Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year

air pollution

(Holger Link, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Sarah Ibershimi, a third year medical students, studying at ‘Universiteti i Mjekësisë Tiranë (UMT)’, in Albania. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Air Pollution is one of the most serious environmental issues facing the modern world nowadays. It is a combination of natural and man-made substances and gases, from the smoke indoors to the smog outdoors over the cities. It consists of small particles in the air, that can affect human’s health, animal’s life and plant’s growth. When these substances (gases, liquids or solids), reach high concentrations, they could become life-threatening.1,2

What causes air pollution?

People are affected not only by local pollution, but also by air pollution in a wider geographic perspective, since it can across continents. The main sources of air pollution are the household pollution or the indoors one (which consists in burning woods, fossil fuels, heat, light homes, polluting stoves, etc.) and the outdoors air pollution (which consists in the pollution that comes from industry, waste, transport and other sources.) 3.

How air pollution affects people worldwide?

People exposed to air pollution, are more predisposed to certain diseases such as: respiratory diseases, heart diseases, lung cancer, skin irritations, preterm birth and even death. There is also evidence of links between man-made air pollution and low birth weight, tuberculosis, cataract, nasopharyngeal and laryngeal cancers. Pollutants that have a negative and irreversible effect on people’s health are considered as toxic pollutants (asbestos, benzene, arsenic oxide, some nitrates, ethylene dichloride etc.)5According to World Health Organization data, 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. As a result, an estimated 7 million people worldwide, dies every year from the continuous exposure to polluted air.4

How can we end the deaths of 7 million people per year?

Taking steps to reduce air pollution is an urgent need.

Firstly, it is essential for every country to adopt laws to regulate emissions and reduce air pollution. It is especially important to take measures to control coal use and to place a limit on the amount of pollution an industry is allowed. Also, by reducing greenhouse gas emission, can combat global warming.1

Secondly, using renewable energy over fossil fuels is more environmentally friendly. Moreover, they do not involve toxic substances that can affect our health.

Thirdly, anybody can adopt the motto ‘From micro steps to macro results’. Simply changes in our daily life, can lead to reduction of air pollution. Taking public transport or riding a bicycle instead of driving a car, recycling organic materials instead of burning them, eating locally, adding insulation to our homes, reusing plastic and paper, using durable bags instead of plastic ones while shopping or even printing and photocopying in both sides are some of the small changes that can bring big results.

In conclusion, as we are facing an urgent crisis, it is time to act rapidly. If both people and governments take the measures, we can beat the climate change, by reducing air pollution.

References:

  1. Nunez, C. (2019, February 4). National Geographic. Retrieved from Air Pollution.
  2. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (n.d.). Retrieved from Air Pollution.
  3. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved from Air Pollution.
  4. Environmental Pollution Centers. (2019).
  5. Environmental Defence Fund. (n.d.). Retrieved from Health impacts of air pollution.

About the author

Sarah Ibershimi is a third year medical students, studying at ‘Universiteti i Mjekësisë Tiranë (UMT)’, in Albania. She is a Vice-General Secretary of ACMS (Albanian Committee of Medical Students), part of IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Association), since August, 2019. This new experience is enabling her to advocate change for the betterment of health for all vulnerable groups, which is also one of the main purposes of ACMS. The intertwining of the passion and professionalism, has always helped her to show her best in all the responsibilities that she undertakes.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

This credit card has a carbon-emission spending limit

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Darfur: Inter-communal tensions still high despite improved security, Mission head tells Security Council

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

‘Signs of hope’ toward a political settlement in Yemen, UN special envoy tells Security Council

Indian cities are running out of water

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Online marketplaces can help close Africa’s skills gap

New European frontiers for renewable energy development

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

How microfinance develops decent work

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

5 ways cities can use emerging technologies to fight climate change

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to trigger disruption, claim industry leaders

Ramp up nuclear power to beat climate change, says UN nuclear chief

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

A call for a new crop of innovators

COVID-19: research package welcomed, EU needs to be better equipped in future

We should treat data as a natural resource. Here’s why

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

Here’s how the global financial crisis is still affecting your wages

5 facts to know about Africa’s powerhouse – Nigeria

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

5 ways to get your business ready for AI in 2020

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Mental health in times of pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Frans Timmermans on the European Green Deal as a growth strategy at the Bruegel Annual Meetings

Coronavirus – here’s the public health advice on how to protect yourself

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Tackling Youth Unemployment

European Commission statement on the adoption of the new energy lending policy of the European Investment Bank Group

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s