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How Air Pollution Impacts Health

Anthropogenic pollution of the atmosphere is associated with mechanical, physical, chemical, and biological factors. There are two main types of air pollution, ambient air pollution (outdoor pollution) and household (indoor). These are most noticeably manifested in places where people live compactly, especially in megacities, where weather conditions differ significantly from similar parameters outside the city. Millions of tons of pollutants are always present in the atmosphere, and thus, air pollution negatively affects people’s well-being by destroying their health through cancers, cardiovascular issues, and blood pressure, including children’s health. This paper aims at analyzing the detrimental effects of air pollutions and suggest several ways of its reduction.

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The presence of air pollutants is detrimental to the public’s health, as it causes a wide range of medical conditions. The leading causes of death due to air pollution are congenital pathologies, cancer, and impaired functioning of the human immune system (Cohen et al. 660). Pollution also increases blood pressure, which is caused by atmosphere pollution, and it directly affects the critical component of the brain that controls one’s blood pressure levels (Yang et al. 578). Therefore, a person that inhales such air regularly has an increased risk of a stroke. Vehicles and industrial complexes emit poisonous dioxide and black smoke, which inevitably increases the danger of premature death (Hamra et al. 3). Inhaling air-containing combustion products even for short periods increases the risk of cardiovascular complications, such as heart disease, and some forms of non-lung cancers (Turner et al. 2). Polluted air in large cities leads to many cases of hospitalizations and even deaths, and the number is only going to increase.

Furthermore, air pollution has a catastrophic impact on children’s health and lives. Asthma is one of the conditions that can be caused by the issue in question. Research conducted by Orellano et al. shows that there is a direct correlation between air pollution and cases of asthma. This disorder takes 250000 lives per year, also being a severe financial burden for families (Orellano et al.). As far as asthma’s indirect effects are concerned, it might force children to skip school, thus having a long-lasting impact on their lives in terms of skills and education. Children born with these conditions struggle to keep up with their peers, and a growing level of pollution only makes the situation worse.

Besides, the detrimental qualities of air pollution manifest themselves even before a child is born. According to Korten et al. (39), polluted air impairs a fetus’s organ development and leads to several complications. A newborn’s immune system is likely to be compromised if the mother is exposed to pollution during pregnancy, which decreases the overall quality of a child’s life (Korten et al. 39). In extreme cases, such a destructive impact on a fetus’s development leads to premature birth or severe complications in the first weeks of life, which increases the level of infant mortality. The described effects are somewhat reminiscent of the consequences of smoking during pregnancy. However, smoking is a person’s choice, whereas exposure to critical levels of air pollution is practically inevitable in a large modern city. All in all, prenatal exposure to polluted air proves to be one of the most devastating consequences of the issue in question.

All things considered, decisive steps towards reducing air pollution on a global scale might alleviate some of its adverse effects. As for specific measures, it is important to mention energy saving, as one of the most efficient ones. This policy can be implemented on all levels, from introducing green initiatives on large-scale enterprises to smart energy use in a particular household. This method is beneficial in many ways, as, apart from clearing the air, energy saving conserves Earth’s resources and supports sustainable development. The key aspect of this policy is to consume less and save more.

Secondly, fire is a significant factor leading to air pollution. It includes both wildfires and campfires, and, without due care, the former can quickly turn into the latter. Excessive smoke in the atmosphere is just as detrimental to one’s health, so reducing unnecessary fires to a minimum will benefit everyone in terms of clear air. Using dry firewood releases fewer pollutants, making it a suitable choice for a campfire. In addition, it is vital to take all the necessary precautions and prevent wildfires, which emit a high number of pollutants into the atmosphere.

Finally, it is essential to reduce CO2 emissions by vehicles. Thanks to rapid progress, more families can afford at least one car, which allows them to move around in a faster way. Besides, millions of people use buses, planes, and other environmentally unfriendly means of transportation. They have made life much more comfortable, but it might be wise to keep the use of combustion engines to a minimum, as their CO2 emissions have become major sources of air pollution, especially in large metropolitan areas. Modern society has come up with a variety of ways to replace combustion engine vehicles with green alternatives. That includes public transport, such as subway and tram, as well as bicycles and electric car. Opting for one of those transportation methods, whenever it seems suitable and convenient, will reduce CO2 emission and the overall level of air pollution.

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To sum up, air pollution causes a wide range of serious health abnormalities in one’s body. It severely affects the respiratory system, leading to some complications. According to comprehensive research, air pollution damages the lungs and impairs their development in a child’s system. Furthermore, it can cause lung cancer, as well as some other dangerous non-lung cancer forms. Moreover, these particles can cause many heart conditions, as it is not uncommon to observe elevated levels of blood pressure among people living in air-polluted regions. Therefore, air pollution leads to the gradual destruction of an individual’s health and well-being. Reducing air pollution and implementing more green initiatives will contribute to society’s sustainable development and allow future generations to live healthier and happier lives.

Works Cited

Cohen, Gali, et al. “Chronic Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Cancer Incidence among 10,000 Patients Undergoing Percutaneous Coronary Interventions: A Historical Prospective Study.” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, vol. 25, no. 6, 2018, pp. 659-670.

Hamra, Ghassan B., et al. “Lung Cancer and Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide and Traffic: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 123, no. 11, 2015, pp. 1-6.

Korten, Insa, et al. “Air pollution during pregnancy and lung development in the child.” Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, vol. 21, 2017, pp. 38-46.

Orellano, Pablo, et al. “Effect of outdoor air pollution on asthma exacerbations in children and adults: Systematic review and multilevel meta-analysis.” PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 3, 2017. Web.

Turner, Michelle C., et al. “Ambient Air Pollution and Cancer Mortality in the Cancer Prevention Study II.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 125, no. 8, 2017, pp. 1-10.

Yang, Bo Y., et al. “Global Association Between Ambient Air Pollution and Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Environmental pollution, vol. 235, 2018, pp. 576-588.

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