We all keep hearing about air
pollution and how that is detrimental to our overall health and wellbeing. Well,it’s true! But sadly the impact of
pollution on our health has always been played down and ignored. But with 7
million deaths globally, we have finally started noticing. And guess what? Air
pollution does a lot more than just give us a coughing fit, believe me!
So to start with all the impact
it has on our health, you need to understand the individual components present
in this “air pollution.”
This is formed when volatile
organic components and oxides of nitrogen get in contact with the sun’s UV rays. Vehicular traffic, construction
materials,and agricultural equipment are
the major contributors ofground-level
ozone. Everyday unknowingly we use a lot of household products that also give
out such volatile compounds that pollute your indoor air as well. Some common
products that give out VOCs are aerosol sprays, disinfectants, moth repellants,
wood preservatives, and automotive products.
This kind of pollutant can cause
all sorts of ailments which can increase with constant exposure. When I say ailments, I mean not only the
common ones like wheezing , coughing fit, increased fatigue, chest pain, dry
throat, headache,and nausea but also a
lot more concerning ones like emphysema, bronchitis,and asthma. Severe exposure to this can even lead to permanent lung
damage and decreased immunity.
Particulate matters are miniscule mixtures of
liquid droplets (mist) and solid particles like soot, dust,and smoke. They are so small that you can fit
40-50 such particulate matter on the width of one strand of your hair (which by
the way would be around 100 micrometers wide).
So if we say PM 10 and PM 2.5 we
are talking about particles which are less than 10μm and 2.5μm respectively.But
what can such small things do to us, right? Well, these are by far the most
harmful pollutants we should be wary of. They are so small that they can easily
enter our system, bypassing all our natural defenses and go deep into our lungs
and your bloodstream.
Exposure to PM would lead to
irritation in the airways, respiratory distress, asthma and wheezing. It can
also decrease your lung function and lead to irreparable lung disease. PM
exposure can also result in chronic bronchitis and irregular heartbeat.
Continuous exposure to particulate matter can even lead to damage in the
reproductive system or premature deaths among people with pre-existing lung or
Imagine having to live in a
smoke-filled room. The mere imagination would make you feel suffocated.
However, our world is rapidly becoming just that-a gas chamber. Gases like
Sulphur dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, and Lead are increasing rapidly in our
atmosphere and entering our systems on an everyday basis. While carbon monoxide
can reduce the oxygen content in your blood and impact your vital organs,
Sulphur dioxide quickly enters your system and lead to coughing, wheezing,
asthma, chest tightening, heart failure, eye irritation, nervous system damage,and anxiety issues.
Air pollution is not as simple as
it sounds. It can only be managed by constant monitoring and effective
eradication strategies. Let us start with
our family by monitoring the quality of the air they breathe. Let us all vow to
make the world a better place to live in.
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