"Breathtaking" Facts About Air Pollution
Air pollution is a health hazard because it is a risk factor for many leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, diabetes, and cbronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In 2019, air pollution ranked as the fourth leading risk factor in Malaysia, killing more than 10,000 people that year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills about 7 million people annually. Among them, 4 million died from indoor air pollution.
Below are some facts about air pollution that might “take your breath away”:
Shocking Statistics On Air Pollution
FACT 1: According to UN medical scientists, 99% of the population breathes polluted air that exceeds internationally approved limits.
FACT 2: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has estimated that indoor air is nearly 5 times as polluted as outdoor air.
What Causes Air Pollution?
FACT 3: Up to 70% of air pollution is caused by road transport.
FACT 4: There are more than 500 million cars in the world, and the number is expected to rise to 1 billion by 2030. In other words, the pollution level will double.
FACT 5: According to the 2014 reports of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), carbon dioxide accounts for a total of 81% of the greenhouse gas emissions, while methane accounts for approximately 11%.
FACT 6: The major sources of indoor air pollution include asbestos, formaldehyde, radon, tobacco smoke, mildew, mould, bacteria, wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor pollution making its way indoors.
Second-hand smoke is one of the biggest indoor polluters in the world.
How Does Air Pollution Affect Humans?
FACT 8: Air pollution and resulting deaths are increasing fastest in Asia.
FACT 9: 65% of the deaths in Asia and 25% of deaths in India is due to air pollution.
FACT 10: Inhaling polluted air takes away at least 1-2 years of a typical human life.
FACT 11: Toxic air pollution poses a more severe tbreat to children due to their smaller physical size and lung capacity.
FACT 12: A microscopic pollutant – PM2.5 – is so tiny that it can pass tbrough many of our body’s protective armours, such as mucous membranes and other barriers, to damage our lungs, heart and brain.
A recent preliminary study from Harvard University found a positive correlation between COVID-19-related mortalities and air pollution.
How Does Air Pollution Affect Other Living Things?
FACT 14: Air pollution that causes smog affects dolphins and makes them suffer from black lung diseases.
FACT 15: Air pollution leads to climate change, which would result in a change in the pollination season. In the end, it would harm the ecological balance of the earth.
In short, the effects of air pollution do not only bring a negative impact on humans but on the entire ecosystem. Furthermore, the impact is way more severe than what we could imagine. This is a wake-up call for us to take action in conserving the environment!