Air pollution: An Open Discussion

Air pollution: An Open Discussion


We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

Air pollution: An Open Discussion

The immediate environment of man comprises of air on which all the living beings depends. Air supplies the life giving oxygen and also serves several other functions. The body is cooled by air contact, the special senses of smell & hearing also acts through air. Many infections disease are spread through air. Air pollutants may cause sickness and death. The requirement of air per day is about 10 to 20 cubic meters for an adult.

Air is mechanical mixture of gases. The normal composition of air by volume is as follows: Nitrogen 78%, Oxygen 20.93%, Carbon dioxide 0.03%.The remaining is made up of other gases like argon, neon, krypton, xenon and helium. In addition to all the above gases air contains water vapor, traces of ammonia, and suspended matters like bacteria, dust, spores and vegetable debris.

Air becomes impure or polluted by following ways:

(1) Respiration of men and animals which consumes oxygen and releasecarbon dioxide.

(2) Combustion of coal, gas, oil etc.

(3) Decomposition of organic matter.

(4) Trade, traffic and manufacturing factories which emit dust, fumes, gases and vapor. Out of the above, maximum air pollution is caused by transport systems (motor vehicles, aero planes, trains & ships).

Generally composition of outdoor air is remarkably constant. This is due to presence of certain self cleansing mechanisms which are operational in nature. They are (1) Wind: Because of wind impurities do not accumulates in one place and they are diluted and swept away by wind. This is the reason housing should have proper ventilation system, so that impurities do not accumulate inside house and are swept away by wind. (2) Sunlight: Sunlight is very effective in killing & controlling bacteria in air, sunlight also oxidizes many impurities. (3)Rain: It cleans the atmosphere by removing impurities like dust, many gases and suspended particulate matters (SPM). (4 ) Plant life: The green plants uses carbon dioxide and produces/generate oxygen by photosynthesis, plant life also help by producing more rain to wash off pollutants.

Air in occupied room: Human occupancy and activity in an occupied room give a sense of discomfort to the occupants. Two types of changes occur in an occupied room, chemical and physical.

Chemical changes: As during respiration we take up oxygen & release carbon dioxide, in an occupied room air becomes progressively contaminated by carbon dioxide and oxygen content decreases. At rest an average person gives off 0.7 cubic feet of carbon dioxide every hour. This may go up to 2 cubic feet per hour during physical activity. In a mixed gathering, comprising of all age groups, the per capita carbon dioxide output is taken as o.6 cubic feet per hour. So in a crowded room oxygen concentration may reduce and carbon dioxide level increase and cause discomfort.

Physical changes: Physical changes are the most important changes that occurs in and occupied room. They are (a) Rise in temperature: The room temperature tends to rise due to emanation of body heat. A person at rest gives of about 400 BTU (British thermal unit) of heat per hour. One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. During physical activity the heat out put may by up to1400 BTU per hour.

Rise in humidity: Humidity inside an occupied room goes up due to evaporation of moisture from skin & lungs. The expired air contains about 6% of water vapor. An adult at rest release about 700gms of water vapor per day (24 hours), in the form of perspiration. It is calculated that an average person gives off 18.4gms of water vapor per hour during sleep and up to 175gms per hour during vigorous physical activity.

Decrease in air movement: In crowded rooms the natural movement of air is blocked.

Body odors: Unpleasant odors arise from perspiration, sweating, bad oral hygiene and bad breath, dirty cloths and other sources. This depends on social status, personal hygiene and age of people.

Bacterial pollutants: The exhaled air contains microorganisms (bacteria & virus). Some of these may be pathogen (can cause disease).These microorganisms are release during coughing, sneezing and talking.

So air in an occupied room should be replaced, otherwise it may have adverse effects on comfort, heath and efficient working. For these proper cross ventilation should be provided in every room.

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