Air pollution is either man-made or caused by unwanted natural substances that remain suspended in the air — that can harm human health and the environment. Fine particles from burning coal, fossil fuels, and wood can get deep into our lungs and spread to blood vessels throughout the body and cause harm to our respiratory system as well as our skin and eyes.
According to a 2013 report from the World Health Organization (WHO), it is stated that outdoor air pollution is a major risk to human health. They reported that air pollutants could result in diseases like asthma, increased coughing, and decreased lung function. It could also result in an increase in the risk of bronchitis, headaches, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people as a result of heart or lung diseases.
The major contributors to air pollution in cities include exhaust from cars, buses, and airplanes and also harmful gases from factories. Ground-level ozone, which results from engine and fuel gases interacting with the sun’s rays, is also another harmful factor.
Air pollution also results in acid rain which forms when moisture in the air interacts with nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide released by motor vehicles, factories, and power plants that burn coal or oil.
However, rural areas aren’t immune to air pollution. Dust generating from tractors plowing fields, trucks, and cars that are driven on dirt or gravel roads, rock quarries, and smoke released from crop fires and wood burning can pollute clean air to a harmful extent.
Refrain from Morning Walks:
Exercising is essential for our body but not when we are breathing toxic air. People who walk, run/jog or engage in any outdoor activity should refrain from doing so until the smog settles. Hence, these activities should be shifted to the evening hours.
Use Face Masks when Outdoors:
It is advised to use N95/N99 masks whenever you step out to prevent the intrusion of unwanted and harmful particles from entering through the mouth or nose.
Air Purifying Plants:
Make sure that you keep Air Purifying plants such as Aloe Vera, Ivy, Spider Plant, and such other indoor plants in the home and offices. They help in purifying indoor air and minimize indoor pollution.
Ventilate Your Kitchen and Bathroom:
To avoid indoor air pollution, make sure you have a chimney installed in the kitchen and an exhaust in the bathroom. This will help in recirculating the air and keep the rooms and the interior clean with a lower level of pollution. You should know that indoor pollution can be worse than outdoor pollution; hence, it is best to keep the indoor clean.
Restrict Outdoor Activities for Kids
Though it might seem weird, do not allow your children (less than 8 years of age) to be outdoor if you find it too polluted due to the accumulation of smog or other pollutants. If possible, request school authorities to suspend outdoor activities in such cases.
It is quite an intelligent decision to use air purifiers, especially in the kids’ rooms, the rooms of the elderly and that of pregnant women as they are most prone to the ill effects of this toxic air.
Inhale Medicated Steam Daily:
Try to inhale steam with a few drops of eucalyptus oil every day in the evening which will help in relaxing your air-passages and help your body remove the harmful particulate substances and be healthy.
Purify Your Car Air:
Keep in mind that when you start your car in the morning, roll down your window to let the air circulate. Secondly, run the car AC in indoor circulation mode which will help in reducing the PM level considerably.
Ventilate Your Home:
Keep the windows and doors open especially between 3 pm – 5 pm and allow the air to circulate. On a bright sunny day, this is the time period when the concentration of PM is the lowest in the air.
Eat Jaggery to Detoxify:
It is advisable to eat jaggery (aka gudd) to flush out pollutants from the lungs. One can have it raw or replace it with sugar in their daily preparations.
Follow a Diet Rich in Vitamin C and Omega Fatty Acids:
Consumption of fruits rich in Vitamin C, Magnesium and foods rich in Omega Fatty Acids helps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet helps in beating the ill effects of pollution by keeping the level of immunity high.
Drink Herbal Tea:
Drinking herbal ginger and tulsi tea can be highly effective in keeping yourself protected from the harmful effects of pollution. Having this healthy concoction once or twice a day is extremely healthy for minimizing various effects of pollution.
Hence, we can protect ourselves from pollution but we should also think of other ways to protect the environment from the harmful effects of air pollution to promote a pollution-free atmosphere. This can only be done by planting more and more trees and also by trying environment-friendly methods to avoid pollution.