The effects of human activities are endangering the natural environment at an alarming rate, and even worse to the future generation. No one can deny the fact that our environment is changing yearly, but we observe those changes with greater impact after decades. There are so many diseases caused by air pollution and thousands of studies, researches have been conducted to evaluate those environmental problems like climate change, air pollution, global warming, extinction of species, etc while considering the correlation of the natural factors with human actions that can be possibly considered as a reason for those changes.
Many people may be unaware of these phenomena’s and there is a need to start awareness of environmental challenges because it has a huge impact on human health and human life. Nowadays, air pollution is one of the great challenges for us and there are severe effects of air pollution on human health.
What are the major effects of air contamination on human health?
Air pollution can be categorized into two main categories, indoor and outdoor air pollution. Both indoor and outdoor air pollution has huge environmental health issues that can affect human health in developing countries as well as in developed countries.
Population growth with 1.13 percent per year that is 80 million crowds annually, contributes to dirty emissions to generate food, transportation services, and other means that spoil air quality. Almost 92 percent of the world population lives with a huge risk of health due to worse air quality. Indoor air pollution from home cooking, lighting, and heating kills 4 million people per year, where most of them are recorded from countries in Asia and Africa.
The proportion of affected women and children from indoor air pollution is higher than a man because most of the time women and children remain inside in homes. Approximately, 650 cities worldwide have worse air pollution that has a catastrophic health impact.
Air pollution is invisible that is why most people cannot give importance to it, but it damages human health slowly. There are several facts of air pollution having important information about the effects of air pollution on human health which can be known to everyone.
Ambient air pollution annually kills 7 million people due to bad air quality according to the estimation of the World Health Organization. There are several diseases caused by air pollution. One-third of the deaths from lung cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory problems are due to air pollution.
Air contamination is the presence of major toxic pollutants the air is emitted from fossil fuel burning, smoke from the industrial zones and factory’s chimneys, carbon dioxide emission from the massive moment of vehicles, and fertilizers used for agriculture purposes, etc. here some of the pollutants that can pollute air quality.
World health organization (WHO) issues guidelines of safe air quality for health and tools to measure air quality. The air quality index (AQI) starts from 0 to 500 and AQI below 100 is a moderate air quality for health concerns.
Greater the value of QAI, higher air pollution that has hazardous pollutants, and risk of health issues. Pollutants such as smoke, fog, steam, ashes, etc that generate different toxic gases like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, volatile organic compound, heavy metals, and particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10) having a different chemical composition, reaction properties and diffusion that have chronic effects on human health.
How air pollution affects human health
The disease from air pollution varies from upper respiratory and chronic respiratory diseases, heart diseases, lung diseases, lung cancer, cardiovascular damages, irritation in eyes, nose, and throat, and asthmatic attacks.
Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute Metrics and Evaluation for health found the correlation between air pollution during pregnancy has a severe impact on premature birth and asthma in children. It damages the development of children’s brains and causes pneumonia that figured 1 million deaths of children under the age of 5 years every year.
Healthy children with higher air pollution also face a higher risk of acute respiratory infection and lung diseases and chronic bronchitis attacks in adults.
The direct link of air pollution with diseases like respiratory issues, heart diseases, and fetal health seems clear but pulmonologist at National Jewish Health Institute argues that there are two ways of air pollution that can affect human health besides lungs problem and nasal cavity that are discussed below:
In case a person faces injury, the particulate toxic matter emitted from different sources inhaled by the injured person irritates the nasal cavity and goes deeper into the lungs and the body may mistakenly pass it into the infection can cause an inflammatory response.
Pollutants in bloodstream
When a person has a clod fever and feels muscle aches can also go through the same feelings by inhaling contaminated air. Among other diseases caused by air pollution, scientists also believe that toxic air particles can escape from the lungs and can pass into the bloodstream that may cause other severe problems.
Key facts of air pollution and human health
- Air pollution, the invisible health risk can be reduced by reducing hazardous emissions that will bring a decline in deaths from health diseases, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases.
- Lower air pollution means fewer environmental problems and healthy life that can lead to maximum prosperity.
- Approximately 90 of the people in lower-income and middle-income countries do not meet the criteria of healthy air quality issued by the World Health Organization.
- Policies supporting clean environment initiatives, eco-friendly vehicles, green energy generation like solar energy, wind energy, etc can possibly reduce air pollution.
There is an adverse impact of air pollution on the environment and countless effects of air pollution on human health. Pollutants like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and other toxic substances create global air pollution. These pollutants not only affect different human organs but also have a vital role in global climate change and global warming that leads generate Greenhouse gases (GHG’s) can increase the earth’s temperature and leads to environmental problems like rising in sea level and melting of glaciers, etc.
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