There is “Something” in the Air
What do you say to God of Air Pollution? Not Today.
The air we breathe is made up of the gases that form Earth’s atmosphere, 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen and 1% with argon, carbon dioxide etc. The other particles present in the atmosphere as well are,
Soot, Pollen, Fog, Fine and coarse dust from roads, construction sites, forest fire or garbage smoke.
Harmful fine particles like Particulate Matter of size 1.0, 2.5, 10 microns and toxic gases such as carbon-di-oxide, carbon-mon-oxide, Nitrogen-di oxide, Sulphur-di oxide, Lead, Ammonia, Methane, Benzene. The concentration of these above particles, along with other pollutants such as ozone, sulfur is what dictates the air quality. The health effects of Air pollution are Pneumonia, Asthma, Respiratory infections among children of age 0–11, Lung cancer among adults, Pulmonary Diseases in Heart and Stroke.
The most important part of air pollution is simplifying the science and make it understandable, more relatable and of course conversational for citizens. Unless air pollution is discussed in chai (tea) shops, along side the other discussions such as cinema, unemployment, politics, it will take more than my life time to find its place in electoral issue.
Air Pollution- Why should it interest us all?
This question would come to our mind at some point of time. Here are the top reasons,
- When we breath dirty, polluted air we are more likely to become ill and develop problems in our health.
- It can often make us cough or make chest feel tight. If we suffer from asthma, we might think that air pollution makes your asthma worse. It is usually the very young, the elderly or people who have existing medical conditions are affected the most by poor air quality.
- Air pollution can also make the environment less attractive to visitors and can cause damage to the beautiful historic buildings we have in India.
- Air pollution over the years could affect the lungs and cause respiratory problems and might aggravate other disease too. According to the recent study published in Lancet journal, the scientists determined that there exists strong evidence that COVID spreads by airborne transmission. Research suggests , the particulate matter suspended in polluted air acts as a vector to facilitate transport of COVID to great distances.
In other words, polluted air offers a piggyback ride to viruses & bacteria into our lungs directly when we inhale the polluted air. An increase of just 1 microgram per cubic metre of Particulate matter corresponded to a 15% increase in Covid-19 deaths.
What can we together do to Breathe Clean Air for generations?
- Share Air Quality levels to the citizens on a common platform like an App where both citizens and government both engage to complaint on issue of air pollution or share solutions to mitigate the issue at local neighborhood levels easily.
- Identifying the sources of the pollution and invest in solutions to curb major pollutants at our local ward or council levels with elected representatives and people.
- Invest in clean energy sources like wind, solar, hydrogen and focus more on indoor air pollutants as we are spending more time indoors.
- Fight inequality so everyone has access to clean air via increasing real time “Data” from low-cost and government monitoring stations across all rural & peri-urban areas as mentioned in my previous story.
- Proper and safe disposal of plastic , food waste and specifically bio-medical wastes (Masks, Gloves, PPE kits) without burning in open space.
After all, we all want to Breathe Fresh Air, which is our fundamental right.