One of the biggest environmental concerns today is air pollution. It is best described as particles with the air that can damage the health of humans, animals, and plants. Dictionary wise, the presence in or introduction into the air of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects.
Air pollution can originate from many places including car emissions, chemicals produced by favorites, and some more common forms like mold spores, dust, and pollen. These particles become suspended in the air creating air pollution. We know it as smog, which is created when sunlight reacts with chemicals produced by burning fossil fuels, this combination results in smoky skies that make it difficult to breathe or see. Which can lead to respiratory disease and premature death.
There are two types of air pollution indoor and outdoor. Outdoor air pollution is what I described earlier and are things that we interact with outside our homes and other buildings. This type of air pollution can become extremely dangerous once it reaches the indoors because of how concentrated the air is inside and it is not as well ventilated as the outdoors.
Millions of people around the world prepare their meals using traditional methods that involve burning organic materials such as wood, charcoal, coal, dung, and crop wastes on open fires. These produce smoke and ash which can take a while to leave the air inside your home and when you’re constantly cooking using these methods the amount of air pollutants inside can increase causing health problems. According to WHO these problems cause about 4.3 million people a year die from exposure to indoor air pollution.
Besides cooking methods, there are other causes of indoor air pollution. The leading cause of indoor air pollution is asbestos which is most commonly found in coatings, paints, building materials, and ceiling and floor tiles. However, this is only a problem if you live in an older home as products made after 1990 do not contain the hazardous material. Radon and formaldehyde can also cause indoor air pollution. There are living indoor pollutants such as mildew, mold, bacteria, and dust mites that can produce spore that put your household in danger. There are even some objects that you have in your house right now but could be creating air pollution, such as space heaters which produce carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide which decrease the amount of oxygen in the body.
As stated above, the effects of air pollution can be deadly. Some pollutants, like asbestos and lead, are known carcinogens, meaning they can cause cancer. They can even cause brain and nerve damage, kidney failure, anemia, and damage your cardiovascular system. Living air pollutants can cause infectious diseases and you’ll experience asthma symptoms, throat irritation, and the flu.