It is everywhere – the air we breath and the pollutants we put into it. Some emissions harm us, such as the particulates PM10 and PM2.5, which in high concentrations are can cause respiratory health problems. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the world’s single biggest environmental health risk. Others harm the environment, such as sulphuric dioxide, which can degrade ecosystems and bodies of water. The most talked about pollutants – the greenhouse gases – can heat up the air, the sea and everything inbetween.
National Clean Air Day aims to underline some of these issues and encourage people to make small changes to reduce air pollution. Co-ordinated by the charity Global Action Plan, there will be events in cities all over the UK throughout the week. It has also developed a Virtual Reality experience featuring a spot-the-pollution game as well as film of a journey showing emissions through the eyes of a small child – a population group that is among the most vulnerable of all to air pollution.
The July 2017 issue of Geographical will feature a special ten-page Dossier on the state of the air in cities, both in the UK and throughout Europe. Until then, catch yourself up on some of our recent pollution stories:
As Paris continues to combat its severe air pollution problem, the compulsory displaying of car pollution certificates may be just the ticket
They have been in place for nearly a decade, but Mexico City’s Saturday driving restrictions have had negligible impacts on solving the megacity’s air pollution crisis
New 3D maps reveal the extent of a near-invisible threat: microscopic pollutants
Developed countries are exporting unfair proportions of greenhouse gases to vulnerable, less-developed countries
Our climate expert Marco Magrini looks at our oil dependency
Chile aims to help meet its climate commitments by getting the Santiago Metro system to run mainly on renewable energy