Friday, April 19, 2024

Breathing Clean Air, A Necessity Not a Luxury.

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June 5th! How many of us know the importance of this date? It is World Environment Day. The day designated for us to celebrate our environment. It provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment. Since its inception in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

Humans are both creatures and moulders of their environment. This gives them physical sustenance and affords them the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. In the long and tortuous evolution of the human race on this planet. A stage has been reached when, through the rapid acceleration of science and technology, humans have acquired the power to transform their environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale.

We are only focused on raising buildings and bridges but not trees. Despite the fact that the trees are the soul of the oxygen we breathe, we do not bother Why? Why such an act of negligence towards our planet and ourselves?

Is man destroying the environment?

You have probably caught wind of the devastating state of the environment and mankind does not seem to be doing too much by way of creating a sustainable planet. We are burning too much coal. When that coal is burned, greenhouse gas emissions are released into the atmosphere. This begins to eat away the ozone layer- the precious resource which stops us from frying in the sun- and chips away at the potential longevity of livable Earth. From the preventable oil spills, drinking water contaminations, chemical explosions to the disappearing bodies of water in the mix and you have got one declining environment. What could possibly make such a fate worse? It was all the artwork of human hands.

So how long does Earth have left? Have humans caused irreparable damage or can we still salvage what is left for future generations? Perhaps most importantly, what lessons can we learn from the mistakes of the past? Probably we can revert the history of negligence, apathy toward safety, fatal mechanical malfunctions and devaluation of the environment at the helm of our world’s biggest unnatural disasters.

Air pollution accounts to more than 7 Million deaths worldwide every year due to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. photo courtesy TechCircle

This years’ 2019 World Environment Day theme focuses on our need to mitigate air pollution. With the hashtag #BeatAirPollution, we are all called upon to take action. To come together as a community to explore renewable energy and green technologies that improve our air quality in cities and regions across the world.

Energy production is the leading source of air pollution. Coal-driven power plants are a major contributor while diesel generators are a growing concern in off-grid areas. Industrial processes and solvent use in the chemical and mining industry also pollute the air.

Nobody is safe from air pollution. From the young to the old generation, we all are victims when the air we breathe is contaminated. According to the WHO report, approximately 4.2 million deaths occur every year as a result of exposure to ambient air pollution. Out of 193 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, 97 have an increased percentage of households that have access to cleaner burning fuels to over 85 percent. However, 3 billion people continue to use solid fuels and open fires for cooking, heating and lighting which are major causes of air pollution.

Air pollution is a global emergency affecting everyone. 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. The adoption of cleaner and sustainable energy sources can reduce their risks and save thousands of lives. This costs the global economy $ 5 trillion every year in welfare costs.

We cannot stop breathing, but we can do something about the quality of our air. This year’s World Environment Day has provided us with an opportunity to combat air pollution around the world. Make it a habit to live sustainably. Be a green champion. From cycling or walking to work to recycling non-organic trash, to improving green spaces in our cities by planting a tree to not wasting food.

Life is dependent on breathing. Breathing clean air is therefore not a luxury. It is a necessity. Do not kill yourself by allowing you to breathe contaminated air. Let us all beat air pollution for a sustainable world and green future.

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