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World Environment Day 2019: How to make our cities more resilient and sustainable

Responsible Business | Jun 05, 2019

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“It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live.” – Dalai Lama

World Environment Day is held annually on 5th June. This year the theme for World Environment Day, June 5, is #BeatAirPollution. The day looks to encourage everyone to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce.

Below you will find a list of 5 innovative ideas that will reduce air pollution in cities:

1. Turning footsteps into electricity

Photo credit: Pexels

Every day, across cities, millions of people are performing the straightforward task of moving from point A to point B.

Now these steps can do much more than just move pedestrians – they can also become valuable electricity. The technology used to achieve this is a multifunctional custom flooring system. As people step on the tiles, their weight causes electromagnetic induction generators to vertically displace, which results in a rotatory motion that generates off-grid electricity. Using this method, a single footstep can generate enough power to light an LED lightbulb for roughly 20 seconds. Bluetooth technology inside of the walkway can also connect to mobile apps so people can keep track of how much energy they’ve generated.

2. Switch from car culture to public transport

Photo credit: Pexels

Vancouver has seen a 6% reduction in its carbon emissions since 1990, despite a nearly 30% growth in population and an 18% growth in jobs.

The shift away from a car-centered culture to more public transit use is one reason the city also has some of the cleanest air in the world.

3. Combating urban pollution with green tech

Photo credit: Pexels

Every day 90 per cent of cities’ inhabitants breathe polluted air which causes every 7th death worldwide.

The CityTree is a new technology, set up by Green City Solutions, that cleans the air, while occupying just 1% of the space that would be needed using the 275 real trees it replaces. Its moss-culture technology scrubs pollution from city street air where air flow is poor and pollution is heavy. Powered by solar panels, the living structure also collects rainwater and automatically redistributes it using an inbuilt irrigation system. Using Internet of Things technology, it is able to measure and maintain its own performance and the plants’ requirements.

4. Moving from linear economy to circular economy

Photo credit: Pixabay

Oslo is already considered a global front runner with its circular based waste management system. All waste produced in the city becomes raw material either in the production of new products such as new plastic products, bio methane, bio fertilizer or as heat and electrical power. Moreover, biogas produced from bio-waste and city sewage is used to power Oslo’s buses and waste trucks.

5. Powering the future through cogeneration

Over 65 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa are living without electricity.

As a process for producing both heat and power, cogeneration is one of the cleaner and most affordable options available, achieving high efficiency by using one fuel to generate two types of energy. By lowering waste, cogeneration plants generally convert 75-80% of the fuel source into useable energy, in comparison with current systems which only convert about 45%. Innovative software with smart controls and algorithms can take advantage of A.I integration, allowing us to integrate with renewable energy resources and bring cogeneration into the next wave of sustainable infrastructure.

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