The Harmful Effects of Air Pollution on Health and Environment

A major problem that India is facing at present is the alarming level of air pollution. A recent report published by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an environmental think tank, revealed that the life expectancy in India decreased by 2.6 years. The deadly diseases caused by air pollution is one of the major reasons for the reduction in life expectancy. At present, air pollution is the third highest cause of death among the different types of health risks in India. Not just on human health, but air pollution also has a negative impact on the environment. So, in this blog, we discuss in detail the health and environmental impact of air pollution.

Health and Environmental Effects of Air Pollution

Health Effects of Air Pollution

The negative effects of air pollution on human health is not unknown. However, do you really know the impact of air pollution on your health? Read on to find out.

Higher Risk of Hypertension in Women

Research published in the Epidemiology journal indicated that women exposed to high levels of pollution have a higher risk of suffering from hypertension.  Women who are exposed to fine PM and black carbon above 10 µg/m³ develop hypertension. Air pollution can also cause inflammation and oxidative stress.

Affects Cardiovascular Health

Air pollution also affects cardiovascular health as it hardens the arteries. This also increases the risk of heart attack and strokes. The particulate matter present in the respiratory tract spread to the other areas of the body and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

Asthma and CoPD

Inhaling particulate matter irritates the tissues in the nasal cavity, which leads to cough and runny nose. When the fine particles travel down the airways into the lungs, it leads to infection. This can also lead to inflammation, thereby causing shortness of breath. People who suffer from asthma and or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CoPD) are at a higher risk.

Preterm Birth

Air pollution is dangerous for pregnant women. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy increases toxic chemicals in the blood and causes stress in the immune system. This weakens the placenta that surrounds the fetus and leads to preterm birth.

Environmental Effects of Air Pollution

In addition to harming human health, air pollution also harms the environment. Here are some of the environmental effects of air pollution:

Acid Rain

Acid rain is mainly precipitation that contains harmful amounts of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. The nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxides released in the environment as a result of burning fossil fuel form these acids. These acids fall on Earth’s surface in the wet form (rain, snow, fog) or dry precipitation ( gases and particulates). Acid rain damages trees, and makes water unsuitable for aquatic life and also harms wildlife.

Ozone Depletion

Ozone gas occurs both on the ground level and Earth’s upper atmosphere (stratosphere). Ground level ozone harms human health. A report showed Delhi and some other parts of India have witnessed a spike in the levels of ground-level ozone as a result of the extreme weather conditions. The “good” ozone present on the upper atmosphere of Earth is gradually depleting. Thinning of the protective layer can lead to skin cancer, cataract, and harm the immune system.

Climate Change

The naturally occurring gases on the Earth’s surface maintain a balance in temperature. However, humans have disturbed this natural balance, thanks to the excessive production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The Earth’s atmosphere traps more sun’s heat, which is the reason why there has been a rise in the temperatures.

Crop and Forest Damage

Ground level ozone affects the yields of agricultural crops and commercial forests. This also stuns the growth and sustainability of tree seedlings. The plants are also susceptible to diseases, pests, and environmental stresses.

Last Few Words

The increasing level of air pollution has an impact on indoor air quality as well. This is the reason why you need to take the right steps to control both indoor and outdoor pollution. When it comes to outdoor pollution, there are a lot of steps that you can take to improve the situation. Planting more trees, curbing vehicular pollution are some of the ways that can help in controlling pollution. For indoor air, make sure you use a HEPA air purifier, which effectively catches and traps 99.97% pollutants. As indoor air is 5-10 times more polluted than the outdoor air installing an air purifier is a necessity. To find out more about the range of air purifiers from KENT, click here.

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