Air Pollution: Ways to Protect yourself this festive season!
An unclear hazy sky, small particulate matter-infested air and breath becoming laboured. All tell-tale signs of pollution. Air, a pre-condition to health and nature’s gift to mankind, unwillingly becomes an ally to pose serious health threats.
Pollution is a reality , identified as the greatest environmental health hazard and acknowledged as the fourth largest cause of death world-wide. It is believed that almost 90% to 95% of the World’s population breathes unsafe air , with India and China being the front –runners in this unwanted list.
What is Pollution?
Pollution is expressed in terms of Particulate Matter (PM), and is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets fused with a function of complex reactions of chemicals, with nitrogen oxide and sulphur di-oxide being the most dangerous polluting chemicals. Asbestos, also figures significantly in this list.
Particulate matter is calibrated as PM 2.5 and PM 10. These figures signify the fineness of the particulate matter and therefore, PM 2.5 being finer, becomes more dangerous with its inherent ability of deeper penetration.
What causes Pollution?
Differentiated as Indoor Pollution and Outdoor Pollution, factors leading to pollution, differ.
Indoor Pollution is mainly caused mainly by wood and charcoal employed for cooking , as they remain the most affordable mediums.Therefore, there is no surprise that the dangers of pollution and especially indoor pollution are more heavily skewed towards the poorer nations, where approximately 2 million deaths are reported annually on account of indoor pollution.
Out door pollution is a combination of multiple factors such as rampant urbanisation and industrialisation, where advisories from environment monitoring bodies are ignored and safety measures compromised. Crop burning, burning of solid fuel, smoke-stacks and bio-mass contribute as the other prominent factors.
Effects of Pollution
There have been a spike in flu cases with sudden climate change & pollution.Itchy or Sore throat, scratchy throat, throat irritation,throat infection and throat pain, whooping cough,cold etc appear as the most common ailments. Irritation in the eyes and allergies follow in this hierarchy.But among the more serious ones are asthma aggravation, bronchial asthma, breathlessness , chest constriction, heart disease, serious damage to the respiratory system causing upper respiratory tract infections and further exposure to pollutants could lead to lung cancer.Children with their tendency to remain outdoor and the elderly with low –immunity levels stand at greater risk.
What should be done?
Cutting on coal consumption, saving energy, enforcing strict tobacco-control regulations and imposition of severe penalties on factors leading to outdoor pollution are the most recommended measures.
In this, following Air Quality Index (AQI) notifications, which are a uniform colour-coded index for reporting and daily fore-casting of the quality of air from good to unhealthy to hazardous need attention.
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