Reducing and avoiding air pollution
Clearing the air is no easy task, but the important thing to remember is that any reduction in air pollution will lead to better health for all of us. There are simple things we can all do to protect ourselves and improve air quality. If we add everyone’s contribution together, we can make a big difference.
Try walking all or part of your journey
Car-drivers can be exposed to twice as much air pollution inside their car as pedestrians so by walking when you can, especially for short journeys, will help to reduce this. This will also help to boost your fitness levels and walking is good for your mental health too.
If you do need to drive, try parking further away from your destination so you can walk some of the journey.
Try taking public transport
Getting the bus or train can really help cut air pollution by reducing the number of cars on the road and it’s not as expensive as you might think either, especially when you compare it to the ever-rising fuel prices at the pumps. Remember every single time you leave the car at home you’re making a difference by doing your bit to help reduce pollution across Liverpool.
Choose quieter streets to walk
Taking a side street when walking through a city can cut your air pollution exposure by half. Remember it’s important to stay safe, particularly at night, so try to stick to well-lit areas.
Walk on the inside of the pavement
One of the easiest ways to reduce your exposure to air pollution is to try and walk on the side of the pavement away from the traffic. Air pollution levels can vary substantially even over small distances. Pollution levels next to a busy road can vary from the part of the pavement nearest to the traffic to the part of the pavement farthest away.
The school journey
Walking all or part of your journey to school with your children not only helps reduce exposure to air pollution, it also helps you both to be more active.
Walking more is great for everyone, especially children. It helps to keep them healthy, happy and sets them up for a busy day learning. Walking to school together also sets a good example for your children.
Many schools also have walk or cycle to school initiatives, so it’s a good idea to help support these whenever you can.
Park away from schools and nurseries
Turn off your engine when stationary or parked
Smoother driving can help reduce pollution
Making some small changes to the way you drive can have a significant impact on the amount of emissions you produce.
A good place to start is trying to drive more smoothly by avoiding unnecessary braking and acceleration (these things both increase the amount of fuel you use). Keeping a greater distance between yourself and the car in front can help with this, as it should reduce the amount of time you need to use the brake.
Another fuel-saving idea is trying to shift up earlier to a higher gear as driving at lower revs helps to reduce fuel consumption. All these changes add up, so if you can drive at a reasonable speed, keep your vehicle well maintained and make sure your tyre pressures are right, then you really can make a difference to yourself and the air we breathe.
If you’d like to find out more about how the way you drive can reduce air pollution visit: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/transport-travel/driving-advice
If you’re buying a car, think about a less polluting model
Changing cars can be a great opportunity to choose a more economical vehicle that can reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel and the amount of pollution you create.
When you’re looking at cars, be sure to look at which ones produce less emissions. A good example of this would be choosing petrol car over a diesel, as petrol vehicles produce less emissions.
It’s also worth having a look at low-emission cars like electric, plug-in hybrid or LPG. These cars are the future and are rapidly becoming much more affordable, as prices are coming down, a number of grants are available and their running costs are lower. Find out more here: https://www.goultralow.com/choosing/electric-car-selector/
Be careful about how you choose to heat your home
You might not realise it, but burning wood and other solid fuels can produce a lot of harmful air pollution.
Open fireplaces are the most polluting, and as Liverpool is a Smoke Control Area, it’s illegal to burn wood or basic coal in an open fireplace. Instead of this, you should only burn smokeless fuels, (like anthracite). It’s important to remember that not all fuels sold in Liverpool are smokeless. So if you’re not sure, ask your supplier.
Using a stove instead of an open fireplace can make a big difference, but you need to make sure that it meets the legal requirements. As a minimum it should be approved by Defra so ask your supplier to make sure.
Stoves are becoming cleaner and the most efficient are marked with an Ecodesign Ready label. Keep an eye out for this as even some Defra-approved stoves can emit high levels of pollution. A list of Ecodesign Ready stoves can be found here: https://www.hetas.co.uk/ecodesign-ready/
Maintaining your stove or fireplace, sweeping your chimney and using the right fuel can make a huge difference to our air quality. It’s important to make sure that wood is dry and well-seasoned (lower moisture content) to prevent nuisance smoke. Using dry wood significantly reduces harmful emissions and it produces more heat. Storing your fuels correctly can help with this, make sure your wood does not get damp from the rain or damp in the ground.
You should not burn the following; old pallets, furniture and scrap wood, as they may contain contaminants that can be harmful to your health and the environment. You can’t burn basic coal on any Defra appliance and you must only use the types of fuel stated by the manufacturer. https://www.gov.uk/smoke-control-area-rules