Air pollution: The invisible killer and Preventive Measure to control it

Layla Mostari

Millions of people die prematurely every year from diseases and caused by air pollution. Air pollution is the mixture of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to humans and other living beings, or causes damage to the climate or other materials. It is also a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. Car emission, chemicals from factories, dust, pollen and mold spores may be suspended as particles. Ozone is the major part of air pollution in cities. Some air pollutants are poisonous. Inhaling them can increase the chance you’ll have health problems. People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from air pollution. Air pollution has become the biggest cause of premature death, overtaking poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water. According to the WHO, more than 3.5 million people are being killed each year by the air that they breathe in urban areas, and the number is rising. Air pollution now kills twice as many people as HIV/AIDS. That’s the stark message from the latest OECD report, The Cost of Air Pollution: Health Impacts of Road Transport.

Air pollution varies greatly in different parts of the world. But what about the primary weapons against it? To find answers, researchers from McGill University set out to investigate global air quality standards in a study published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. The researchers focused on air pollution called PM2.5 — responsible for an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths every year globally. This includes over a million deaths in China, over half a million in India, almost 200,000 in Europe, and over 50,000 in the United States.  “In Canada, about 5,900 people die every year from air pollution, according to estimates from Health Canada. Air pollution kills almost as many Canadians every three years as COVID-19 killed to date,” says co-author Parisa Ariya, a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at McGill University.  

The most common question is,” where does Air Pollution come from?”  And that time we can find the different sources of air pollution. The number one source of outdoor air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels, primarily by motor vehicles. However, manufacturing industries, mining, and coal-and gas fired power stations are also responsible for polluting the atmosphere. The exhaust from manufacturing factories usually includes particulates and gases such as oxides of nitrogen and Sulphur, sometimes carbon monoxide, and a range of organic compounds, some of which are cancer causing. In countries such as Australia, a lot of work has been done to regulate, license and control industrial emission. However, there are some important sources of pollution that are presently unregulated including, for example, off-road diesel engines and ships. Air pollution in our environment will undoubtedly affect our quality of life and it can also cause various health problems and other negative effects.

Some Environmental and health impacts of air pollution are as following:

One of our era’s greatest scourges is air pollution, on account not only of its impact on climate change but also its impact on public and individual health due to increasing morbidity and mortality. There are many pollutants that are major factors in disease in humans. Among them, Particulate matter (PM), particles of variable but very small diameter, penetrate the respiratory system via inhalation, causing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, reproductive and central nervous system dysfunctions, and cancer. The health effects of air pollution are serious- one third of death from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution. Short term exposure to air pollutants is closely related to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma, respiratory disease, and high rates of hospitalization. The long-term effects associated with air pollution are chronic asthma, pulmonary insufficiency, cardiovascular mortality. This is having an equivalent effect to that of smoking tobacco, and much higher than, say, the effects of eating too much salt.    

And air pollution has also many impacts on environment. Air pollution can damage crops and trees in a variety of ways. Ground-level ozone can lead to reductions in agricultural crop and commercial forest yields, reduce growth and survivability of trees seedings, and increased plant susceptibility to disease, pests and other environmental stresses.

Besides this air pollution have following impacts on environment:

· Global Warming.

· Climate Change.

· Acid Rain.

· Smog Effect.

· Deterioration of fields.

· Extinction of animal species.

· Respiratory health problems.

· Deterioration in building materials.

· Chemical Sensitivity.

· Skin Damage.

So, from the above discussion we can see that air pollution has adverse impact on both environment and human health. So, it is necessary to take preventive measure to control air pollution. And as a result, we want to find way out. Three simple solution to reduce air pollution such as reducing the using of vehicles, cutting down the using of machineries and planting trees. 

The first necessary way to solve this problem is to cutting down the using of machineries. We should try to use more human labor rather than machines in production or farming activities. For instance, people in our country can use handy craft products and do their farm by the human being like doing farm in a traditional way without using any kinds of tractors. Furthermore, for the products which are made by machines, such as paper, bottles, cans, or plastic bags, we should re-use and recycle them as possible as we can instead of producing more products.

The second way to solve this problem is to reduce the using of vehicles. People should change from travel by their own car or motorbike to travel by public transportation such as taxies, buses, or trains. When we can cut down the number of cars or motorbikes on the street, the amount of CO2 also decreases and we can save our air. The third way we have to do is planting trees. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, cleaning up air pollution every day, so we have to reduce cutting down of it. According to McPherson (2003), “leaves of trees absorb or intercept air pollutants, including small particulate matter and the component of smog.” In addition, the trees help cooling neighborhoods to create less need for air conditioning. 

As air pollution is a great problem and it causes harm to both human and environment. So, it harms to our surrounding like invisible killer. That’s why the above control measure is necessary which will help reduce this big issue to our environment. In conclusion, we must work together to reduce air pollution so that our future generation can lead in a healthy, unpolluted environment. 

Author is a Student of Environmental Science and Engineering Department at Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh—2224, Bangladesh

%d bloggers like this: