Friday, December 11, 2015

Why Should Air Pollution Be Controlled?

When the air is physically, biologically or chemically contaminated either indoor or outdoor, the air is said to be polluted. Air pollution occurs when any harmful gases, dust, smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it hard for plants, animals and humans to survive.

Air pollution can cause depletion of ozone layer, global warming and acid rain as well as many health problems. It is known to create several respiratory and heart conditions along with cancer. Millions of people die because of direct or indirect effects of air pollution. According to a recent study, air pollution currently causes 3.3 million premature deaths a year globally, and it will kill up to 6.6 million a year worldwide by 2050.

Researchers from The Cyprus Institute, Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Cyprus University of Technology and King Saud University, College of Science published their findings online September 16, 2015 in the journal ‘Nature’.

China has the most air pollution fatalities with 1.4 million deaths a year, followed by India with 645,000 and Pakistan with 110,000. The United States, with 54,905 deaths in 2010 from soot and smog, ranks 7th highest for air pollution deaths.

By combining a global atmospheric chemistry model with population data and health statistics, the researchers estimated the relative contribution of different kinds of outdoor air pollution, mainly from so-called fine particulate matter, to premature deaths.

Their results indicated that in India and China, for example, the emissions from heating and cooking, have the largest number of death, while in much of the United States and a few other countries, emissions from traffic and power generation are crucial. In the eastern United States and in Europe, Russia and East Asia, agricultural emissions are the biggest source of the kind of fine particulate matter that gets into people's lungs, causing illness, disability and death. The study has highlighted a need to have air quality control, particularly in heavily populated parts of Asia.

Heart disease, stroke or a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the common causes of death associated with air pollution. Air pollution is also linked to deaths from lung cancer and acute respiratory infections. Research showed that air pollution triggers heart attack even when levels are rated as safe. Exposure to pollutants can raise the risk of heart attack by up to 5 percent, with the effects being felt within a day, according to evidence presented at the European Society for Cardiology Congress 2015 held from August 29 to September 2 in London.

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