ECO-awareness

 

Our Environment Matters -

Air Pollution

 air pollution

Imminent Domain maybe a work of fiction, but Climate change isn’t. TEAM ID believes in the need to be more pro-active and sensitive towards protecting the world’s wildlife and taking care of our environment. Our goal is to bring attention to the present and future environmental issues facing our planet. We believe that it is our responsibility to help foster awareness of environmental concerns by promoting recycling, conservation, re-use and other environmental improvements that foster a sustainable future and lead to social and economical improvements.

 What is Air Pollution?

Simply put; air pollution means the presence of toxic chemicals or compounds (including those from biological origin) in the air at levels of health risk. In an even broader sense, air pollution means the presence of chemicals or compounds in the air which are usually not present and which lower the air quality for breathing or damage other conditions supporting life.

Air pollution causes are mostly due to various human activities (including industry, construction, transport, agriculture, mining & smelting, etc.). However, natural processes such as volcanic eruptions and wildfires can also pollute the air, but their occurrence is seldom and they usually have a localized effect. Human activities, however, are ever-present and happen every day.

 Air pollution effects vary widely from simply coughing or the irritation of respiratory tract to asthma, and other chronic diseases. Skin problems and irritation may also develop due to air pollution. Additionally, serious diseases such as a variety of cancers (including pulmonary and other type of cancer) may develop due to exposure to air pollutants (mainly though inhalation).

What Does Air Pollution Mean to Each of Us?

There is no doubt that the air of our planet become polluted everyday. But what does this really mean for each of us?  Air pollution is probably one of the most serious environmental problems confronting our civilization today. This is because it may affect all of us without leaving much choice to avoid it. So, it is not surprising that we hear more and more about air pollution, big city smog, poor quality of our air, global warming, etc.

Some Facts About Air Pollution

  • Probably the most significant fact is that while we can choose what we eat and drink, we cannot choose the air we are breathing. Thus any of us can be exposed at one time or another to pollutants through the air we inhale. The effects of our exposure to air contaminants may vary based on the exposure dose: some may appear immediately while others could develop over a long time since the exposure started.
  • Pollutants travel in the air fast and are easily spreading around over large areas affecting many people even in their homes; a release of toxic compounds to the air cannot be contained. It may spread over large areas fast and pollute even remote areas with little or no human activity.
  • Indoor air poses more health risk than the outdoor air. While polluted air may diffuse everywhere and the ambient air may pose an overall health risk, various pollutants concentrate in enclosed spaces with no or poor air circulation such as indoors. This is why, exposure to various air pollutants usually happens indoors
    • In many cases, exposure to polluted air is not perceived by any of our senses. This is because the concentrations of pollutants in air that may create health risks are usually much below what we, as humans, can smell, see, or taste. This is why, for example, the butane gas from cooking stoves or the natural gas coming from pipelines has some additives (substances) that give them a scent we can detect.
    • Everyday household products such as glues, paints, cleaning and polishing agents, perfumes, sprays, etc. constitute sources for polluting our indoor air. This is because all these products may contain one or more toxic chemicals (such as organic solvents) that could volatilize into the indoor air polluting it. This is why it is always wise to minimize their use to what is strictly necessary, while keeping such products tightly closed and in separate storage cabinets away from the rooms where you spend most of the time.
    • Printers and copy machines may also pollute the air.   This is because of the volatilization of organic chemicals from inks due to the heating that occurs by the function of such machines. This is why it is safe to have a separate room with printers and copy machines and keep good air ventilation in the office.
    • Vapor Intrusion means the intrusion in the indoor air of various toxic chemicals (in gaseous forms) volatilizing from the subsurface environment (below buildings) such as groundwater and soil. This is probably one of the most serious environmental problems confronting today’s society because it may affect houses at various distances from pollution source (contaminants travel with groundwater) and also because it is hard for inhabitants to suspect any air pollution issues and there is not much to do to avoid exposure except always keep a good air ventilation.

 Some Diseases associated with Air Pollution

 

The effects of air pollution involve a large variety of illnesses starting with the simple irritation of eyes, nose mouth and throat or reduced energy levels, headache and dizziness, but also involving more serious conditions of which the most common are:

· Respiratory and lung diseases including:

 Asthma attacks

 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease –COPD

 Reduced lung function

 Pulmonary cancer – caused by a series of carcinogen chemicals that through inhalation

 Mesothelioma – a particular type of lung cancer, usually associated with exposure to asbestos (it usually occurs 20-30 years after the initial exposure)

 Pneumonia

Leukemia – a sort of blood cancer usually associated to exposure of benzene vapors (through inhalation)

Birth defects and immune system defects

Cardiovascular problems, heart diseases and stroke (an increased risk especially due to particulate matter)

Neurobehavioral disorders - neurological problems and developmental deficits due to air toxins such as mercury (which is the only volatile metal in elemental form)

Liver and other types of cancer – caused by breathing carcinogenic volatile chemicals.

 AirPollution 2

10 WAYS WE CAN START REDUCING AIR POLLUTION RIGHT NOW…

  1. Conserve energy – turn off appliances and lights when you leave the room.
  2. Recycle paper, plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans. (This conserves energy and reduces production emissions.)
  3. Buy green electricity-produced by low-or even zero-pollution facilities.
  4. Connect your outdoor lights to a timer or use solar lighting.
  5. Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.
  6. Choose not to smoke in your home, especially if you have children. If you or your visitors must smoke, then smoke outside.
  7. Choose products that have less packaging and are reusable.
  8. Shop with a canvas bag instead of using paper and plastic bags.
  9. Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.
  10. When possible, use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike.

 

TEAM ID believes that we can all make a difference. We can make the world a better place.  All we need to do is: try.