Positive changes are happening in the world’s air quality.
Let’s rip off the bandaid and get the bad news over with: Nearly the entire global population is inhaling unhealthy air. According to data from the World Health Organization, 99% of humans are breathing air that has dangerous levels of fine particulate matter or too much nitrogen dioxide. This kind of data can be alarming and disheartening. But there’s also good news. Here are five reasons to be optimistic and keep pushing for positive change.
The Postal Service is Going Electric
The U.S. Postal Service will have a new influx of electric vehicles to modernize its older fleet of outdated, gas-powered delivery vans. The USPS says it will buy at least 66,000 battery electric delivery vehicles as part of a modernization plan. Additionally, all vehicles bought after 2026 will be EV.
Mayors Are Stepping Up
Forty-eight mayors of major cities have signed a C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration, joining a global coalition that is fighting for clean air as a basic human right. Mayors of Austin, Bertin, Buenos Aires, Delhi, London, Los Angeles, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro and many more are using their power and influence to reduce air pollution in their cities. And, as we know: air knows no borders. So improvements in one part of the world help us all.
[NOTE: USE HASHTAGS: #TheFutureWeWant #CleanAirforAll for on social with this one]
The EPA is Tackling Particulates
In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has drafted a new rule that would tighten the limits on fine particulate matter, reports the New York Times. Fine particulate, AKA soot, lodges in the lungs and is linked to heightened risk of heart attacks, strokes, and asthma, as well as to premature births. The new rule, if it passes, would tighten the limit established in 2012, and will especially benefit lower income communities and communities of color, who are disproportionately likely to live near sources of air pollution.
Doctors are Getting Involved
Because they see the effects of air pollution on their patients’ health first-hand, some doctors are adding “clean air advocate” to their job descriptions. Groups like Doctors for Clean Air and Climate Action, in India, work to raise awareness of air pollution with the general public and motivate people to solve the threat that air pollution poses to their health.
Companies are Going Greener
Big companies can make a big difference. For example, IKEA has committed to having all home deliveries of furniture made by zero-emission vehicles by 2025, aiming to reduce air pollution in the highly populated areas where their stores and warehouses are based. The company has also announced it will phase out fossil fuels from production of its products by 2025. “Air pollution impacts the health of many people across the world. Through air pollution guidance, we, as businesses, are able to measure our impact and take action to minimize or eliminate it. We hope many other companies will join us and jointly contribute to clean air and health,” said Andreas Rangel Ahrens, Head of Climate, Inter IKEA Group, in the company’s announcement.
What can you do to reduce air pollution in your life and community?