The Clear Skies of the Future – One City at a Time
The air we breathe is getting more polluted by the day, yet meaningful change is within reach. Tackling the challenge of air pollution is a top priority for societies across the globe and mitigation strategies are already in place. By involving all the responsible stakeholders, we can move a step closer to the clear skies of the future that the generations of tomorrow deserve.
The Silent and Invisible Killer
Air pollution is responsible for countless deaths across the globe and a broad spectrum of life-threatening and debilitating diseases. Small particulate matter invisible to the naked eye can still cause irreparable damage as it travels deep into our lungs. The recent spike in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as lung cancer can be attributed to outdoor air pollution. Millions of people die prematurely every year and no demographic or age group is immune to this silent killer.
Low income communities are more impacted, but pollution is an equally serious threat to people living in residential areas. Improving air quality is an issue of utmost urgency and one that can be achieved by adhering to systemic efficiency goals. Cutting down on the industrial, power sector and transportation emissions by embracing a green recovery plan is the top priority. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, air pollution is quickly returning to the pre pandemic levels, but the trend is not irreversible.
Businesses can Lead the Way
When it comes to air pollution, we are at a crossroads, with current and projected levels being unacceptably high. The good news is that there is strong public support to embrace green technologies that can mitigate its terrible effects. Industries and businesses are responsible for activities that cause emissions, but they are well-positioned to make amends and can seize the opportunity. Today, they have the resources, financial means and the incentive to lower pollution without affecting their businesses.
Addressing a problem before it becomes an emergency is the true test of leadership. Quantifying air pollution is the first and most important step that businesses can do to tackle the threat of air pollution. Simultaneously, industries can cultivate corporate social responsibility and collect data to develop accurate emission inventories. Once the main sources of pollution related to their own activities are identified, concrete action can be taken to mitigate its effects.
A partnership between the public and private sector can lead to more effective awareness campaigns.
These will help communicate the levels of emission for each adopting business, in a transparent and easy to understand way. This will provide the impetus to create programs that mitigate pollution caused by their own activities. It will also provide the general audience with the opportunity to learn about the commitment of such businesses to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.
A Joint Venture for the Benefit of All
The private sector can spearhead the offensive against air pollution and lead by example. Businesses that have long been accused of damaging the environment can champion this cause and completely alter public perception. The sheer complexity and scale of this challenge will require the support and constant involvement of government and public sectors. Setting up the proper channels of communication for a sustained public/private dialogue is needed to maximize the success of such initiatives.
If stakeholders from public and private sectors join forces to share information and best practice facts, effective partnerships can be developed. Switching to renewables for supply chains and operations will bring us a step closer to the ambitious goal of achieving zero emissions. The clear skies of the future are within our reach, but the success of this grand mission is contingent to immediate and sustained actions.