Air pollution is a big issue in many cities these days. Pollution in the air is causing a lot of health problems that is affecting the lives of many people. Both indoor and outdoor air pollution has adverse effects on the health of many people; some health problems caused by air pollution are-
- Irritation in the eyes and throat
- Inhaling dust, pollen and pet dander can cause coughing, sneezing and stuffy nose
- Shortens lifespan
- People develop diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis, cancer and asthma
- The decrease in the function of the lungs and loss of lung capacity
- Ageing of the lungs occurs faster.
- Cells can get damaged in the respiratory system.
- Respiratory and cardiovascular illness can increase.
- The lungs and the heart experience a lot of stress that will work harder to supply oxygen to the body.
- People can face breathing difficulties and respiratory irritation during outdoor activities and exercise.
- People who have coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and heart disease are at a higher risk of getting affected by air pollution.
- Individuals who have lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and asthma can be affected by air pollution fast.
- Air pollution can even damage the liver, kidneys, nerves and the brain.
- Young children, the elderly and pregnant women are the most vulnerable to get affected by air pollution.
Causes of Air Pollution
- Countries like India have areas where lots of construction work takes place and open land areas do not have much vegetation so they remain dry due to lack of precipitation, dust storms can naturally be created by winds. When added to the air this particulate matter can be life-threatening for the living creatures as it can have a natural warming effect.
- Air pollution happens because of forest fires also, air pollution occurs because of these wildfires as particulate matter is released into the air. When this air is inhaled these particles reach the respiratory system and cause irritation to the tissues
- Deforestation is also a cause of air pollution because the trees take in other harmful pollutants and carbon dioxide that contaminate the air and cause problems in the atmosphere, so it affects the air that is inhaled.
- Fields on which crops are grown are set on fire during certain months by the farmers to clear them for planting in countries like India where lots of agricultural activities take place. Ammonia is one of the most hazardous gases that is released from agricultural related activities and causes a lot of air pollution that has bad effects on the health of living beings
- After China, the second largest coal burner in the world is India that generates 210 GW of electricity in 1 year. The major greenhouse gases are present in fossil fuel emissions that include nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, fluorinated gases and methane.
- Air pollution also takes place due to electronic waste. Many people in India are involved in the burning of waste/ wires electronic and electrical components, washing of metal-rich residue and unscientific dismantling that cause air pollution which can be harmful to the health when inhaled.
- Methane is generated from landfills; it is an asphyxiant and a major greenhouse gas. It can be hazardous and highly flammable when a landfill grows unchecked.
- Another source of Air pollution and fossil fuel emissions are emissions from vehicles. Aeroplanes, cars, trains, jeeps and trucks cause a lot of pollution that contaminates the air and can be harmful to health if inhaled.
- An industrial chimney waste is also considered to be a cause of air pollution. Many industries cause a lot of pollution, plenty of dust comes from the cement factories, hot mix plants and stone crushers also create a lot of problems and acid vapours in the air are emitted by a lot of fertilizers and food industries
- There are many super thermal power and power stations that cause a lot of air pollution. The coal consumption of thermal plants is a lot. SO2, fly ash, hydrocarbons and other gases are the main pollutants.
Ways to Avoid Harmful Effects of Air Pollution
As the effects of air pollution can be very bad on the health so there are certain ways to avoid the harmful effects of air pollution on the body. Some of the ways are –
- On the days when there is a lot of air pollution don’t exercise outdoors as inhaling the polluted air can have harmful effects on the lungs so it is good to use an exercise machine, go to the gym or walk indoors.
- Generating other sources of energy and electricity causes’ air pollution, it is better to use less energy in the home.
- Wear a mask covering the nose and mouth outdoors when the pollution levels are high.
- Use public transport like commuter trains, subway and buses. When the distances are short ride a bike, carpool or walk.
- Burning garbage and firewood are the main causes of particle pollution so don’t burn trash or wood.
- Avoid smoking indoors as air pollution indoors increases due to smoking.
- Vehicles on the road are a cause of high pollution levels so always avoid exercising in areas where there is a lot of traffic.
- Keep natural plant purifiers like a spider plant, peace lily and Dracaena in the home, office or any other workplace.
- Artificial air purifiers can also be used in offices and homes.
- Foods like carrots, radish leaves, Omega-3 fats, coriander leaves, cabbage, drumsticks and parsley should be eaten as these foods help the body to fight the harmful effects of air pollution.
- Have citrus fruits and the juice of two lemons in the diet daily as it includes Vitamin C.
- Use plant-based cooking oils like rice bran oil, safflower and sunflower oil as it includes Vitamin E.
- Turmeric is very healthy which protects the lungs from the harmful effects of air pollution and is an antioxidant
- Eat Guava and Amla as these fruits are rich in Vitamin C.
By following these steps one can protect oneself from the harmful effects of air pollution and can lead a healthy life.
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