How does Air Pollution Impact Human Health?
Air pollution has serious effects on the human health.
Depending on the level of exposure and the type of pollutant inhaled, these effects can vary, ranging from simple symptoms like coughing and the irritation of the respiratory tract to acute conditions like asthma and chronic lung diseases.
Skin problems and irritations can develop due to prolonged exposure to several air pollutants, and a variety of cancer forms may develop after inhaling air contaminants.
Is Any of this Pollution a Risk to our Planet Earth?
One of the most significant effects of air pollution is on climate change, mainly global warming.
Over dependence on fossil fuels, have led to very high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere with which the average global air temperature expected to rise by 2-4 °C by the end of the 21st century (IPCC 5th Assessment Report)3.
Such a warming trend will lead to melting of the polar ice caps, rising of the sea level, flooding of the coastal areas and changes in precipitation patterns. All these effects caused by global warming will have adverse effects on agriculture and forest ecosystems, and higher temperatures and humidity might increase the incidence of disease in humans and animals.
Already there has been a growing evidence of increased flooding’s and extreme weather events, which potentially create difficult situations for human health.
How Can We help Reduce Air Pollution?
Simple everyday choices that we can follow to reduce air pollution are:
Conserve Energy – Use energy efficient star rated appliances and remember to turn off all electric appliances when not in use.
This will reduce our dependence on fossil fuel -based power stations.
Renewables - Switching to renewable options, say solar PV, wind energy for your residential, commercial or business needs.
EV’s and Low Pollution Vehicles - Reduce the air pollution of your automobile - consider buying the most efficient, and least polluting vehicle. Be sure to keep your vehicle maintained regularly by replacing air filters at recommended intervals.
Limit driving by options such as carpooling, using public transportation, biking and walking. Electric vehicles are a great bet, especially if they are charged by solar power generated at your home.
Eco-Friendly Home Products - Opt for no-VOC or low-VOC emulsion paints and glues. Use green cleaning products instead of conventional chemical-filled products.
Follow the principle of 3R- Reduce, Reuse & Recycle – The energy and natural resources required to make new things has a very high environmental footprint compared to products made from recycled materials.
Green Cover - Plant trees wherever you can, whether it is home or community level or even somewhere else.
3. IPCC, 5th Assessment Report- Fifth Assessment Report published by Interparliamentary Panel on Climate Change (under UNFCCC)