Taking a look into statistics can give you goosebumps – even if the air seems fine at first glance, there are often particles in it that you would most likely prefer to avoid breathing in. Is it possible to protect yourself against it? How to do this?
Living in the city is tied to certain risks – from the high-stress level resulting from the fast pace of life up to inhaling polluted air that can cause multiple health consequences, especially if you live with such conditions as asthma. In most cases, air pollution doesn’t bother us until it doesn’t get smelly or visible, causing the smog. However, even if these situations don’t occur, the pollution is present in big agglomerations, and it is worth protecting yourself from it.
The anti-pollution leadership – what can the city do?
Various initiatives support spreading the information and educate the inhabitants of urban spaces on how to verify the pollution level and what to do to protect themselves. Cracov, one of the most emblematic Polish cities, can be an example. The Cracovian agglomeration is known in the country not only for its undeniable beauty but also for the smog problem. The city’s geographic location plays a big part in it, but so do the customs related to heating the households and the politics related to energy management.
As the Cracovians were becoming more and more ecologically conscious, some have decided to start actively acting against the smog by informing the inhabitants about the air pollution level, detecting illegal burning of litter, and educating young generations. Some initiatives, like Krakowski Alarm Smogowy (Cracovian Smog Alarm), have gained country-level recognition and followers in other cities. The region, as first in Poland, has banned the grants on coal heating devices, clearing the way for the ones that use renewable resources, such as photovoltaic panels.
Air pollution – how to protect yourself?
Aiming to reduce the air pollution level in the city should be the principle of the people in charge of it – politicians and city councilmen. However, even if they do take steps to make the air quality level, it is worth paying attention to personal measures. No one can protect yourself better than you!
You can fight even with an invisible enemy, outside of the smog season. Check what you can do for yourself and others.
#1 Check the pollution levels using an air pollution map
There are interactive maps available online – for example Airly.org – that show real-time air pollution levels at various points all over the country and outside of it. By using an app, you can daily monitor the level of pollution in your city. It will help you figure out whether to wear the mask and if to do outside sports the particular day.
#2 Protect yourself at home
Your apartment may seem a safe space, but in reality, it most likely is not. The houses and blocks of flats are not air-tight – the air enters through ventilation and gaps near the windows and door. Make sure that you fill your space with green plants with a strong ability to detoxicate the air and use the air purifier.
#3 Protect yourself while on the road
A lot of studies have shown that we spend an average of 3.5 years of our lifetime driving or in traffic in general, which may seem like a lot, but it’s true. We should not ignore this info because the time spent in the car also affects our health. When we drive, and especially when there is heavy traffic, a large amount of pollutants gets inside of our vehicle. In order to prevent or at least reduce this, it is necessary to install in-car air purifiers, which will help reduce the amount of harmful air because a regular car filter cannot effectively remove toxic gases emitted by traffic. Along with that, avoiding air fresheners and keeping our car interior clean will also help for breathing pure and clean air.
#4 Choose the right mask (and don’t be afraid to wear it)
When the smog alarm appears, the city council usually advises staying at home when possible. However, it is not always the case. If you have to go out when the air pollution hits, make sure you are wearing the right mask with the changeable filter, but which one to choose?
Modern masks with new technology
Like almost everything in life, the development of the industry has a positive and a negative side. So, on the one hand, although air pollution is something that threatens our health, on the other hand, modern technology brings us a solution. Namely, as the vast majority of experts in this field claim, modern nano masks are the best solution to the problem of polluted air. These masks successfully retain particles and reduce exposure to air pollution, which contributes to the overall quality of our life and health. All this is especially important today because they not only filter the finest PM 2.5 particles, which are also the most harmful because they reach the most remote parts of the body but also protect from the COVID-19 virus.
As for PM 2.5 particles and why they pose the greatest danger, it is because they are so small (equal to 3 percent of a human hair in diameter) that we can very easily inhale them and bring them into our body. There is a strong association of these particles with an increased number of various cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases. Because of everything mentioned, the preferred mask, by experts, is the one marked N95 or higher. Only those masks can filter fine and harmful particles in the air.
We all heard about nanotechnology, but what about nanosilver? It is a nanomaterial used for many purposes, and today, also for masks. This new material could change everything, and it is already proven against bacteria and viruses.
Now more than ever, we understand and know just how much we are polluting this planet, and while we are slowly adapting, a good thing to know is that there is something that we can all do for our well-being right now. Masks, air purifiers, and, of course, green plants will improve not only our health but our life overall.