According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills about seven million people worldwide every year. This is due in particular to the increase in mortality due to strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, etc... The WHO also indicates that 4.2 million deaths in 2016 are due to air pollution and 3.8 million are caused by domestic pollution (cooking with polluting fuels and technologies).
Although the situation has improved in recent years, concentrations of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in some cities still exceed European standards. So here are some measures to be implemented to improve air quality and protect against it.
Passenger transport in France emits around 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. According to the Ministry of the Environment and Transport, cars account for 92% of these emissions. Nevertheless, it is possible to take action and reduce this pollution by using milder means of transport. By opting for public transport, a person consumes about three times less energy and emits up to 50 times less greenhouse gases than by using their personal vehicle. For shorter journeys, walking and cycling are fast, healthy and environmentally friendly modes of transport.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the energy consumed on a daily basis has a significant impact on the environment and health. For example, since 1970, fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil in our cars) have accounted for 78% of the planet's carbon dioxide emissions. In order to save as much energy as possible, and thus reduce pollution, all unnecessary energy consumption must be avoided. When travelling, for example, it is advisable to unplug electrical equipment and not to put it on standby. Putting electrical equipment on standby consumes a large amount of energy.
Heating is a household's main source of energy expenditure, so thinking about insulating your home and lowering the temperature can save energy. Indeed, the body warms up naturally while sleeping under the duvet. During the day, a temperature of 19°C is sufficient in living rooms and bedrooms.
When plastic is produced, it is made from toxic materials such as benzene and vinyl hydrochloride. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, and manufacturing by-products contaminate the world's air and soil. Thinking about banning straws, using a water bottle instead of a bottle, and stopping single-use plastic bags, for example, can reduce consumption and thus reduce plastic waste.
Although these are government decisions to avoid air pollutants altogether, there are certain actions we can take on a daily basis to protect ourselves from them.
Focusing recently on hyper-local variations in pollution levels, researchers have found that within the same city - or even the same neighbourhood - individuals absorb different amounts of pollutants, depending on where they live and their habits. According to Frank Kelly, director of the environmental research group at King's College London, avoiding the busiest roads can cut the pollution a person breathes in half. Choosing the right route is as important for drivers as it is for pedestrians, as exhaust fumes can be concentrated inside a car. At the heart of daily traffic, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide is ten times higher inside the vehicle than outside.
To protect yourself from polluting particles, it is advisable to use a mask that complies with European standards. In Europe, those certified FFP 2 or 3 (Filtering Facepiece Particles level 3) are the most reputable. Disposable and of various types, they protect against dust, flu viruses such as COVID-19, and fine particles. Nevertheless, for its optimal effectiveness, certain conditions must be respected as much as possible: apply the mask correctly on the wings of the nose, do not touch it to avoid it from being electrically discharged, throw it away after a maximum of 4 hours...
Protecting yourself from outdoor pollution yes, but did you know that indoor air is 5 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air? Not only do outdoor pollutants, created by traffic, for example, infiltrate into homes through ventilation ducts, doors and windows, but indoor air is also polluted by kitchen fumes and smoke, household products, dust, cigarette smoke, candles etc. This is why it makes sense to opt for an air purifier. TEQOYA air purifiers produce negative ions that remove even the finest polluting particles (these are the most dangerous because they get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream).