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Air Pollution: How it Affects Our Lungs and Our Environment

If you live in a crowded, congested area, you are most likely very familiar with air pollution. It usually takes on the form of brown haze over a town, highway, or other congested areas that contain a lot of factories. Some aren’t seen, but its gross smell is definitely noticeable. 

This is a major threat to global health and prosperity. Air pollution is responsible for more than 6.5 million deaths each year globally, according to an article from The Lancet.

If you’re exposed to high levels of pollution, you may experience a rapid onset of symptoms. These can range from irritated airways to feeling out of breath and coughing. According to many studies, women, children, and older adults living in urban environments are the most affected by the quality of air more than any other groups of people. It can cause breast cancer, cause problems for pregnant women, and lead to birth defects in babies. Older adults can develop different dementia diseases, as well as a number of other neurological disorders. The diagram below shows how pollution affects our lungs.

It also affects our environment by reducing visibility and blocking sunlight, causing acid rain, and harming our forests and wildlife. Greenhouse gas emission is the leading cause of climate change and affects the entire planet. 

Not only does this pollution negatively affect the human respiratory system, but it can also affect the lungs of animals as well. This can also lead to skin and neurological problems. 

Plants and crops grow less when exposed to long-term pollution, and ozone pollution can damage the stomata of the plant, the pores on the underside of the leaves that allow them to “breathe.” 

Obviously, improving air quality is very important in order to reduce bad health and environmental issues. Fossil fuel plants are one of the leading causes of pollution since coal and oil-powered plants emit harmful fumes into the atmosphere. Planting more trees and stopping the use of fossil fuels can help put an end to so many of these issues. 

For more information, visit the links below:

Air Pollution and Your Health (nih.gov)

What are the effects of air pollution on your lungs? | Asthma + Lung UK (blf.org.uk)

How Air Pollution Impacts the Human Brain and Other Organs (nationalgeographic.com)

Effects of Air Pollution | Center for Science Education (ucar.edu)

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