There are many things needed to do throughout a person’s life. Some may be delayed and even eliminated in certain cases; but one thing is desperately in need that we cannot stop doing, that is breathing.
It’s likely that contaminants profoundly realize this shortcoming of human-beings, leaving no chances to invade the immune system of health in taking advantage of the air. They are able to get into and keep staying in the noses, lunges, and even the brains, accumulating over a long period and attacking our body constantly.
Ⅰ. What’s air pollution?
ISO ( International Organization for Standardization) has ever defined it. The definition is: in the result of human activities or natural disasters, some substances are generated and mixed with the air. To a certain concentration and time, the mixture harms human-beings’ health severely.
Obviously, air pollution is not merely a single substance, but a mixture of numeral ones. Generally, solid particles, liquid drops, gaseous chemicals are the main components of it.
Ⅱ. Where the air pollution comes from?
According to the definition specified by ISO, we can know that there are two kinds of sources for air pollution: one is nature, the other one is human activity.
The unwanted matter coming from the nature mainly contains dirt, dust, sand, sulfite, and other poisonous matters generated by natural disasters; such as:
Wildfire: CO, CO₂, SO₂, NO₂, HC
Volcanic eruption: H₂S, CO₂, CO, HF, SO₂
Among these natural disasters, hurricanes, tsunamis, and wildfires are the events with a high probability. And the rate of wildfire in California may be much higher than ordinary areas. According to statistics, in 2017, there were about 8747 wildfires that happened to California. More worse, these kinds of cases will not be improved due to the special topographic and climatic conditions.
In addition to nature, human activities are the other aspects to generate air pollution.
- Indoor air pollution
Energy consumption, house furnishing materials, and pets are the main factors that shall be responsible for indoor air pollution.
As the commonly used fuels. Calor gas, natural gas, firewood, coal are related to many aspects in daily life. Except for cooking, the heating is the largest part, which occupies nearly a half of the total consumption. During the burning of the fuels, toxin gases like CO₂, SO₂, methane, and dust particles are inevitably born. Upon the latest report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( ETA), in April, Americans produced 307 million tons of carbon dioxide, which has been the lowest record since 1973. That is to say, although this figure is incredible in our minds, actually it is the most relaxed compared to any other time.
The various kinds of house furnishing materials, wall coating, asbestos, wood-based panels, etc; whatever cheap or expensive, formaldehyde, TVOC, benzene, toluene, xylene will come out.
And for those people who share the house with their pets, they will enjoy a lower cleanliness of air due to the pets’ dander, hair, odor, which impact greatly on the indoor air.
- Industrial wastes
Industrial wastes refer to waste water, exhaust gas and waste residue. Those wastes contain dusts, odors, unwanted gases, heavy metal and other substances. After discharging them into the environment, it potentially takes physical and chemical changes to come into being new substances. Meanwhile, the new substances will bring unpredictable risks.
- Traffic emissions
With the development of the automobile economy and the rapid expansion of urbanization, the coverage and amount of motor vehicles have an increasing scale. The main pollutants emitted by vehicles are carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM). The harmfulness to the air and human health becomes more and more serious.
Different types of pollution sources will produce different types of pollution mixtures. More importantly, these pollutants will be mixed with each other in various ways and in various proportions. Take particulate matters and PM2.5 as examples. They may contain dirt, dust, sea salt, toxic metals, diesel fumes, nitrates, and sulfates. But in fact, these substances are not compatible. These incompatible substances are scattered in the air; for we’re unable to stop breathing, we can only expose ourselves to such air pollution all the time.
Someone may ask a question, “ why not choose to hold the breath when coming across a source of air pollution?”. The fact is that it is just a temporary behavior only lasting for 10 seconds, which does void functions actually.
The moment about 10 seconds, the contaminants might not be shifted into the lungs temporarily, but their footprints spread in our noses, clothes, and hair. When the 10 seconds fade away, pollutants come into our body as before once the respiratory system recovers its normal performance. And A series of potential diseases is in pregnancy.
Dusts, molds, fibers can trigger allergies. Itchy eyes, stuffy and runny noses, scratchy throats, and sneezing are typical symptoms. If catching an allergy without timely treatments, people will have a damaged skin, poor sleep and be in a bad mood. Furthermore, rhinitis, asthma are the common complications of the allergy.
- Respiratory infection
Respiratory diseases are common to the society. The main lesions are concentrated in the trachea bronchi, lungs, and chest cavity. Generally, being respiratory infections, people will experience coughs, chest pains; compared to the mild cases, people will catch breathing difficulties, oxygen-shortage, and even respiratory failure leading to death under the worst cases.
- Functional deteriorates of nervous system
Some tinny toxic particulate matter can take part in the blood circulation. And with the help of heart, these matters will be transited to every inch of the body; our brains are concluded as well. A study showed that if children and teenagers are long-term exposed to these substances, their brains will be inflammatory. The slowed nerve-reaction and ossified protein increase the possibility of Senile Dementia and Parkinsonism. As for adults, these pollutants will accelerate neuronal aging resulting in a higher risk of the stroke.
The obvious fact that the life-sustaining air is not just the healer any more, but going to be a hurter, even a killer.
“7” is a credible number that will take our breath away. Seven million premature deaths a year caused by exposure to the bad quality of air we breathe.
This number is beyond our imagination, right? For those countries with an imbalance between the birth rate and aging process, this number brings a greater pressure to society. While, this number is not only a bad luck, but the best warning to urge us to fight together with our immune system protecting the body health.
Ⅲ. How to improve the indoor air quality?
Whether you’re students, workers, or freelancers, there is no doubt that the indoor is where you spend the longest time. So, the most efficient ways for individuals to protect themselves from the air pollution is to improve the indoor air quality.
- Clean up the house regularly
With a long time to do a cleaning, the dust in the air will fall down to the floor and accumulate more and more in a short period of time.
To clean up the rooms regularly can decrease the accumulation of dust.
- Grow green plants
Green plants are called natural air cleaner. They contain a large amount of chlorophyLL for making photosynthesis. Combined with the catalytic action of enzymes, they’re capable of absorbing carbon dioxide to generate oxygen.
- Employ the air cleaning appliance
Towards those micro particles like mold, fine dust, pollen, and toxin odors like formaldehyde, TVOC, benzene, toluene, xylene, it is difficult for us to clean them away. Air cleaning appliances can be employed to improve the indoor air quality by removing harmful particles and absorbing unwanted odors.
The lifetime of a person is limited: limited in choice, limited in lifespan. We may cannot choose everything, but we can choose to be a healthy person. Protecting the body from the air pollution is an enduring battle, let us start now. We never look forward to prolonging the lifespan, because a short healthy life is much more meaningful!
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