Air pollution is a silent but deadly killer. Air pollution is a pressing global challenge against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation, with an effective solution nowhere in sight. According to new research by Lancet Planetary Health, air pollution in urban areas across the globe contributed to 1.8 million excess deaths in 2019 and nearly two million cases of asthma amongst children worldwide. It remains one of the biggest and most immediate environmental threats to human health and has been linked to a range of adverse health effects, including cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer, neurological disorders, and birth conditions.

The effects of air pollution are not as simple as you may expect. Think about it like junk food, because both take a huge toll on our overall health. You wouldn’t think that the food you eat only affects your stomach, right? It affects our entire bodies. Well, so does the air that we breathe. It affects nearly every organ in our bodies, from our brains to our livers, from our hearts to our uteruses and everything in between. And the proof is in the pudding - an abundance of research has shown the link between this silent killer and a range of disorders you may not expect, including schizophrenia, depression, dementia, poor childhood cognitive development and miscarriages. And, although the new research by Lancet Planetary Health does recognise the 1.8 million yearly deaths in urban areas, it fails to mention the entirety of the problem - air pollution is killing a whopping 10 million people a year worldwide.

Well, what’s actually being done about air pollution? Well, not a right lot. Despite the fact that we breathe in 7 or 8 litres of air every single minute, despite the fact that over 90% of world's population is breathing in unsafe air and despite the fact there is more widespread awareness of the problem, very little is being done to actually solve it. Although there has been some progression with Clean Air Acts and more stringent emission standards, in the grand scheme of things, these are a bunch of breathless (no pun intended) actions and buzzwords that are not enough to inspire real change.

So, what even is air pollution? Well, here’s a little bite sized lesson on the science behind it. Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air—pollutants which are detrimental to human health and the planet as a whole. It’s essentially a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. These include nasty stuff like car emissions, chemicals from factories, dust, pollen and mold spores. Ozone, a gas, is a major part of air pollution in cities and when ozone forms air pollution, it's also called smog. Breathing in all that nasty stuff doesn’t sound very appealing, right?

Now that we’ve got that little science lesson out of the way, the big question is - what can you do to reduce air pollution? There’s tonnes of things you can do, but we’ve made a short and sweet little list for you to take on board this New Year:

  • Choose a cleaner commute - share a ride to work or use public transport
  • Conserve electricity at home, work and well, everywhere. For example, by switching your gadgets off once you’re finished with them
  • Organise and condense errands into one trip
  • Maintain your vehicle and keep the tires properly inflated
  • Travel lightly and remove any unnecessary items that may weigh down your vehicle
  • Recycle paper, plastic, metals and organic materials
  • Wash laundry in cold water and line dry
  • Choose products that use recycled materials
  • Plant a tree!
  • Print and photocopy on both sides of paper

The great thing is, now’s the perfect time to get on board with these; it’s January, so let’s get these ingrained into your New Year's resolutions.

‘Okay, that’s all well and good, but how do I stop breathing it all in?’ I hear you say. Ultimately, it’s going to take a huge collaborative effort for us to make a real difference to air quality, so for the foreseeable future you’re going to have to protect yourself. That’s where Masuku comes in - our founder Natalia Vodianova summed it up perfectly: ‘the air we breathe affects every organ and cell in our bodies. I sincerely hope, in the future, masks will not be needed. Until then, we want Masuku to be the most technological, sustainable option to breathe clean air, while respecting it.’

And that’s where we’re at today, we offer the most sustainable option out there for breathing in clean, safe air. Our filters are not only compostable (yes, you heard that right), but they also offer superior filtration efficiency. They’re made using a unique method of high-voltage electro-spinning, that creates a spider-web like fibre that shields the wearer from any harmful pathogens, pollutants or pollen. These spider-web like nano-fibres are hundreds of times smaller than those used to make the vast majority of face masks currently available and trap any harmful particles that a standard face mask may miss. This unique technology is how the Masuku One acts as a barrier against any nasty pollutants, such as Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Oxide and Sulfur Dioxide, that may be trying to make their way to your lungs.