Climate change can be witnessed everywhere, from melting glaciers to extreme weather events. A major contributor to climate change is pollution. There are different types of pollution – water pollution, soil pollution, plastic pollution, light pollution, noise pollution, etc. In this blog, I will be focusing on one of the most common and deadly pollution out there, air pollution.
Disheartening Stats About Air Pollution
There are so many diseases and illnesses that are caused by air pollution. In major cities, young children are developing severe respiratory diseases without smoking or any other such related activities. As per the report published by Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, death related to ambient air pollution counts for 40% of all pollution-related deaths. India and China account for nearly 30% and 24% of global deaths caused by outdoor air pollution. Air pollution is a major threat in developed countries like the UK and the USA as well. In the UK air pollution causes nearly 40 thousand premature death each year and costs the government approximately £40 billion each year. In the US, nearly 60% of their population lives in areas that have poor air quality. Do we want a future where we must buy indoor air-filled purified cans so that we can breathe safely outside?
Air Pollution and Health Problems
- 29% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer
- 17% of all deaths and disease from an acute lower respiratory infection
- 24% of all deaths from stroke
- 25% of all deaths and disease from ischaemic heart disease
- 43% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
These are scary numbers when you think about it. The air we need to breathe to live can also be extremely hazardous to our health.
Air Pollution – Who’s Fault and How Do We Move Forward?
There is no doubt that humans are causing this unprecedented amount of air pollution. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us have had to stay inside. This meant fewer cars on the streets, polluting industries shut down and flights canceled. All of which have resulted in a clean blue sky. Many reports are coming out that showcase how much pollution levels have decreased in these last couple of months. Just go on social media, numerous posts are talking about how beautiful the sky looks. All this possible when there are not many human activities on earth. It is a sign that once the pandemic ends, we need to lead a more responsible consumption and production life. Otherwise, we risk everyone one of our future generations to have respiratory problems.
How do we reduce the negative impact of air pollution? To start, we need to stop cutting down our forests and trees, the natural reserve that provides us with so much clean air, while also removing toxic gases like carbon dioxide. Polluting industries need to start taking responsibility towards mother earth and start following much stricter environmental policies and guidelines. If they fail to act on their own, governments need to intervene and ensure strict punishments are served. If we want to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 – Climate Action, changes need to start happening now. Otherwise, we risk living most of our lives inside because the air outside is too toxic to breathe.
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