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Is Air Pollution Becoming Our Number One Public Health Challenge?

From Andrew Charalambous

The menace of air pollution cannot be over emphasized. It has managed to cause havoc from a personal level to the whole society at large. Efforts to curb air pollution are usually met with great challenges like limited resources, ignorance, greed and corruption. There has been a raised concern on the deteriorating condition of the environment which is even affecting the younger generation. Air borne diseases like TB and asthma, and even worse chronic conditions like lung cancer are all the ugly side effects of air pollution. Dense smoke emitting from factories is the picture that comes into mind when speaking of air population. But pollution may also take subtler forms which may be noticed or not by man. Actually, any foreign body introduced to the atmosphere which is damaging is qualified to be called an air pollutant.

The main form of pollution to the environment is carbon dioxide emitted from cars, planes and industrial factories. Human activities over the past century have caused a serious raise in the atmospheric levels compared to past years. The ozone layer is also affected by release of methane which was even later banned because of its harmful effects. In reality, air pollution can now be safely termed as a number one public health challenge. Other natural processes may also be a contributing factor to air pollution. Volcanoes release high amounts of sulfur dioxide which may hang on the air and cause effects in human life and livestock even long after the eruption. The effects of air pollution are felt by everyone including

  • Depletion of ozone layer; the ozone layer needs to be in good shape for the well-being of the eco-system. But the emissions of harmful and destructive gases into the atmosphere have caused an imbalance in the atmosphere, destroying the ozone layer which is supposed to protect life on earth from extreme weather. This has been called the worst nightmare the world will have to face when dealing with air pollution.
  • Air borne diseases; asthma is intensified when a sufferer is exposed to contaminated air. New- borns are also affected by contaminated air which may give rise to health complications even in future.
  • Unhealthy foods as a result of chemicals form fertilizers; the 21st century is evident proof of conditions arising from polluted food products. The earth has been so depleted of its nutrients so much that agriculture has to depend on chemically filled fertilizers for better produce. Tumors and growths are often the result of consumption of such unhealthy foods.
  • Acid rain; rain should be beneficial aspect of climatic change, but this is not often the causes in times of acid rain. Harmful gases which result in acid rain case great damage to animals and crops as well as human life.

There is the visible and invisible part of air pollution that needs to be addressed both by the government and individuals on a personal level. Home owners should be ready to adopt recycling habits and industries reduce carbon emissions

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Andrew Charalambous the the blog or Andrew Charalambous twitter account