How air pollution affects your health

Air pollution refers to the release of harmful substances or pollutants into the air which are detrimental to human health and the planet as a whole.

Air pollution is determined as the presence of pollutants in the air for long periods. Pollutants are harmful solids, liquids, or gases produced that reduce the quality of our environment. Social, economic, and lifestyle habits are related to this major problem.

The interactions between humans and their physical surroundings comprise of human activities that influence the environment. Human activities have an adverse effect on the environment by polluting the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the soil in which plants grow.

Air pollution has various health effects. The health of individuals can be impacted even on low air pollution days. Short-term exposure to air pollutants is related to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma, respiratory disease, and high rates of hospitalization.

The long-term effects associated with air pollution are chronic asthma, pulmonary insufficiency, cardiovascular diseases, and cardiovascular mortality.

Air pollution mainly affects those living in large urban areas. The industrial revolution has introduced the production of huge quantities of pollutants released into the air that are harmful to human health.

In developing countries, the problem is more serious due to overpopulation and uncontrolled urbanization together with the development of industrialization. This leads to poor air quality, especially in countries with lack of information on sustainable management of the environment.

The use of fuels such as wood fuel or solid fuel for domestic needs due to low incomes exposes people to bad quality, polluted air at home. Most people around the world are using the above sources of energy for their daily heating or cooking need.

Pollution is occurring both in urban and rural areas due to the fast industrialization, urbanization, and rise in use of motorcycle transportation.

Majority of environmental pollutants are released through large-scale human activities such as the use of industrial machinery, combustion engines, and cars. These activities are performed at a large scale, and are by far the major contributors to air pollution, with cars responsible for approximately 80% of today’s pollution.

Major sources of pollution include the emission of pollutants from power stations, refineries, the chemical and fertilizer industries, industrial plants, and indoor sources like domestic cleaning activities, dry cleaners, printing shops, and petrol stations.

Mobile sources of pollution include automobiles, cars, railways, airways, and other types of vehicles. Natural sources of pollution include physical disasters such as forest fire, volcanic eruptions, storms, and forest fires.

Pollution is classified into radioactive and nuclear pollution. This occurs from releasing radioactive and nuclear pollutants into water, air, and soil during nuclear explosions, from nuclear weapons, and through disposal of radioactive sewage.

Radioactive materials can contaminate the surface water bodies and several radioactive substances such as radium and uranium concentrate in the bones and can cause cancers.

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