The Air and Your Health: How Harmful is the Air Pollution

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The problem on air pollution is starting to seriously affect the lives of many people in the world. Let us all work together to be able to prevent air pollution from totally ruining our lives.

Understanding the Current Situation

A recent United Nations report confirms our worst fears. Pollution of our air and water is rising to alarming levels, and with rising human activity, it is bound to get even worse. Smog in highly urbanized areas pose a threat to children and the elderly, and airborne substances have been shown time and again to possess cancer-causing agents.

Air pollution also causes a rise in respiratory illnesses that claim many lives each year. Moreover, this impairs the immune system of the rest of the population, causing more frequent bouts with diseases and leading to less productivity.

Air Pollutants

Common air pollutants include nitrogen dioxide and particulates. Emitted mainly by vehicles, nitrogen dioxide is associated with respiratory infections in children, especially asthmatics, and causes substantial damage to the respiratory system over time. It also sensitizes people, making them prone to asthma. Moreover, it is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

Particulates, on the other hand, increase the risk of dying from heart and lung-related diseases. They also cause increased hospitalizations for chronic obstructive diseases. They reduce lung function in children and increase the risk for respiratory symptoms.

How to Minimize Air Pollution

While legislative measures are important in regulating pollution, individuals can contribute immensely in improving the quality of the air they breathe. Adjustments in one’s lifestyle, when multiplied among hundreds and thousands of individuals, can make a dent in improving air quality. An important adjustment could be made by lessening the use of cars, or by cycling or walking instead, in order to accomplish simple tasks like going to the corner store. Carpools could be arranged among neighbors in bringing and fetching children to school and in traveling to the workplace. The use of mass transport, like the train system, is also encouraged in going from one place to another. You can use your car, and park it near the office, and use the mass transport when dining out.

Little sacrifices are expected of individuals in order to have better air to breathe. As someone says, quality air begets a quality life.