World Environment Day: Eleven ways to get involved

World Environment Day: Eleven ways to get involved

Here is how you can reduce air pollution and save the environment, while also benefiting the health of those around you.

Female commuter wearing mask
Female commuter wearing mask/ iStock

June 5 is World Environment Day. This year's theme is 'Air Pollution'.

Air pollution is a serious global problem. Inhaling polluted air over a long period of time can result in lung diseases, asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. According to, air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths globally, and an estimated seven-million premature deaths every year.

READ: Air pollution kills 600,000 children each year: WHO

Air pollution is also bad for the environment. It causes climate change, decreases the oxygen supply in oceans, and makes it harder for plants to grow. 

What causes air pollution? 

There are several gases and things that cause air pollution. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline) to produce electricity and power vehicles causes air pollution. reports that humans cause air pollution through the use of electricity, fuels, and transportation, and when we buy goods and services that use energy in their production and delivery.

READ: SA coal belt among world's pollution hotspots: Greenpeace

How best can we prevent air pollution? 

The good news is that air pollution can be prevented. 

The following guide is taken from on what individuals can do to prevent air pollution. 

- Use public transport or car sharing, cycle or walk

- Switch to a hybrid or electric vehicle and request electric taxis

- Turn off the car engine when stationary

- Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy to help cut methane emissions

- Compost organic food items and recycle non-organic trash

- Switch to high-efficiency home heating systems and equipment

- Save energy: turn off lights and electronics when not in use 

- Choose non-toxic paints and furnishings

- Plant trees

- Clean up trash 

- Find ways to commute without polluting

So what are you going to do to help this World Environment Day?

Image courtesy of iStock/ diego_cervo

READ: Air pollution linked to higher risk of dementia: study

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