June 5th is World Environment Day and the theme this year is air pollution. This day is a call to
action to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our
To help people respond to this call the UN has put together an assortment of guides focusing on solutions to the problem of air
The five guides are: Businesses, Cities, Governments, Schools and Universities and Individuals.
Guide for Businesses
Here are some ways that businesses get involved in combating air pollution. Businesses have made pledges for World Environment Day. These pledges include:
- Using renewable sources of energy
- Using fresh air ventilation for cooling or install
ultra-efficient, hydrofluorocarbon-free cooling
- Using recyclable materials, reducing emissions
and investing in research and development to imagine new and less
damaging ways of doing business.
- Hosted a tree planting day
- Make a pledge to buy low-emission or electric vehicles for the
- Consider how you can reduce emissions of air pollutants from
facilities and supply chains
Click here to find out more about what businesses can do.
Guide for Cities
Only 1 in 10 cities have air quality measures that meet World Health Organization standards. Consider using World Environment Day to make
municipal commitments on improving air quality by curbing transport and energy
emissions and creating more green spaces. Here are some ideas:
- Offer free transport in urban areas to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home.
- Host tree-plantings
- Phase out diesel buses and trucks (Madrid, Paris, Athens, and Mexico City have made this committment)
at landfill gas recovery as an energy option that harnesses land emissions rather than allowing them to enter the atmosphere or our
Click here to find out more about what cities can do.
Guide for Governments
This year World Environment Day will is being hosted by China, which has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically and its commitment to improve air quality which is an inspiration to countries around the world. Government can act to improve air quality and protect citizens from harmful toxins by:
- Announce new requirements on industry to reduce harmful air pollutants.
- Make a pledge to phase out petrol and diesel-based cars.
- Investment in renewable energy sources.
- Put in place national air quality action plans
- Monitor air quality, assess pollution
- Join the Breathe Life campaign run by UN Environment, the Climate and
Clean Air Coalition, the World Health Organization and the World Bank
Click here to find out more about what governments can do.
Guide for Schools and Universities
World Environment Day can be a platform for students and education officials to lead the fight for cleaner air and ask their governments and schools to transition to cleaner energy. Here are some examples of actions that could be taken by schools:
- Host a tree-planting event
- Ask teachers and professors to teach a whole day on sustainability and air quality
- Support students in the creation of environmental clubs on campus, which can empower youth to be innovative and come up with ideas to tackle air pollution
- Commit to using renewable energy on your campuses.
- Install air quality monitors to check air quality on your campus and area so that the community is aware of the air they are breathing.
- Provide electric buses and making your school campus bicycle friendly
- Creating no-car-idling zones near your School
Click here to check out a 45-minute science lesson to teach K – Grade 12 students about the sources of air pollution.
Click here to access Air Pollution 101 is a one-class Science lesson plan for high school students that educates about the sources and dangers of air pollution.
Click here to check out a hands-on activity guide for educators to use in the classroom about how to measure particular matter.
Click here for Air Quality lesson plan resources.
University Lecture Notes
Click here to access a 25-page University of Illinois Air Pollution Leaning Module focusing on air pollution sources and its effects on the environment and human health.
Click here to access 1-2 lesson LSC Lecture Notes on Air Pollution covering the history of major air pollution events, primary and secondary pollutants, a case study example and air pollution trends.
Other Resources for Schools
Click here to access an archived online Air Pollution Course about the principles and concepts of air quality management.
Source: The Open University
Click here to access to access an Air Quality Toolkit targeted at Primary Schools aims to educate children and their families about the positive changes they can make to improve air quality.
Click here to access a Handbook for Schools on Organic Waste Management can help you understand how to manage organic waste in order to reduce emissions from waste.
Click here to access the US EPA Air Quality Flag Program helps to alerts institutions to the local air quality forecast and helps them to take actions to protect people’s health, including those with asthma.
Source: Air Now
Click here to access the UK Clean Air Day resources and activities provide a variety of air quality educational materials that can be used to educate your students about air pollution.
Click here to find out more about what schools & universities can do.
Guide for Individuals
Nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air. Air pollution is identified as the most important health issue of our time, causing 1 in 9 deaths globally and an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year. Apart from causing respiratory diseases, air pollution is a major cause of heart attacks, lung cancer and stroke in people. Air pollution also harms our natural environment, decreasing the oxygen supply in our oceans, making it harder for plants to grow and contributing to climate change. But the good news is that air pollution is preventable.
Solutions are known and can be implemented. The world needs to act now.
Air pollution impacts all of us and we all have a role to play to keep our air clean. The sources of air pollution are many but if we act now, we can work towards eliminating dangerous pollutants that are costing lives, driving climate change, and weakening our planet’s life systems every day.
Activities for everybody
- Plant trees
- Clean up trash
- Find ways to commute without polluting
- Widely share information on the importance of acting to combat air pollution
Click here to find out more about what individuals can do.