How does air pollution impact humans?

1 Answer
Dec 21, 2016

Air pollution is a common reality in large cities and is related to the intensive use of fossil fuels and the high degree of industrialization.


The intense industrial development experienced in the last decades of the twentieth century, as well as the increase in production and consumption rates, has significantly altered the production of gaseous pollutants such as methane, carbon dioxide and others. It is common to think that these gases have appeared in the atmosphere only because of human action, but their production is something natural in the atmospheric dynamics of planet earth.

What is happening is that with the great increase in the consumption of fossil fuels and the intense and growing industrial activity, mankind has released into the atmosphere a significant part of the pollutants that were stocked, whether in the form of biomass or in the form of Mineral reserves in the subsoil, contributing to increase the concentration of harmful gases in the atmosphere.

The main factors that have contributed to cause changes in air are:

• Air pollution by industries, which in some regions has already led to a decrease in air transparency. It results from the waste from steel mills, cement and coking plants, chemical industries, gas plants and the smelting of ferrous metals. Among these residues are toxic and irritant substances, photochemical pollutants, dust etc.
• deforestation and forest fires, which reduce green areas cause a decrease in oxygen production;
• cars, which consume oxygen and release large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Main consequences of air pollution on health:

Short-term problems (on days of high concentration of pollutants):
- Irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes;
- Irritation in the throat (with presence of burning and discomfort);
- Respiratory problems with worsening pulmonary emphysema and bronchitis;

Medium and long term problems (15 to 30 years living in places with a lot of pollution):

  • Generation of pulmonary and cardiovascular problems;
  • Development of heart diseases (heart diseases);
  • Decreased quality of life;
  • Decrease in life expectancy (up to two years);
  • Increased chances of developing cancer, especially lung cancer.