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01 Dec
  • Editorial Team
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Pollution is generally described as the presence of substances or particles that cause a deterioration in the quality, causing harmful and poisonous effects. Today, pollution is a growing global problem, which if not tackled now, can have massive ramifications, and it could lead to a threat to our survival as a species. According to some studies; polluted air, water, and soil, kill nearly 9 million people yearly and looking at the current state of affairs, this number only appears to be increasing in the coming years. Over the past few years, sustatinable growth policies have started taking into account the ecological impact of pollution and steps are being taken to minimize the detremental effects.

Some major causes of air pollution are:

  1. Industrial Emissions: Most common air pollutants are usually produced by industrial processes. Industries are heavy users of fossil fuels, resulting in particulates, ozone and nitrogen oxides that are extremely harmful to our respiratory system.

  2. Transportation Emissions: Transportation like cars, planes, and ships derive energy from burning fossil fuels. The process releases pollutants into the air like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, etc. which are toxic air pollutants, and they affect the ozone layer as well.

  3. Agricultural Waste Burning: Farmers use machinery that runs by burning fossil fuels. The cattle that they raise for food also produce methane from the waste they discharge from their bodies. This methane arises from intestinal gases, but eventually accumulates into the atmosphere adding to the greenhouse effect.

  4. Heating and Ventilation Systems: These systems releases CFCs which contribute to ozone depletion and global warming. Moreover, home heating and cooling systems depend on combusting fossil fuels, leading to particulate pollution. If these systems operate on electricity, it will put a similar load on the power plants that run on coal. In fact, according to a recent Greenpeace report, the huge demand for coal by Indian thermal power plants is causing critical healthcare issues for Indians, because India is the world's second largest coal burner after China.

  5. Wood Fire Cooking: Burning wood is still a primary source of energy in many parts of our country. Cooking on wood fire releases particulates which are small enough to enter the lungs and cause serious damage.

  6. Aerosols and CFCs: Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released from aerosols, refrigerators, and air conditioners were a major cause of the destruction of the ozone layer that protects us from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Their production has been banned in the United States since 1995, and consequently in many other countries. 


 

Source: Delhi doctors declare pollution emergency as smog chokes city

Health Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution can lead to disastrous consequences for human health. The Indian Medical Association has confirmed that the air quality in Delhi is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. Constant exposure to air pollution can have adverse effects on human health, such as:

  1. Lung and respiratory diseases

  2. Leukaemia and various cancers

  3. Birth and immune system defects

  4. Cardiovascular problems, stroke and heart diseases

  5. Neurobehavioral disorders

  6. Premature death

What can we do?

We may not be able to fully control the polluted air our atmosphere, but we can definitely control the quality of air indoors. There is a host of measures that can be undertaken to allow better air quality in our homes:

  1. Indoor Plants: A simple measure of investing in indoor greens can add some much-needed oxygen to your house. Plants like Philodendron, Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Rubber plant can help eliminate toxins for indoors and purify indoor air.

  2. Usage of Air Purifiers: If you live in a congested area, you may not want to open your doors and windows too much for fear of more pollution. In such conditions, air purifiers can help maintain ventilation and hygiene. However, make sure to clear the filters each week or fortnight (depending on where you stay and which purifier you are using) to get the best results.

  3. Keep Doors and Windows Closed: Keeping doors and windows closed can be of help if you live in areas where air quality is already poor. It helps control the inflow of dust and particulates, thereby restricting chances of breathing polluted air.

  4. Clean and Maintain your Heating and Cooling Systems: Most often, non-maintenance of heating and cooling systems release dust, pollen, pathogens and particulates into the air, causing more harm than breathing natural air. It is important to clean and maintain these systems at regular intervals to ensure good health and pollution free zones.


 

While haphazard growth and expansion has caused massive changes to our ecology, the Government of India has also launched initiatives to curb pollution. They vary in impact but are essential to maintaining better air quality and ensure growth and survival of citizens, animals and environment, a few of the popular initiatives are:

  1. Incentives for alternative fuels like CNG

  2. Periodic monitoring of local air quality

  3. Promotion of electric vehicles

  4. Shift to BS-VI from BS-IV fuels in Delhi/ NCR as Delhi has very poor air quality

  5. Ban on stubble burning to reduce carbon monoxide and particulate emissions

  6. Ban on waste burning

Protecting yourself from days with high to extremely high pollution:

  1. Avoid outdoor exercises when pollution is higher than normal

  2. Avoid travel during peak hours; use public transport or carpool

  3. Use A/Cs in recirculation mode

  4. Don’t smoke cigarettes or hookah

  5. Don't burn wood or trash

  6. Wear an anti-pollution mask

Pollution results in loss of habitat, severe diseases, and a reduction in average life expectancy around the world, more so in developing countries. Pollution is emerging as a leading cause of deaths in the post-modern world where deaths caused by pollution are greater than several other deadly diseases combined. In such a grim scenario, it is critical that we take stock of the situation and ensure that all our actions are aimed at reducing pollution and minimising the detremental impact of our actions. 

Did You Know

Disbursement

The act of paying out money for any kind of transaction is known as disbursement. From a lending perspective this usual implies the transfer of the loan amount to the borrower. It may cover paying to operate a business, dividend payments, cash outflow etc. So if disbursements are more than revenues, then cash flow of an entity is negative, and may indicate possible insolvency.

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