Solutions / Actions For Individuals

Actions For Individuals

Make a Difference

Communities play a powerful role in shifting how we contribute to air pollution at the individual level. By staying informed and shifting practices, we can help support the adoption of solutions that will help dramatically reduce air pollution over time.

Learn daily habits to stay healthy and reduce your contribution.


Reduce your contribution

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01 - Reduce your contribution Keeping our air safe can start with taking actions to limit our impact, many of which also promote physical activity and help save money.
  • Manage waste

    Minimize emissions from your waste–compost food and garden items, recycle non-organic trash if available, reuse grocery bags and dispose of remaining trash by local collection. Never burn trash as this contributes directly to air pollution.

  • Cook and heat clean

    Burning coal and biomass (e.g. wood) contributes to indoor air pollution when used for cooking and outdoor air pollution when used for heating. Check efficiency ratings for home heating systems and cookstoves to use models that save money and protect health.

  • Move mindfully

    Use public transportation, cycling or walking to get around. Consider low or no emission vehicles if a car is necessary. Diesel vehicles, particularly older ones, are large contributors of black carbon which are carcinogenic for health and damaging to our climate.

  • Conserve energy

    Turn off lights and electronics not in use. Use LED bulbs, if available, as a non-toxic alternative to CFLs, which contain mercury. Rooftop thermal solar systems may be an option for many to generate hot water affordably and photovoltaic systems can be a clean and healthy source of power.

  • Call for change

    Call on local leaders to adopt national air quality standards that meet WHO guidelines. Support policies that strengthen emissions standards and provide incentives for purchase of cleaner vehicles, low-energy appliances and energy-efficient housing.


Minimize exposure

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02 - Minimize exposure While reducing pollution is something we must tackle together, there are also ways to limit your exposure. Here are common examples of the guidance and tips that national health and environment authorities often provide.
  • Monitor your air

    Check local air pollution levels each day and be aware of guidance from city or national authorities, to determine whether to limit outdoor activity or avoid hotspots where air pollution levels may be elevated.

  • Time outdoor activity

    Shift regular outdoor activity away from times when air pollution levels are highest. In many cities, pollution peaks at late morning and early evening during rush hour traffic.

  • Know your surroundings

    There is considerable evidence that children and adults living, or spending considerable time near busy highways may be more vulnerable to certain air pollution-related ailments. More from the EPA

  • Avoid heavy traffic

    Avoid driving during peak times and keep windows closed while in traffic, as some research suggests that nearby exhaust can increase air pollution levels inside your car.

  • Assess your risk

    Determine with your doctor if any existing conditions make you more susceptible to air pollution so you can more effectively balance the risks and benefits of future exposure.

  • Use effective protection

    If a face mask is advised where you live, consult with credible sources to be sure it has a strong enough filter. Many face masks do not filter fine particulate matter (PM2.5 and under) which is among the most harmful.

Take Action

Let your city know that clean air matters to you.

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Cities across the world are taking steps to reduce air pollution.
Call on your leaders to become a BreatheLife city.

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Air Pollution in Your City

The WHO, UN Environment and CCAC are building a global database of air pollution data and its impacts on our health.