We’re all environmentalists now. No more plastic straws or single-use water bottles. Less meat, more veg. Reduce, re-use, recycle. And everyone has a compost heap or at least a bokashi bucket. It’s highly fashionable to be seen out on a bike. We’ve ditched our fuel-guzzling SUVs for a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. And yet, it still doesn’t seem enough.

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Rivers are choked with waste, beaches covered in discarded plastic, our land and ocean environments are dying at an alarming rate. Statistically, nine out of ten people breathe polluted air every day. Seven million people die annually from air-pollution-related causes, including lung cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, and dementia. According to the 2018 World Air Quality Report, cities most affected by poor air quality are Delhi, Dhaka, Kabul, Manama and Ulaanbaatar. It’s easy to blame governments, industries, transport and agriculture for their wastefulness and inaction, but ultimately they supply to our demand. Real change comes when humans work together and find new ways to live harmoniously with our earth.

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Since 1974, World Environment Day has served as the United Nation’s focal event for boosting awareness and action for the safeguarding of our natural environment. The host nation for World Environment Day 2019 is China. The theme, quite appropriately, is Air Pollution.   From now through to #WorldEnvironmentDay on June 5, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is encouraging everyone to join the Mask Challenge. Apart from wearing a mask to demonstrate our desire for clean air, we can all commit to reducing air pollution by making small but significant changes to our lifestyle.

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Join your fave celebs and make use of public transport when possible, reduce your meat and dairy consumption, switch to energy saving systems at home and in the office. Challenge your friends to take action too by posting your masked-selfie with #WorldEnvironmentDay and #BeatAirPollution in your posts. Don’t forget to tag @UNEnvironment.

On the 5th of June, post another photo or video showing the world how you have kept your promise to protect our beautiful earth. Tag @OceanBlueMagazine on @Facebook, YouTube and Insta, or OceanBlueMag on Twitter so we can cheer you on.