Presence of pollutants in the air is
called air pollution. These pollutants are poison for the human body and seriously damage the
The pollutants in the air
1. Particulate Matter, divided as per size:
Ø Particulate Matter 10: Gets trapped in the nose or
windpipe and is exhaled through coughing.
Ø Particulate Matter 2.5: These go down to the most
peripheral parts of the lungs and gets deposited there. They induce several local reactions and release a
large number of chemicals that go into the blood and reach every organ in the body through blood
Ø Less than 1: Same as Particulate Matter
2. Gaseous Substances: These consist of Carbon Monoxide,
Sulphur Oxide, Nitrogen Oxide, organic compounds, hydrocarbons, ozone and other substances. These are proven
to be carcinogenic. They enter through to the lungs, get absorbed into the blood and cause damage throughout
of Air Pollution
Ø Burning of fossil fuels
Ø Automobile Exhaust
Ø Burning of garbage and landfill
Ø Smoke emitting industries
Ø Coal fired power plants
Ø Dust from construction sites
Ø Dust from roadsides
Impact of Air Pollution
The worst affected are children, elderly
and pregnant women.
Ø Under-development of lungs and brain, pneumonia, cancers
and premature deaths.
Ø Under-development of cognitive abilities due to
Ø Premature hypertension.
Ø Under-development of lung capacity
Ø Congenital defects
Ø Low birth-weight babies
Ø Death of child during pregnancy
Ø Premature labour
Ø Problems after birth
Adverse impact on reproductive system
including low sperm counts.
Ø Neuro-inflammation and 5-10 times higher incidence of
Ø Redness, irritation, watering and infections of
Ø Irritation and allergies of nose and
Ø Soreness of throat and throat infections
Ø 5-10 times higher incidence of
Ø Difficulty in breathing
Ø Chest pain and tightness
Ø Chest infections
Ø Chronic Bronchitis
Ø Chronic destructive pulmonary disease
Ø Lung cancer
Precautions to be taken
Ø Wearing masks of N95 or N99 grade worn snugly around the
nose and mouth. However, people complain of feeling suffocated when worn for long time since the exhaled
carbon dioxide is rebreathed. Gives protection only as long as it is worn.
Ø People should develop the habit of turning off the engine
when stuck in traffic. This ensures that at least for the limited time, emissions are in
Ø Try to fill up fuel at night so that less fuel evaporates
when you have your tank open.
Ø Reduce car load. Take off things from the car which are
not wanted during the trip.
Ø Limit the use of candles and agarbattis, even if they are
sold as herbal.
Ø Vacuum clean your house thoroughly so as to get rid of
Ø Avoid hanging dry cleaned clothes in the closet. Instead,
hang them in open air for a day or two before taking to the closet. The dry-cleaning entails use of
Perchloroethylene, a liquid solvent which is a known carcinogen.
Ø Use a good air purifier. Avoid those which emit
formaldehyde or ozone which are also air pollutants.
1. Decline in burning of fossil fuels and garbage and shift
to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.
2. En masse shift to public transport in order to control
3. Reduction in the amount of municipal waste
4. Better disposal of generated municipal
No matter how difficult the actions required
to contain air pollution are, the cost of inaction is disease, disability and premature