Impact of Air Pollution on Human Health

art-179-01-20

Air pollution not only degrades the environment, but also increases health problems

It has been long documented that air pollution poses a serious threat not only to the environment, but also to human health.

Many studies have shown that chemicals and particles found in air pollution are able to penetrate deep into lung passageways and enter the bloodstream, impacting a human’s cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory systems.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution is one of the major causes of death and diseases worldwide, as it is linked to an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths, primarily from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.

Short- and long-term exposure to this form of pollution can reduce lung function, increases respiratory infections and aggravates breathing problems such as asthma.

Air pollution is also associated with adverse birth outcomes, including low birth weight, pre-term birth and small gestational age births.

Of greater concern, there is emerging evidence suggesting that air pollution may affect diabetes and neurological development in children.

Given that more studies are discovering more evidence on the negative impact of air pollution on human health, it is very important that governments around the world is committed to tackling this environmental issue.

Moreover, with more countries reopening their economies following lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, both health and environmental experts are advising governments to incorporate more environmentally sustainable measures in implementing their development strategies.

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