An industrial cityscape of a town filled with factories and air pollution at sunset

We are aware of the harmful effects of air pollution but are we really aware of what parts of our body are affected by what type of pollutants? The lives of people are significantly affected by the quality of air. Its effects are immense.

Approximately, 92 per cent of the population live in areas where the air quality is poor. The most common reactions to poor air quality are watery eyes, difficulty breathing and coughing. Air pollution results in around seven million related deaths per year worldwide. The development of urban city centers around the world and the emission of harmful gases from the vehicles and its related industries are not only dangerous to the environment but also to our health.

Main causes of air pollution

The main causes of air pollution are the transportation modes, forest fires, fossil burnings and industrial production. Other major causes include radiation fare and aerosol usage. These sources of pollution emit gases such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), sulphur dioxide (SO2) etc.

Today’s world faces air pollution as one of the major problems. The contributors are numerous. The five major pollutants according to World Health Organization are ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and lead.

What are the damages done to our body by air pollution?

As mentioned above, the high levels of pollution affect the body negatively. The health outcomes improve significantly when people move to cleaner locations or when the air pollution level decreases.

Air pollution is always linked with the respiratory diseases. Its relation with the heart and brain is not considered as much as it should be. One of the ways is through inflammation. Inflammation is a way by which the body repairs itself after an injury.

The particulate matter emitted by cars, industries and fires irritates the nasal passages. This leads to allergic reactions and its symptoms are generally recognized by a runny nose or coughing. The particles find their way deeper into the airways and finally arrive at the lungs. The symptoms are often mistaken as an infection which triggers an inflammatory response.

The pollutants can harden the arteries which increase the risk of heart and strokes. Air pollution is also linked with mental health diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer.

More often the symptoms of breathing polluted air are mistaken with the symptoms of falling sick due to a common cold. The larger particles get stuck in the nose and are sneezed out when it causes discomfort. It is believed by scientist that some dangerous and extreme pollutants can even enter the bloodstream.

How to tackle air pollution?

In order to eliminate the negative effects of air pollution, World Health Organization (WHO) and Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) along with 54 nations launched the Breathe Life initiative. The motive of the initiative is to mobilize the cities and people from the harmful effects of air pollution and bring out ways to tackle the problems while protecting the health.

Controlling air pollution should be on the priority list of the government. The laws should be implemented in such a way that it should protect the environment as well as the human health. On a personal level, you could take care of yourself by making sure that at least the quality of the air you breathe in your house is pure.