On Wednesday 5th June it’s World Environment Day. It’s an annual event organised by the United Nations to encourage people around the world to get involved in protecting the environment.
Environmental issues are at the top of everyone’s agenda right now – from marine pollution and global warming to over-population and sustainable consumption. And the more we can do to raise awareness, the better.
Fighting air pollution
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is air pollution. It’s an issue that affects us all, in towns and cities around the world.
Air pollution can cause major implications on your health. 9 out of 10 people are exposed to air pollutants that exceed the World Health Organisation’s safe levels. As well as being harmful to health, air pollution also contributes to global warming.
So, how can we help to clean up the air we breathe?
Many governments are already doing their bit. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has implemented the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone to improve air quality. Chile’s Minister of Environment, Carolina Schmidt, has introduced a fleet of 200 electric buses in the capital Santiago. China has been investing in electric vehicles too, and now has the largest electric bus fleet in the world. But there’s still a long way to go.
What you can do
With some simple steps, we can start to lower levels of air pollution around the world. Here’s a few things we can all do:
- Turn lights off when you’re not in the room, and don’t leave your TV or other electronics on standby. This includes unplugging your phone charger when you’re not using it
- Check the efficiency ratings when you buy a new fridge, freezer, cooker or washing machine
- Walk, cycle or take public transport whenever you can. And if you do have to drive, how about car sharing?
- Next time you buy a new car, consider a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. Here’s some types of EV you can choose from
- Buy locally sourced, seasonal food, rather than something that’s been shipped half way round the world
- Reduce your carbon footprint by taking fewer foreign holidays. Try a staycation instead
- Insulate your home. It could save you money as well as the planet
We’re doing our bit, too
43% of our electricity already comes from environmentally-friendly sources – that’s higher than the UK average (correct as of August 2018). And we’re working on making that even better.
Elsewhere, we recently launched a tariff that’s specially designed for electric and plug-in hybrid car owners. We hope that by lowering overnight charging costs it will also be an extra incentive for our undecided customers to make the switch.
With London now an Ultra-Low Emission Zone, EV drivers don’t have to pay a congestion charge because electric cars have zero emissions. If the scheme sees a marked improvement in London’s air quality (and it’s likely to), expect more large towns and cities to follow on. And when you add to that a growing number of public charge stations and reduced number of petrol stations, it’s becoming an ever-easier, cheaper and more convenient way for us to improve our air quality.
Even if you don’t have an electric vehicle, you can also support our environment by choosing from a range of green energy tariffs which we offer in our portfolio.
We’ve been investing in renewable power for some time now. In fact, offshore wind farms are one of our biggest development areas. We’re also investing in biomethane or ‘green’ gas to reduce our carbon footprint and help our customers look after the planet.
World Environment Day is a chance for us to share inspiring stories about how people around the world are working to reduce air pollution. We hope they inspire you to get involved, too. You’ll find plenty of other environmentally-friendly ideas on our website.
Let’s all do our bit to clean up our air. Our children and future generations will thank us for it.