin at home. If possible, get others in your neighborhood also to do so.
The threat faced by our environment at the global level is very real. In fact, off late our planet hasn’t been reacting favorably to the effects of global warming and is making its displeasure apparent in several parts of the world in the form of extreme climatic conditions. The above tips can help us save our planet by doing our bit to keep it clean and green. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that all environmental concerns are interrelated, and any progress in one area leads to progress in the others.