Effects of Air Pollution

Effects of Air Pollution


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.

Effects of Air Pollution

More than one billion urban residents are exposed t air pollution level more than recommended. Air quality in industrialized countries have improved in last two decades but that of developing countries air quality has deteriorated due to increase in industrial activity without proper control and planning, increased power generation and congestion in streets with poorly maintained automobiles which are the main reason for air pollution. Air pollution affects mainly in two ways health aspect and economic and social aspect.

Health aspects: Health aspect of air pollution may be immediate and delayed. The immediate effects are seen mainly in respiratory system and commonest is acute bronchitis. In severest form of air pollution death can occur by suffocation. The best example of severe air pollution was seen in London in 1952.

The delayed effects of air pollution are also seen mainly in respiratory system which includes chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, bronchial asthma, respiratory allergies etc. Lead poisoning from air pollution can effect many systems of the body and is particularly dangerous in children during brain development and development of nervous system. Increase lead level in children results in lack of neuro psychological development measured by low IQ, poor performance in school and behavioral changes.

It is very difficult to estimate precisely the risk of air pollution for health. Degree of effect varies with factors such as nutrition, smoking, occupation and climate. Air pollution can damage cardiac and respiratory systems in many ways in old people & young, smokers and people with respiratory problems are more vulnerable to effects of air pollution. Epidemiological studies have shown that a sudden increase in air pollution level is associated with immediate increase in morbidity and mortality. It is assumed that achievable reduction in air pollution can prevent about 5% of all infections and respiratory problems. This reduction can reduce global burden of disease by more than 1%.

Social & economic aspects: These include destruction of plant and animal life, corrosion of metals, damage to buildings, increase cost of maintenance and cleaning. It can soil and damage clothing. It also reduces visibility in cities and affects air traffic in a big way.

Prevention & control of air Pollution: Control and prevention of air pollution is ultimately an engineering problem. WHO (World Health Organization) has recommended following ways to control and prevent air pollution:

    1. Containment: This is prevention of escape of toxic substance into the air. This can be achieved by enclosures, ventilation, and air cleaning etc. Use of “arrester’s” is the latest development in the way of containment.
    1. Dilution: It is useful to the extent that it is within the limit of self clearing of environment. Some of the air pollutants are removed by trees and green plants and vegetables. This is the idea of “green belts” between residential areas and industrial areas. But the capacity of dilution is limited as an effective way to control air pollution.
    1. Replacement: This is the process of replacing older method by newer technology which causes lesser pollution. This is one of the most effective ways to control pollution. For examples increased use of electricity in stead of coal for heating has reduced amount of smoke. Another example is use of unleaded petrol instead of leaded petrol. Replacing petrol and diesel engines by natural gas is an effective way to reduce air pollution. Another example of replacement is to convert rail engines from coal or diesel engines to electric engines. Recently Airbus (aero plane manufacturing company) has conducted a test flight with biodiesel (which is obtained from oil sees instead of more polluting fossil fuel which contain more hydrocarbons).
    1. Legislation: In many countries air pollution is controlled by suitable legislation. Legislation covers many areas like height of chimneys, distance between particular factories from residential areas, waste disposal. Power to local authorities to carry out investigation, research and education regarding pollution, enforcement of standard for air quality is given to the local authorities. Compulsory checking of automobiles for pollution checking is one of the ways to effectively control air pollution. There are pollution controlling boards or authorities formed by legislation to check & control pollution.
  1. International action: WHO has set up an international network of laboratories for monitoring and air pollution. They include two international centers at London & Washington, three centers at Moscow, Tokyo and Nagpur (India) and twenty other laboratories in various parts of the world. These canters issue warning of air pollution when & where necessary.

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