Change for a better tomorrow

Posted 10/09/2019 by E.ON

Plastic in our oceans, global warming and air pollution: these are some of today's very real global environmental concerns. Yet over the past five decades, there have been a host of victories won by environmental campaigners that have led to major changes in our day to day lives.

Environmental awareness came of age in the 1960s. By the 1970s, activists were already starting to make an impact on how we behave. Here are some of the harmful chemicals and products that have been banned since then in an effort to make our world a healthier place to live.

Protecting the ozone layer

When scientists realised how certain substances were causing the ozone layer to thin and even disappear, the world sat up and took notice. The ozone layer is Earth's protective shield that protects it from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.

By 1987, all 197 UN member states adopted the Montreal Protocol that regulated the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals. This is to date the only UN treaty ever that every country in the world has ratified. Thanks to this effort, the ozone layer is now healing.

Cleaner rain

Acid rain, caused by the burning of fossil fuels in power stations, was another major environmental concern in the 1980s. It occurs when harmful chemicals are released into the atmosphere and then fall back down to the ground, damaging lakes, rivers and soil.

To get a handle on the growing problem of acid rain, the UK put in place new policies, and as a result, waters in the UK are now recovering.

Lead eliminated

When cars came of age, lead was added to petrol to help improve engine performance. But decades later, researchers connected this dangerous chemical to brain damage, learning disorders and other harmful health problems in children. Petrol companies started slowly lowering lead levels and by 2000, the European Union banned the use of lead in petrol.

Goodbye asbestos

Asbestos is another product that was once used prolifically but is now banned. These tiny fibres were used as insulation, and in flooring and roofing. However, they got into people's lungs and caused cancer and other lung illnesses. The UK banned the use of asbestos once and for all in 1999.

We’re looking ahead to a better tomorrow

Though there have been many successes, it's clear that much still needs to be urgently done to protect our planet.

Recently, the UK became the first major economy in the world to set a legally binding target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

For our part, we provide our customers' homes with electricity backed by 100% renewable sources, including wind, biomass and solar. And we've spent decades investing in and developing renewable technologies, including offshore wind farms and solar panel technologies to power people's homes and businesses, and are now investing in infrastructure to support the uptake of electric cars too.

By making energy smart, sustainable and personalised, we believe we can continue to work towards a better tomorrow for all.

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