Winters are coming and Delhi would be every impacted and hit by air pollution again. Air pollution in India is already ten times the WHO’s recommended maximum and then cold weather makes the matter much worse.
A report concludes that about half of the 4.4 million children who reside in NCR already have irreversible lung damage and their health is compromised for the rest of their lives. Specific findings from lung tests show that 43.5% of the Delhi school children suffered from “poor or restrictive lungs,” as compared to 22% of the kids in the rural schools . Eye irritation, headaches, Nausea is very common among kids along with need for masks.
That is not all, apart from outdoor pollution, pollution inside homes adds to the problem. So, what is the problem really? Indoor air pollution kills more than 1.3 billion people annually in India, the statistics are obviously shocking if considered globally. The problem however is the fact that we are not doing anything to protect ourselves from this silent killer.The government of our country has taken future initiatives which bear the potential but only if fully implemented as part of a sustained commitment to air quality, to result in significant health benefits in coming years.
Therefore, no doubt as an individual it is our primary duty to educate ourselves and do whatever possible in order to combat indoor air pollution at a personal level starting with these two simple steps:
Keep it clean: it is necessary to keep your surroundings clean at all times. Air has the ability to carry micro germs and dust particles which result in most of the allergies and causes irritation as well. If not treated properly they make detrimental to one’s health over time.
Keep it green: the fact that plants play a huge role in natural purification of air is not an unknown fact. Keep your homes as well as working space filled with small plants and guess what? They make the best of the knick knacks as well.
Indoor air pollution is a concern in the developed countries, where energy efficiency improvements sometimes make houses relatively airtight, reducing ventilation and raising pollutant levels. In urban areas, exposure to indoor air pollution has increased due to a variety of reasons, including the construction of more tightly sealed buildings, reduced ventilation, the use of synthetic materials for building and furnishing and the use of chemical products, pesticides, and household care products. Indoor air pollution can begin within the building or be drawn in from outdoors. Other than nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead, there are a number of other pollutants that affect the air quality in an enclosed space.
Volatile organic compounds originate mainly from solvents and chemicals. The main indoor sources are perfumes, hair sprays, furniture polish, glues, air fresheners, moth repellents, wood preservatives, and many other products used in the house. The main health effect is the imitation of the eye, nose and throat. In more severe cases there may be headaches, nausea and loss of coordination. In the long term, some of the pollutants are suspected to damage to the liver and other parts of the body.
Tobacco smoke generates a wide range of harmful chemicals and is known to cause cancer. It is well known that passive smoking causes a wide range of problems to the passive smoker (the person who is in the same room with a smoker and is not himself/herself a smoker) ranging from burning eyes, nose, and throat irritation to cancer, bronchitis, severe asthma, and a decrease in lung function.
Pesticides , if used carefully and the manufacturers, instructions followed carefully they do not cause too much harm to the indoor air.
Biological pollutants include pollen from plants, mite, hair from pets, fungi, parasites, and some bacteria. Most of them are allergens and can cause asthma, hay fever, and other allergic diseases.
Formaldehyde is a gas that comes mainly from carpets, particle boards, and insulation foam. It causes irritation to the eyes and nose and may cause allergies in some people.
Asbestos is the leading cause of indoor air pollution. Asbestos can be found in various materials used commonly in the automotive industry as well as home construction. They are most commonly found in coatings, paints, building materials, and ceiling and floor tiles.
You won’t find asbestos as often as you used because newer products do not contain asbestos. However, if you have an old home that was constructed a long time ago, the risks for asbestos are much greater than that of a newer home.
Radon which can be found underneath your home in various types of bedrock and other building materials, can also be a cause of indoor air pollution. Radon can get into the walls of your home and put both you and your family at risk.
There are many objects that you have in your home that also cause indoor air pollution. Objects such as wood stoves, space heaters, and fireplaces, all put out carbon monoxide as well as nitrogen dioxide. There are still billions of people who use these types of fuels to heat their homes on a daily basis.
Other household products such as varnishes, paints, and certain cleaning products can also emit pollution into the air that you breathe inside your home.
Effects of indoor air pollution can be life threatening. Kids and old age people are more prone to the after-effects of indoor air pollution.
1. If Asbestos is found in your home it can cause you very serious health problems such as lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, and various other types of cancers.
2. If contaminants such as animal dander, dust mites or other bacteria get into the home there will also be some serious effects from them. You will start to experience asthma symptoms, throat irritation, flu, and other types of infectious diseases.
3. If lead is found in the home it can also be severely life threatening. It can cause brain and nerve damage, kidney failure, anemia, and a defective cardiovascular system.
4. Formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor air pollutants, can also cause health problems. You may experience irritation of the throat, eyes, and nose, as well as allergic reactions. There have been a number of cases where it has also caused cancer.
5. Tobacco smoke causes individuals to experience severe respiratory irritation, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, as well as lung cancer.
6. Chemicals such as those that are used in certain cleaning agents and paints can cause you to experience a loss of coordination, liver, brain, and kidney damage, as well as a number of types of cancer.
7. If you use gas stoves in your home it can cause respiratory infections and damage and irritation to the lungs.
7 Easy Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
1. Smoking is one of the most common types of indoor air pollution. The best thing to do is to quit smoking and make your home anti-smoking zone. The less smoke that is emitted into the air the less chance of one of the listed effects happening to someone that you love. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer caused by smoking.
2. Make sure you check the ingredients on any of your cleaning supplies to make sure they are environmentally friendly. Do your homework on what is considered to be a dangerous ingredient. You can also find an environmentally friendly cleaning list online so you know exactly what to buy.
3. Have your home checked for asbestos. This is typically done before you move into the home. If you have a home that was built prior to the ban of asbestos, it is important to make sure there is none still lingering within the home.
4. Stop using gas stoves in your home as well as certain types of space heaters. They release harmful chemicals that could be dangerous to human health.
5. Have your home inspected for any mold, radon, or any other harmful chemicalor bacteria that may be in your home. These types of inspections are traditionally done before you move in so keep that in mind as well.
6. Use a good vacuum cleaner that has strong brushes to keep out chemicals and allergens that can accumulate in your home. Areas in your home which are most commonly visited must be cleaned thoroughly by using the vacuum several times.
7. Most of the dirt comes in the home from the shoes. Keep a large mat out of every room that will reduce the amount of dirt, and other pollutants from getting into your home.
Understanding the causes and effects of indoor air pollution will help you to understand why it should be prevented and what you can do to prevent it yourself. There are various online resources that can help you to discover the best options for you and your family. Making small changes within the home can really make a huge difference. Having your home inspected on a regular basis can really help you to prevent any further damage to not only your home, but you and your family as well.
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