Improving air quality in urban areas involves many strategies from new technology to conservation. Efficient public transit systems reduce vehicle pollution, while improved insulation reduces fuel and electricity demand. Another strategy that has been remarkably effective in many cities is the simple act of planting trees, which has reduced pollution by as much as a quarter in some cities.
Urban areas have poor air quality as a result of several factors related to population density. Lots of people means lots of cars, lots of pollution, lots of waste, and difficulty reducing these problems because there are simply more people than in suburban areas. When we look to maintain air quality in urban areas, here are some really general things we can do:
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In urban settings, transportation is a huge source of air pollutants. Improving public transportation to make it more energy efficient (less fuel consumption, hybrid buses, etc.) will lower emissions. Also making routes more convenient and public buses/trains easy to use will encourage people to take public transport, rather than driving their own vehicles. NYC’s plan to improve air quality includes: improving fuel efficiency of private cars with tax incentives, reducing emissions from taxis and for-hire cars, improving public transportation, decreasing school bus emissions, promoting cleaner burning heating fuels and more.
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