Unilever logo
Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: www.sacoronavirus.co.za.

Care for your air: 10 ways to reduce pollution

The solution to air pollution is in everyone’s hands. Learn how to protect the environment from pollution in 10 easy steps.


10 ways to reduce pollution: silver extractor fan in teal ceiling

Air pollution is an increasing threat to our wellbeing, especially in cities. However, there are things we can all do to limit the amount of pollution we produce and minimise our carbon footprint. If you’re looking for ways to protect the environment from pollution, then there are lots of different things you can try, including our 10 ways to reduce pollution ahead.

Walking a part of your commute to work each day is one of the many great ways to protect the environment from pollution.

What is air pollution?

If you want to prevent air pollution, then it’s important to be clear before you start on what it actually is. Air pollution is generally defined as the presence in the atmosphere of substances which are (potentially) harmful to health.

What causes air pollution?

The following can all be causes of air pollution:

  • Factories and industrial outputs.
  • Transport emissions – buses, cars, trucks, planes etc.
  • Individual smoking – this also includes vaping and shisha pipes.
  • Agricultural activities – farming can release ammonia from insecticides, pesticides and fertilisers.
  • Mining operations – when minerals are extracted from the earth, dust and chemicals are released into the air.
  • Domestic pollutions – due to paints, cleaning products, building resources and similar.

What are the effects of air pollution?

Air pollution can have impacts both on our environment and on our health.

Health impacts

The two main health impacts of air pollution are respiratory disorders and heart diseases. In fact, the World Health Organisation claims an estimated 4.2 million deaths occurring prematurely each year are linked to air pollution via conditions such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory infections.

Environmental impacts

Climate change can be impacted by air pollution, as carbon dioxide is a common output of pollutants. This pollution can also lead to an unpleasant atmospheric effect known as acid rain, where the pH of rainwater is turned acidic by the pollutants. The combination of these factors can then have a negative impact on wildlife.

How to protect the environment from pollution: 10 ways to reduce pollution

Once you know the effects, you’ll be much more motivated to find out how to save our environment from pollution. Here are 10 straightforward ways to protect the environment from pollution:

  1. Don’t smoke indoors – or quit altogether if you can.
  2. Keep lots of plants around the house – particularly those know for cleaning the air.
  3. Monitor pollutants in your own home and tackle them with an air filter.
  4. Avoid using lots of harsh chemicals when cleaning.
  5. Walk or use public transport instead of driving.
  6. Use a suction fan to remove cooking fumes from your kitchen.
  7. Avoid paving over your garden – keep things green as much as possible.
  8. Conserve energy – turn off lights and electric appliances when not in use.
  9. Eat locally-sourced food to prevent your meals travelling miles to get to you.
  10. Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full to save energy and water.

Now that you know how to save the environment from pollution, you can start making these differences in your own life. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do everything at once! Remember: this is about taking small sustainable steps to help you do your bit and keep the air cleaner for everyone.

  • Eat locally produced food that's in season to reduce the distance your food has to travel.
  • Walk, cycle or use public transport whenever possible.
  • Fill your house with plants and conserve energy in the home.
  • Originally published