Pollution, both indoor and outdoor, has dangerous effects on people. In the US, we have seen in media eye-catching photos of the streets of New Delhi and Beijing, where people where masks to move around the city. What we fail to realize it that the US is one of the most polluted nations.
The effects of pollution are many, with a lot of them being indirect consequences of pollution. But since it is hard to attribute certain indirect effects to the source, we will limit this post to direct effects of pollution that we can see with our very own eyes.
Acid rain is formed when pollutants released from the burning of hydrocarbons and petroleum combine with rain. Such fumes contain Sulphur and Nitrogen Oxide which cause environmental degradation. Acid Rain mainly affects forests and vegetation. This has subsequent negative effects to the ecosystem, and indirectly to human beings.
Inhaling polluted air causes respiratory infections that affect the lungs. It can cause inflammation, tissue scarring, and in extreme cases, lung cancer. Some people are also known to contract asthma from inhaling fumes outdoors. The situation is especially likely during times of winter when the smoke from pollution combines with fog to produce smog, which is especially dangerous for the respiratory system.
Pollutants such as Sulphur and NO aren’t air-borne all the time. In many cases, they combine with water sources such as lakes and rivers near human settlements. Such water sources are important sources for humans for activities such as drinking, washing and bathing. So if you think about it, these pollutants, in various forms, don’t just affect our lungs, but also our skin and digestive system.
Consistent exposure to pollutants and dust can affect the cornea and subsequently the retinal vision. There are extreme cases of contracting blindness from prolonged exposure to pollution and dust. Normal symptoms include blurry eyesight, mild irritation, itchy sensation and accumulation of water in the eyes.
Ozone Layer depletion
The Ozone layer is vital for humans and all other forms of life. It shields us from dangerous rays from the sun, which it filters out. Pollution causes the formation of compounds called Chloro-Flouro Carbons (CFCs), that cause a degradation of the ozone layer.
If you live in a city that has problems associated to traffic, excessive number of vehicles and pollution, ensure you take the right precautions. Wear a mask to cover your nose and eyes properly, so as not to let the dust particles enter your system.