Face masks that cover the nose and mouth aren’t a new development of a viral pandemic like COVID-19. In a shockingly large number of cities worldwide, masks have been a part of public hygiene for a long time. These are everyday items for a lot of Asian communities.
The reluctance to travel without masks comes from the spread of airborne diseases and the effects of pollution. Simply put, Air pollution is an environmental issue that is generated because of an increase in contaminants.
Air Pollution can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. It is essential to understand it in a scientifically accurate way and know what you can do to stay as far away from these effects as possible. Although you might have to make significant efforts to reverse some of its symptoms, it’s worth it for a healthy life. Some effects of Air Pollution are irreversible. It would require a conscious collective effort to improve air quality.
Let’s dive in!
The real reason behind Air Pollution
Air Pollution is a global issue that has led to massive research and groundwork by scientists and climate change activists. Reliable research has pointed out the biggest causes of this issue :
- Repercussions of emissions from manufacturing plants and similar industries
- Release of contaminants and pollutants from an ever-increasing number of vehicles
- Use of fossil fuels and natural gas for household and industrial purposes.
- Worsening climatic conditions have led to the warming up of the earth, or global warming, which causes wildfires.
- Agricultural and maintenance activities include crop burning, garbage burning, and more.
All of these activities lead to increased elements in the air composition, which is harmful to every living being. Although necessary, an imbalance in these elements, i.e. a higher concentration of them, can be detrimental. Some of these substances are- Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, and Lead.
How to identify air quality?
Air quality is measured in different ways around the globe. For example, it could be in levels 1 to 10 or AQI colours from Green to Red. Thankfully, reliable AI can help you identify air quality and whether it’s currently suitable for you or not.
According to the analysis of data collected internationally through reliable reports, India is the most polluted location in the world. On the other end of the scope lies Turkey, with the best air quality in the world.
Zero-carbon city designs and ideas have been under construction to accommodate the problems of population, space, development, and other requirements. However, since there are so many factors to consider, reaching a global solution to air pollution has been challenging.
What are some of the consequences of Air Pollution?
Air Pollution is a climatic issue that has spread across the globe with almost similar results everywhere.
Effects of Air Pollution on your mental health
- Concentration and Focus
- Mental exhaustion and fatigue
- Dementia and other mental disorders/diseases (in chronic cases)
- Mood fluctuations and irritability
Consequences of Air Pollution on your physical health
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Imbalanced blood pressure
- Increases inflammation
- Insulin resistance
- Cancer and other serious diseases (in chronic cases)
- Decrease in the quality of skin and hair health
Consequences of Air Pollution on the environment and ecology
- Decreases in natural life, such as plants and trees
- Increase in wildfires
- Threat to other species
- Decrease in the availability of quality food that isn’t filled with contaminants
Consequences of Air Pollution on society and economy
- Decrease in walkable spaces
- Lack of motivation to step outside and spend time in the natural environment
- Prospective work-from-home models as a future alternative to poor climatic conditions
- A decline in public health and well-being
- Increase in living costs due to worsening medical conditions and investment in anti-pollutant strategies
- Effects on fresh produce, crops, and more, affecting the quality of food
- Decrease in satisfaction, happiness, and health levels across the globe
Air Pollution is a social, economic, and environmental problem. You should check your air quality index regularly to be able to make long-term decisions about your ecological situation. It should happen while keeping your health status in consideration.
Preventive measures you can take to avoid the consequences of Air Pollution.
It’s obvious to want to look for preventive measures that are proven to work. It can keep you away from prospective harm.
1. Make changes to your clothing/attire
Wearing masks that cover your face and nose, head covers and caps, and general clothing that covers your body can help you stay protected from the contaminants in the air.
2. Make changes to your dietary lifestyle
Apart from taking care of your daily dietary requirements, you can use some supplements that contain vitamins and minerals that detoxify your system. In addition, forms of citrus and other nutrients can clear your body of toxins from air pollutants.
3. Stay away from polluted areas, if possible, permanently
Try to move away from the city and shift to the countryside. It means more open space, greenery, and better air.
4. Make sustainable choices
Every little impact counts. Reducing your carbon footprint, knowing where your products are sourced from, and a lot more are some actions you can take as a consumer to discourage the release of pollutants in the air.
5. Generate awareness
The more, the merrier. Spreading awareness may feel like a redundant task. However, a dedicated effort to create this can enable healthier choices for someone else too.
6. Stay away from habits that can make things worse
Try to stay away from practices like smoking. You should stop these practices, passively and otherwise, with air quality conditions.
7. Detoxify the air around you
Humidifiers, air purifiers, and indoor plants are not only great for the quality of air in your personal space and exceptional for modern home decor.
It may seem like a lot of research, but reliable information is just a click away on the internet. Slight tweaks for a couple of months will put you into a habit that will only improve your mental wellness. It is a significant investment.
How to protect individuals with vulnerable health from the consequences of Air Pollution
Those with vulnerable health, temporarily or permanently, need to take certain precautions that may involve changes ranging from minor to primary. So let’s identify these vulnerable groups first.
1. Pregnant/Lactating women are scientifically proven vulnerable to air pollution, leading to worse health. Not only is this a danger to their health, but it is also a danger to the child’s health. Multiple mental and physical disorders can develop in babies and children.
2. Elderly individuals can have a more challenging time dealing with air pollution. It is because, with age, your immune system can get weaker. It means a reduced ability to deal with such potent contaminants.
3. Individuals with mental health issues such as anxiety. Mental health issues affect your body, considering the connectivity of the brain and the body, which is being explored more every day.
4. Individuals with severe respiratory problems are especially vulnerable to Air Pollution. Their condition can worsen under persistent exposure to poor air quality.
Here are some alternatives to these problems-
Vulnerable groups should consider moving to areas that have more quality air. If that’s impossible, air purifiers and humidifiers are great options. Moreover, a little extra care for their health might do the job, too, if the symptoms are mild. Regular checkups, detoxes, and supplements that complete your daily nutritional needs are ideal.
Is there any hope of a return?
Thinking or reading about Air Pollution can be daunting. However, recent years have seen a wave of awareness, creating a conscious consumer. Habits and choices are changing. Here are a few steps being taken to tackle this situation before things get worse-
1. Encouragements to use sustainable business practices through subsidies, regulation of permits to environmental-friendly practices, and concessions have begun with innovation.
2. A shift to consumer purchase and behaviour practice is also witnessed. Consumers have shown an increased demand for sustainable options from clothing to food.
3. Organic farming has increased as the conscious consumer appreciates quality produce. It has been a great motivation for the sector focussing on retaining soil quality.
4. Multiple international accords, activism, and other methods of generating awareness and planning global action have been undertaken.
These advancements are a ray of hope. Still, there’s quite a journey to go through.
These actions have yet to be materialized. To fight the effects of air pollution, personal care is essential. Quality air means quality life. Therefore, it is important to deduce habits that can be accommodated into your lifestyle as long-term preventive measures.
Air Pollution should be taken seriously now more than ever. Vulnerable groups should focus on long-term solutions. Regular checkups should also be launched to assess the health situation. It’s challenging but not impossible!