Air pollution has been a major concern since the wake of industrialization and urbanization. It is among the biggest risks to environmental health. Especially in the more urbanized areas with higher populations, air pollution remains a major threat to life. It is a leading cause of premature death, disrupts comfort, and affects the socio-economic wellbeing of many nations. This is why in the modern world; many countries prefer setting industrial zones far from urban centers where residential populations are higher.
As if this isn’t enough to comprehend, here are 4 reasons why we need to achieve clean air in our cities.
1. Poor Air Quality Is a Threat to Public Health
Air pollution in cities is not unheard of. Many cities fall victim to emissions of harmful gases from industrial firms that do not comply with the laid-down environmental safety procedures. The very minute particles of these gases float freely in the air and find their way into our respiratory systems, wreaking havoc on the health of populations with time.
This exposes the public to a higher risk of developing diseases like cancer, lung problems, heart conditions, and other health issues that cause premature deaths. Children whose immune system is still developing are also likely to develop respiratory diseases like asthma, which lowers their respiratory functionality. In the end, they may end up breathing their last. What’s worse, it’s hard to tell whether the air you are breathing in your home is contaminated with these harmful gases and volatile organic compounds.
To protect yourself and your loved ones if you live in the city, the best you can do is install an air filter in your home. The good thing is that these days, you can easily order filters online from the comfort of your home. Not only do they get rid of these harmful chemicals in smog, but these filters also trap other contaminants like dust, pollen, mold spores, and so forth. If there’s not much you can do to protect yourself while out there in traffic or at work, you can at least protect yourself while at home using air purifiers.
2. It Has a Socio-Economic Impact
When a city has polluted air, many residents tend to seek refuge elsewhere. This means that, in turn, there will be a decrease in labor from the diminishing population. Significantly that will lead to a drain and fall in the prices of products and services, which, if not controlled, may lead to the shutting down of companies that pay taxes to the government.
Also, when many people get sick, it affects the entire community and its economy. Some will skip work depending on the severity of their ailments, leading to a downward trend in the labor force. Children will miss school to take care of their sick parents, who may not be well enough to take care of their needs. Needless to reiterate, air pollution can cripple the socio-economic wellbeing of a city from numerous angles and dimensions.
3. It Is a Human Right
A healthy environment is the most potent form of legal protection offered to citizens in a country. It is an obligation across countries to fulfill, respect, and protect the environment in which their citizens dwell. Thanks to the various global organizations that advocate for environmental health and human rights, many people around the globe can enjoy cleaner air in their cities. Some of these organizations include the WHO, ICESCR, UDHR, and GBPP. A healthy nation means a healthy economy, and environmental/air pollution regulations must be enforced to fulfill this human right.
4. Climatic Benefits
While some people argue that clean air does not exist naturally, a conducive environment and an excellent atmosphere are beneficial to a region’s climate. With lesser emissions and cleaner air in our cities, we would reduce the toll we put on Mother Nature, which would help us change the Climate Change curve. For instance, a city with fewer industries has better air quality. Apart from regulating industrial firms, some actions taken to provide a cleaner environment in cities include:
- Encouraging the use of cleaner fuel
- Design buildings that do not need much heating and cooling
- Promote electric modes of transport
- Restrict polluting vehicles
- Set and implement targets of people found polluting the air.
Air pollution has its fair share of health impacts, but the consequences are magnified when paired with respiratory illnesses. In a time where COVID-19 has shaken the whole world, you can’t help but notice one huge fact. The odds of people with respiratory issues falling victim to this virus are higher compared to the rest. An increase in air pollution leads to a rise in chronic respiratory conditions, which is all the more reason to ensure clean air in cities.