AIR POLLUTION THE INVISIBLE KILLER

Air pollution is not a myth or a fairy tale politicians want us to think. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the deaths that air pollution causes are so many. In specific, 7 million people die every year.

Most of us may not realize what this actually means. In perspective pollutants in the air attack our body and causes strokes, heart diseases and even cancer.  

Air pollution the silent killer

WHO characterized air pollution as a ‘silent and invisible killer’. This is actually a very precise term as we can not see or hear it. Yet it causes millions of deaths every year. 

According to the statistics it causes one-third of the deadly diseases: lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease. 

Even if the problem is worse in developing countries, cities in developed countries are still not safe for us. In Europe, 60% of cities are not safe breathing air. However globally 90% of people living in cities are not breathing safe air.

How the air is getting dirty  

Air is getting ‘dirty’ with a number of different sources. One of the worse is transport: car emissions are actually the main reason for dirty air.

On the other hand, there are also natural sources such as dust. Yet human activities, such as deforestation and mining, are causing the highest level of dust.

Moreover, industry and energy supply are still great sources. As the global population is increasing we need to manufacture more products. Hence this will only lead to dirtier air.

But this also applies to potentially all sources of air pollution.

Air pollution may not always be visible, but it can be deadly. It is an invisible killer that lurks all around us, preying on the young and old. It is causing deaths from heart attack, strokes, lung diseases, and cancer. - WHO

Air pollution into your house too!

If you believe that inside your home is safe, then you should know this is not true. In fact, you might be in more danger in the case of poor ventilation. 

According to WHO, 3.8 million die every year from household air pollution. In addition, it is mainly created by using kerosene and solid fuels when cooking. 

However, the problem affects more children and women. In addition, pneumonia is the main cause of death for children under five years old. 

Where household air pollution is the main risk factor to cause pneumonia.

Air pollution and health

As the majority of the world population lives in cities, many lives are in danger. Hence 9  out of 10 people worldwide breath polluted air. 

Therefore the health problems are many and major. One of the most logical health issues is lung disease, such as cancer. So 43% of all lung diseases are cases due to polluted air.

On the other hand, strokes can also be the result of air pollution: 1 out of 4 cases. In addition, the heart is also similarly affected. In fact, 25% of heart disease deaths are because of polluted air.    

Solutions for clean air

Go green in urban but also in rural areas is the only solution for change. For example, traditional transportation should change with public transportation and cycling networks.
Green cities are becoming popular in developed countries. However, they aim to reduce energy and wastes.
 
Yet green cities are using clean technologies that produce fewer air emissions.
 
Since technologies and good practices are available, there are no more reasons no to act by the governments.
 
Therefore any public agency must act now for a greener city but mainly for healthier citizens.  
 
Keep learning. Keep growing.

Konstantia

Posted on 18/07/2018.

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