How to tackle the perils of air pollution

air pollution smog

(Anne Nygård, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Monisha S, an aspiring student of Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore in India. 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.

According to WHO air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. Burning of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum by vehicles, cooking and other activities, factory and industrial exhaust, mining, forest fires, indoor emission of SPM are common sources of air pollution.

Air pollution is the most common type of pollution affecting the health of people. This is made worse by the fact that everyone can get exposed to bad quality air. You can choose the water you drink but not the air you breathe which makes it way more dangerous. The effects of air pollution involve a large variety of illnesses, starting with the simple irritation of eyes to more serious conditions – of which the most common are: Respiratory and lung diseases, including: asthma attacks, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, reduced lung function, pulmonary cancer, pneumonia, leukaemia, birth defects and immune system defects, Cardiovascular problems, heart disease and stroke, Neurobehavioral disorders – neurological problems and developmental deficits due to air toxins such as mercury, Liver and other types of cancer.

The solution to most of the problems related to air pollution lies in reducing its key causative agent: fossil fuels combustion. With increased control on vehicles and their emission standards improvised, shift to electric vehicles or public transportation, air pollution can be reduced immensely. Control of factory outlet emissions with newer technology blocking the release of harmful gases can be used, cleaner, renewable energy resources can be used like solar, wind and water. Another essential yet simple method is to increase the vacuum cleaners of air, trees. Just the presence of greenery around can change the quality of air we breathe drastically. Another effortless method is to reduce international shipping which takes up immense amount of fossil fuels and release a lot of pollutants in air.

Other solutions to protect humans and maintain health of patients and pregnant mothers can include distributing N95 masks free of cost to the risky populations of the public in heavily polluted areas prioritizing the poor pregnant women and the people with serious respiratory disorders. Another solution can be to develop institutions away from pollution for pregnant mothers living in cities filled with pollution to improve the health of the baby and the mother. There can be incentives given to the mine workers for regular health check ups for early diagnosis of any respiratory illness to prevent their deaths due to the chemicals of the mines. These are some methods to prevent the increasing deaths due to air pollution.

Humans need to understand the perils of air pollution and act fast on it to prevent the deaths of people in such massive numbers. Unless humans realize the importance of their activities and change for the better the numbers in those statics will not change either. So let’s unite to put an end to the deaths due to pollution.

About the author

Monisha S is an aspiring student of Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore in India. She finished her schooling in National Hill View Public School and Deeksha PU University in Bangalore, India. Nature is something very close to her heart as she enjoys its company. Anything that she can do to help in spreading awareness she will do it with complete passion and interest. She also loves writing and literature and consider it one of her favourite hobbies. Other hobbies of her include adventurous activities, basketball and
reading books.

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