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Causes of Air Pollution

Air pollution is caused by several factors, such as the contamination by chemicals and biological agents. Combustion devices such as motor vehicles and factories emitting smoke and are becoming the major source of air pollution. Chemical pollutants such as carbon monoxides and depletion of ozone layer have resulted in various respiratory disorders in animals and humans. Forest fires are the natural sources of air pollution. Air pollution has resulted in several of disorders and is also a threat to climate (Caminade et al 2019). It has led to stroke and pulmonary diseases. Air pollution has minimized the productivity of workers and has also resulted in premature death and rise in the number of hospital admissions. Air pollution has ultimately resulted in climate changes in various parts of the earth. The problem that arose due to climate change is due to the increase in the amount of carbon in water (Zorpas 2020). The major causes of environmental problems are deforestation, extinction of species, soil degradation, and overpopulation. Many of the species have been extinct because of the poaching and being hunted. Fine particulate matter has caused serious threats to a variety of human disorders, and it has impacted behavioral and lifestyle changes. It is vital to have a safe environment for better survival and to have a healthy life. Climate change occurs because of changes in environmental conditions. Toxicology of air pollution affects the health of plants and animals (Genchi et al. 2020). The toxic substances of air get mixed with soil through rainwater and this deteriorates the plants. Air pollution has been found to create serious conditions of cardiovascular diseases. The report will shed light upon various needs and problems associated to the problem of air pollution and its impact on environmental health. Also opportunities will be discussed to address the problem per se. The importance and impact on environmental health will also be taken into consideration.

It is concerned with the natural as well as a man-made environment that usually affects health of human beings. Environmental health is mainly concerned with the benefit of human health. Few disciplines that come under environmental health include environmental science and environmental epidemiology (Thompson et al. 2020). The aspects that affect human health are by the spread of various diseases through air and thus affect environmental health. It also impacts behavior of an individual or any animal because of physical, chemical and biological factors. Environmental epidemiology is referred to factors such as radiation and microbiological agents that affect human health (Gollakota 2021). Exposure science is also a part of environmental health; this is very specific to chemicals that can affect health. For survival, living beings need clean air and water. Environmental health has been categorized into the different types: health impacts, quality of air, and water and sanitation. It has been observed that environmental health has impacted human health; for example, contamination of poly-fluoroalkyl substances in soil has led to human health risks through consumption of such contaminated vegetables (Sleep et al. 2021). The usage of pesticides in farming has resulted in deterioration of human health.

Impact on Human Health

It is important to have a clean and safe environment for better survival. A safe and healthy environment is required for good health, and it is vital to understand health issues in a broader context. Pollution is threatening several living beings across the globe and the contamination of air and water has led to several disorders (Moura and Guimar 2019). Contaminated water has been a risk to diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Climate change is another factor that increases health risks, and it not only affects humans but also threatens wildlife and survival of microbes (Moura and Guimar 2019). Figure 1 determines various determinants that affect health and well-being of climate change and biodiversity.

 Determinants of health and well-being

Figure 1: Determinants of health and well-being

Source: https://www.ehinz.ac.nz/indicators/overview/what-is-environmental-health/

Impact of air pollution on environment

Particulate matter is very minute particles that usually enter respiratory system of humans and cause problems during inhalation and exhalation. The ozone layer of the stratosphere has been observed to be diminishing because of air pollutants. The ozone layer is a protective layer that saves humans from harmful Ultraviolet radiation (UV) (Ahmad et al. 2022). UV radiation is destructive to eyes and skin. The emission of carbon monoxide from automobiles has been considered the most harmful substance that can provoke direct poisoning. Heavy metals are also a leading cause of various disorders in humans, such as minimal disease. This problem can be handled through public awareness. Shortness of breath, sneezing, and asthma have resulted because of air pollution, and greater rates of hospitalization have been observed (Aslam et al. 2022). Air pollutants have been observed to have long-term effects that can appear in early human life, for example, mental and perinatal disorders. In developing countries such as Iran, India and Indonesia, the poor quality of air is due to overpopulation, industrialization and rapid urbanization (Sharma et al. 2018). This has resulted in poor air quality due to less knowledge on sustainable management of the environment. These countries mostly use wood fuel that exposes the quality of air. With the great and rapid development in developing countries, female members involved in household seem to be at greater risk for development of diseases. Lung cancer has been observed with fine particles, and China is observed to have lung cancer mortality (Yang et al. 2020). The majority of air pollution has been observed in India, and air quality records hazardous levels. One of the most polluted cities in India is New Delhi and mainly caused due to sulphur dioxide and smoke (Sharma et al. 2018).

 According to a report, sulphur dioxide and smoke caused deaths of nearly about four thousand people in London in 1952 (Read et al. 2019). The same incident took place in New York City in 1963; around four hundred people died because of air pollution (Read et al. 2019). The death was closely related because of levels of very fine, inhalable and sulphate particles. Examples of a few countries that have been observed to have greater levels of pollution are Mexico City and Rio De Janerio. Air pollution has affected ecosystems and also crop yield (Read et al. 2019). With the presence of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in air, water creates acid that usually gets mixed up with water; when this acid rain falls, it deteriorates plants because of changing soil composition, and it deteriorates buildings. The quality of river water and lake water gets degraded because of acid rain; living beings living in aquatic habitats are also get affected by this. Global warming is one of the vital phenomena that are caused by natural as well as anthropogenic activities. The temperature rise is due burning of fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide gas is responsible for rise in temperature globally; chlorofluorocarbons and hydro fluorocarbons released by industries are sources of depletion of the ozone layer. Kyoto protocol was adopted in order to minimize carbon dioxide emissions (Gerden 2018). This protocol was adopted as an agreement between one hundred eighty-three. World Health Organization in year 2006 had issued novel Air Quality Guidelines in this regard (Gerden 2018).

Environmental Health and Its Types

Depending on level of public health impact, various types of interventions can be considered through technological means and through awareness. Government entities, along with private must ensure quality of air that can follow guidelines that have been adopted by various pollutants by the World Health Organization (WHO). Usage of catalytic convertors has been very beneficial in reducing the pollutants in air; this device is fixed in a car that assists in transforming toxic gases in less toxic pollutants (Sharma et al. 2022). During rush hour in Greece, it has been seen private cars has been banned from diminishing congestion as well as reducing air pollution (Gerden 2018). Air quality Limit Values (AQLVs), this value is issued with the help of planning claims. NAAQS is expanded as National Ambient Air Quality Standards; it supports air quality limit values in the United States (Kumari 2018). The European Directive usually recognizes geographical areas of risk that record emission sources and the magnitude of air pollution. Technological innovations can be implemented that are designed for effective air quality control.

Air pollution has been very toxicological to human health. There are various sources that can affect health, and it can be a small pack of cigarettes to large volcanic eruptions. A large volume of air pollutants are emitted by automobiles and due to industrial activities. Iran is a developing country, and the level of air pollution has enhanced with industrialization. This has reached to a higher level in few of megacities, for example, Tabriz, Karaj and Tehran (Rupani et al. 2019). In a report, it has been found that around 4.3 million individuals die from household air pollution activities. Ahvaz is known as the most air-polluted city across the globe; the pollutant particle is micro dust that blows from neighboring nations (Rupani et al. 2019). In Tehran, according to a report, it has been found that almost four thousand four hundred sixty demises have taken place and is getting worse every year. Air pollution has been observed to have cardiovascular dysfunction, and alterations in white blood cell counts have been observed. In a study, it has been found that there is a close relationship between higher blood pressure and air pollution. Neuropsychiatric complications also arise because of suspended toxic particles in air, and this has caused much of a damaging effect on the nervous system. Devastating consequences have been observed in infants that generally result in aggressiveness and antisocial behaviors. In a study, it has been observed that there is a link between air pollution, age in appropriate behaviors and criminal activity. Skin is known as the largest organ of the body, and it is a main defensive organ that acts as a barrier for pathogens and other particles to enter the body. Ageing of skin and pigmentation occurs because of the particulate matter in air. Poor air quality can cause various complications in the immune system, for example, abnormal enhancement of immunoglobulins. Dry eye problems can arise, and it has a severe effect that results in major blinding. Figure 2 represents long term and short term effects caused due to air pollution.

Climate Change and Biodiversity

 Health effects of air pollution

Figure 2: Health effects of air pollution

Source: https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2018/11/14/health-matters-air-pollution-sources-impacts-and-actions/

Toxicology of Air pollution

The toxic effect of air pollution is not limited to humans, but it also includes plants and animals living in an ecosystem. Several geographical conditions affect health as well as the environment. Air pollution has been observed to cause serious deterioration to groundwater, soil and air. Particle pollutants are a great source of air pollutants; these particles get mixed easily with pulmonary and cardiac morbidity and lead to the death of an individual. The size range of these particles is 2.5 to 10 μm (Ghio et al. 2018). Pollutant particles that are smaller in size easily reach the respiratory tract and thus, possess much potential for a leading cause of heart and lungs disorders. Breathing problems are much more prevalent; along with this, people are observed to have wheezing, coughing and dry mouth. Ground-level ozone is believed to have been linked with an enhanced risk of respiratory disorders, specifically asthma.

Conclusion

Air pollution has impacted the environment as well human health. It has caused several disorders in human that has resulted in death of individual. The deaths have been majorly observed, particularly in developing countries such as Iran and Iraq. The policymakers and recommendations need to update their laws and regulations concerning air pollution. An effective environment protection organization must have financial administration that can regulate environment along with air pollution. For survival, humans require clean air and water. Environmental health has been divided into various types: health impacts, quality of air, and water and sanitation; these are necessities that are important for leading a healthy life. Use of catalytic converters has been especially valuable in decreasing the pollutants in air; this apparatus is clinched in an automobile that helps in converting poisonous gases in slight toxic pollutants. In Greece, during peak time use of private cars has been banned to reduce the emission of pollutants as well as congestion. Air quality Limit Values (AQLVs) this value is administered with the service of planning claims. The major problem observed with air pollution is exhalation and inhalation. Higher release of chlorofluorocarbons and particulate matter has resulted in depletion of the ozone layer, which has provided a bad experience for various disorders such as skin cancer and problem in eyes. Environment has also been affected by air pollution; gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides have been observed in the depletion of the ozone layer.

References

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Aslam, R., Sharif, F., Baqar, M., Nizami, A.S. and Ashraf, U. 2022. Role of ambient air pollution in asthma spread among various population groups of Lahore City: a case study. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, pp. 1-16. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-022-19086-1

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