One of the best ways to prevent air pollution is to drive an electric vehicle for short errands and commutes around town. If you can take a train or bus, that works too. If you walk or bicycle, you can get exercise at the same time.
If you do need to drive, please keep the following in mind:
Over one half of car trips in the USA are less than 5 miles. Yet, 82% of these trips are made by personal motor vehicle. The situation is similar in other industrial countries, especially where urban crawl to urban sprawl rules.
Every EV in production today can cover a 5-mile one way range. Thus, it appears that most of the car trips in many industrialized countries could be made with electric vehicles. This idea will likely find opposition from oil conglomerates.
However, since these short trips are responsible for a lot of air pollution, finding a better way to make these short trips could be one of the big ways to prevent air pollution.
While it is true that the electricity used to power the electric vehicle might well come from a coal powered generator, there is the alternative to generate power from other sources. With the internal combustion engine, there is no choice. If you drive one, you will be putting about 20 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere for every gallon of fuel burned.
The good news is that cleaning the air is simple compared to the math. The decision to drive a gas burner is a personal one. There are alternatives. It is not just up to government, the corporations, or other people. It is up to individuals to fix the air. It is not complicated. It starts with an understanding, and then doing something.
If you care about the air: walk, bike, take the bus, or drive an electric vehicle on those short trips at least part of the time. You might also think about just parking the car or truck once a week at least for a No Driving Day. If everybody simply did that, the CO2 and other pollutants would instantly go down by 16%.