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Bywaters’ website editor, Max Adams, writes about today’s World Environment Day and what we can all do to live more sustainable lives.

The Importance of Fighting Air Pollution

92% of the world’s population do not breathe clean air.

This is just one of many concerning facts about our planet’s environment, and it is why World Environment Day 2019 is themed around ‘Air Pollution’.

Today China is hosting a day for people to come together and consider how we can improve the air we breathe, and – with 7 million people worldwide dying prematurely each year – save millions of lives.

World Environment Day is an annual event organised by the UN designed to raise awareness of emerging environmental issues. It is celebrated every year on June 5th, with the first ever World Environment Day being held in 1974.

Each year a specific country hosts the day and focuses efforts around a specific issue. Last year saw India present the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ – a cause Bywaters is strongly committed to – and in 2019 China are now turning attention to cleaning up the air that we breathe.

Events Being Held for World Environment Day 2019

For this year’s World Environment Day themed around ‘Air Pollution’, people around the world are being encouraged to take pledges and contribute to positive actions to take care of Earth’s air.

A big success story today is that 9 new governments have signed up to the BreatheLife campaign, which is committed to bringing global air quality to safe levels by 2030. They aim to achieve this by committing to a variety of actions, such as:

  • Improving public transport
  • Enhancing waste management and recycling services
  • Improving existing fuel and vehicle standards
  • Running public awareness campaigns about air pollution

BreatheLife now has committed members in 63 cities, regions, and countries across the world. This is enabling them to improve the air quality for over 271.4 million people, and the extra awareness raised today will hopefully see that number continue to rise.

What Can I Do?

Helping ensure the world has breathable air isn’t something to be left solely to international governments and corporations; there are many small things that individuals can do to make a difference this World Environment Day and beyond.

If you want to lower the impact that your lifestyle has on your environment, then you could consider:

  • Reducing the amount of meat and dairy you consume in order to cut methane emissions from agriculture
  • Composting organic food items and recycling your waste more efficiently to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill
  • Reduce the amount of packaging you use, reusing items wherever possible
  • Using public transport, or even better cycling/walking if you are able to complete your journey this way
  • Switching to more sustainable sources for heating your house and investing in insulation and double glazing to reduce energy consumption
  • Turning off lights and electronics when not in use
  • Switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle if possible to reduce pollution associated with your car’s exhaust fumes

Even by incorporating just one of these suggestions into your life, you’ll be helping make a positive effect on the air quality where you live.

Bywaters’ Efforts to Reduce Air Pollution in London

Bywaters is passionate about combating air pollution, specifically in London where we have been operating waste management services for over 60 years.

In the past few years, we have upgraded our fleet to use electric and hybrid vehicles, installed London’s largest solar panel retrofit on top of our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Bow, and we now transfer all non-recyclable waste to Energy-from-Waste facilities via barge along London’s waterways, with no waste sent direct to landfill.

This World Environment Day, we are doubling down on our efforts, and making sure that everything we do is consistent with our ‘London for London’ philosophy – ensuring we provide the most sustainable services possible to the nation’s capital.


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