Wow. It’s hard to believe it’s already time for another holiday. It feels like we just celebrated Labor Day earlier this wee… oh, right. Labor Day was Monday. So, two holidays in one week! We don’t get to take off work for this one, though.
Today, September 7, 2023, is the fourth annual celebration of the International Clean Air for Blue Skies Day. The day of note was created by the United Nations in 2019 and first celebrated in the midst of the Covid lockdowns. To call it timely might be an understatement.
The global holiday was created to promote and facilitate actions to improve air quality. “It focuses on the transboundary nature of air pollution highlighting the need for collective accountability and collective action.” Essentially, the United Nations said that no one owns air – it goes where it wants, so we should all work together to keep it cleaner.
And not just for environmental reasons. We all know if we can’t breathe, we won’t survive for long. But even dirty air can be an issue. Air pollution causes reduced workforce productivity, work absences, premature deaths, and lower crop yields.
The United Nations asserts that 99% of the people on the planet breathe “unsafe air.” Being exposed to polluted air can lead to lung disease, cancer, strokes, and heart disease. It’s estimated that 6.7 million people per year die as a result of polluted air.
While we often think of major polluters like factories, vehicles, and industrial waste are to blame, researchers say the majority of issues and deaths come from much smaller factors. Black carbon, methane, and ground-level ozone are short-lived climate pollutants – eliminating or significantly reducing them will drastically improve many people’s lives – without forcing huge inconveniences.
That’s one of the main reasons for the International Clean Air for Blue Skies Day. This year’s theme of “Together for Clean Air” is intended to make people aware of the ways they can make even the smallest of changes that affect the global air supply.
Because it’s a global issue, the UN appointed day hopes to get everyone involved - from governments and corporations to local communities, civic organizations, and every individual.
For example, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) estimates that the UK could prevent 17,000 premature deaths each year and benefit by £1.6 billion annually if it met the World Health Organization guidelines for air pollution.
Another study in 2019 found that in India, reduced productivity, work absences, and premature deaths caused by air pollution cost the economy an estimated $95 billion – or 3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
There’s been a lot of talk about the United Nation’s 17 Sustainability Goals by 2030. It’s a huge undertaking, but the less needed to be spent on one area – like improving air quality – the more can be directed to tasks like eliminating hunger and making sure everyone has clean water.
It all begins with individual efforts. Even if you’re not ready to go full-vegan with a plant-based diet, there are many ways to make an impact and help improve air quality. For example, by prioritizing local food. The less distance your food has to travel, the less emissions and exhaust are pumped into the air – and the better the food usually is too.
Composting food waste, recycling, and reusing bags helps reduce your personal impact. Don’t burn your trash - and consider all of the trash you send to the curb – could some of what you throw away be reused if you donated it to a good cause?
Use public transportation if you can. Or even better, are you close enough to walk or ride a bicycle to your destination? You’re saving the planet and reducing your own personal bottom, er middle, line.
Turn off lights and electronics when you’re not using them. Invest in a smart thermostat, buy energy efficient appliances, and, if you can, utilize lower emission cooking and home heating technologies.
You can also do your part by not spraying chemical insecticides. For nearly 35 years, Good News Pest Solutions has worked to use the greenest, most effective pest solutions on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We are committed to never using harsh chemicals that could hurt your family, pets, or the environment. To learn more about our popular Go Green Perimeter Plus program, just give us a call!
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