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FEATURE STORY: Pollution Emissions, Everybody's Business
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Pollution Emissions, Everybody's Business

By Lorena Carey

Pollution is the dispersal of harmful substances released into air, water or land. Pollution has a huge impact on global warming, natural habitats, fragile ecosystems, water we drink and even the air that we breathe, thus causing disastrous consequences for the earth and all its inhabitants.

BT 201612 feature story 01The image represents air quality, the more developed world has much higher levels of air pollution, world 2016

The world around us is changing rapidly. People are often overly concerned with their own lives and the intricacy of day to day tasks, not particularly worried about their own carbon footprint. Finance, relationships and family are all exceptionally important to everyone, but reducing your carbon footprint saves you money and helps to improve the lives of you and your loved ones.

The truth is pollution emissions effect everyone. It is not just the government's responsibility to reduce pollution emissions. Globally this concerns everyone - just by taking small steps towards reducing your own output, you could improve our living environment dramatically.

Humans as a race, use up a huge amount of resources unlike any other mammal on this planet. The definition of consume means to purge and devour, whether it is food, fuel or goods. As humans, we are huge consumers. By this I mean we buy and use up everything - the newest technology, the newest clothes, bags, shoes, food, fuel the list goes on and on.

 BT 201612 feature story 02 hybrid cars cause pollution 496672431

Do we need all this new stuff?

There are so many people that buy a product such as a dress and never wear it, or wear it only once. We were compelled to purchase this Item, and yet it has no use or function. It was a spontaneous purchase that led to yet another item going into the landfill eventually. I'm not saying do not buy that new dress for family party you're going to, what I'm saying is make sure it truly has function. And that goes for everything you consume.

Advertising is everywhere, making our decisions for us, telling us what to think and what to need. We need to train ourselves to distinguish between wants and needs and begin making our own decisions. This little tip will firstly grow our finances and mark the beginning to reduce the carbon footprint.

Graph depicting the growth of consumerism of urban households in Shanghai few years ago Is as follows -

BT 201612 Feature story 03What is recycling and why should we do it?

Recycling means re-using goods that we now consider useless and making our waste products viable again. Yes, recycling is a huge step towards reducing your own personal emissions. Ask yourself - can It be recycled? Can I use it again? If the answer is yes, well do it, take it to the recycling plant or re use it again. Food packaging is often good for re-using, freezing excess food or as storage for other products.

Get crafty, you can make many things with your recycled goods. I often melt my old soap bars together and make new bars and it is relatively easy to do. There are a number of online ideas on what to do with your old products.

Sell Sell Sell

Sell your old stuff if you're not crafty, someone may be able to use it. The age old saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure holds true here. Make some money whilst reducing your carbon emissions.


There are many families that are in need of economic help right now, so why not give away your landfill bound clothes, shoes and electronics to someone who may need them? Or how about donating them to a charitable organisation that can distribute them for you?

Walk this way

Save fuel. Yes, this is another big step. Walk, run or cycle instead of using cars for short journeys, thus getting the heart pumping and making you feel healthier whilst breathing this cleaner air that we are beginning to create. If you need to use the car for work or school, consider carpooling. Carpooling is better for the environment as four people in one car creates far fewer emissions than four people taking four cars. It is also a bonus that it will reduce congestion on the roads and save money. If this is not an option buy a lower emission car.

BT 201612 Feature story 04Global Co2 Emissions (oica, 2016)

It should go without saying that you must turn your heating off when it's not needed and if it's starting to feel cold, put another layer in the first instance. Central heating creates warmth where bacteria spread more easily and this is one of the reasons office workers catch airborne germs more often than those who work outdoors. If you do need to use your heating have it at the lowest temperature needed to warm up and for the shortest duration. It is the same with air-conditioning, meaning if it's not needed don't use it.

Turn appliances off when you are not using them since leaving them on standby still uses energy. (You wouldn't leave your car lights on as you would fear them draining the battery) Consider your appliances to be doing the same.

As you can see, these small changes in your life will lessen the landfill, reduce your own carbon footprint as well as save you money and help keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy. Think about the goods that you are buying. Do you need them? Do they have a function? Recycle your waste, start re-using, selling and donating to the less fortunate and reduce your energy consumption. Try walking, cycling, carpooling and make sure to turn off appliances when not in use.

There are no disadvantages to reducing your own personal pollution emissions. There is only health, wealth and happiness, leaving you to look after the intricacies of your day to day life just as you were doing before.

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