Effects of air pollution on the environment and human health

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Air pollution is the biggest environmental health problem in the world today, killing 7 million people every year. In addition to outdoor air pollution, degraded indoor environments caused by cooking and heating homes with biomass, coal, etc. also constitute a serious health risk for some 2.6 billion people. This translates into economic losses of $8 billion due to illness and death from asthma attacks as well as required cancer treatments.

It is one of the biggest environmental health issues affecting everyone in developing and developed countries alike. The development of industrialization along with overpopulation and urbanization has led to a dangerous level of air quality. A recent study by the World Air Quality Report highlights how dangerous high levels of air pollution can be: around 3-4% of the world’s gross domestic product is spent on solving problems related to the inhalation of toxic fumes day after day with no relief coming soon enough. According to the report, 35 Indian cities had the worst air quality in 2021, with Bhiwadi in Rajasthan topping the list, followed by Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. The list also included 14 other cities in Uttar Pradesh including Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, Meerut, Agra, Amroha, Jaunpur, Varanasi, Noida and Greater Noida. These levels were more than 10 to 15 times higher than the WHO PM2.5 limit of 0 to 5 μg/m3.

Greenhouse gases produced by coal-fired power plants, inefficient means of transport and the burning of domestic fuels are the main causes of ambient air pollution and are responsible for climate change. Additionally, traditional cremations and garbage burning have been proven to release toxic chemicals into our environment when burned unattended.

The great outcry over climate change has drawn attention to the role air pollution plays in disease. Smaller diameter particles that enter your respiratory system can cause various health problems, including cancer.

Like natural disasters, climate change as a consequence of environmental pollution can potentially affect the geographic distribution of various virulent diseases. Public awareness combined with a multi-pronged approach led by scientific specialists should be the way forward. National and international organizations fighting against climate change and air pollution need to focus on long-term remedies if they want this problem to be solved soon enough before it’s too late. In India, not only does the government need to be proactive with the necessary rules and effective enforcement to reduce emissions, but it is also high time for the private sector, led by big business, to invest in corrective action.

Many interventions to reduce air pollution exist, including the implementation of sustainable transport in cities and the management of solid waste. Making housing sustainable and providing access to clean household fuels can help manage a cleaner environment. Additionally, we need to look at new advanced technologies to address particulate emissions at source, such as vehicles, diesel generators and other industrial emissions. New technologies must be durable and low maintenance compared to conventional filters and water-based solutions that have been in use for decades.

Innovation drives progress and solutions like this demonstrate how creative we need to be when caring for our environment in the future.

In a recent WHO survey, 99% of the world’s population breathe unhealthy air. As it is evident that air pollution has a significant negative impact not only on the environment but also on the health of citizens, it is time for industry leaders and society in general to start paying attention to solve this global problem and work proactively to change the scenario. for the best.



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The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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