Impacts of Air and Water pollution on Human health
Pollution is described as the befouling due to toxic and poisonous substances of the environment. It is most commonly caused due to anthropogenic activities that destroy the environment and ultimately human health. Most abundant among different types of pollution are air and water pollution. Different reports from around the world have shown the adverse effects on human health with an increase in pollution. A number of diseases are spreading and no serious measures are taken to control pollution.
Air and water pollution means the addition of harmful pollutants into the environment and water bodies and so their quality decreases. It is a worldwide issue that poses a threat to the environment and human health through direct as well as indirect means. The causes of serious diseases such as respiratory problems occur due to severe air pollution and many gastrointestinal diseases due to drinking water and poor hygiene. Many cardiopulmonary diseases are the result of air pollution. World Health Organization shows that about 1.4 percent of such diseases are caused by air pollution and about 0.9 due to other pollutions such as water pollution (WHO 2002). Air pollution can be due to smoke, dust, aerosols, mists, vapors, and gases, etc. which are called Particulate matter. They reach down the lungs to the alveoli and cause hazardous diseases. Pollutants can also be chemical particles such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, limestone, acid fumes, pesticides, and paints. Air pollution can be outdoor as well as indoor. Outdoor pollution can be due to emissions from motor vehicles, industries, and power plants. Radioactive isotopes emitted from nuclear power plants are also a huge cause of air pollution. This is why industries and power plants are built far from residential areas.
Different impacts of surrounding air contamination in infant mortality and mortality brought about by intense respiratory diseases, just as consequences for kids' cardiovascular and respiratory medical clinic confirmations in the older, and markers for practical harm of the heart muscle (WHO 2000).
A major portion of polluted air is due to human activities such as vehicle smoke and the introduction of greenhouse gases and chlorofluorocarbons into the environment and thus increasing Earth’s temperature by depleting the ozone layer. Air pollution is also due to natural sources such as volcanic eruptions or wildfires etc.
Water pollution is another major health and environmental issue. Most of the Earth’s water is saline and the rest freshwater is being contaminated and so leaving no water for daily use. Out of all the Earth’s freshwater fit for human utilization, over 68% is secured up icy masses and ice tops. Another 30% of fresh water is under the ground. Waterways are the wellspring of surface water that individuals generally use; yet this comprises just 0.0002% of the water accessible in the hydrosphere (Kazi A 2014).
Another significant source of fresh water is groundwater, which regularly has less amount of harmful microorganisms on the grounds that the water is sifted during its travel through underground layers of sand, mud, or shakes. Be that as it may, dangerous synthetic concoctions, for example, arsenic and fluoride can be disintegrated from the dirt or rock layers into groundwater. Direct tainting can likewise happen from severely structured perilous waste locales or from mechanical destinations (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2000).
Water is contaminated due to a number of sources such as the introduction of harmful chemicals from the waste of industries that are released into the water bodies. The water bodies are becoming common dumping sites of many industries as well as domestic waste which is thrown away in the sea without any second thought. This is damaging the water ecosystem and ultimately affecting human health as no fresh drinking water is available. The fish consume these harmful chemicals and end up in our food web affecting human health indirectly showing that what goes around comes around.
Exposure and consumption of contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. The toxic chemicals added through industries and pesticides from agricultural activities can cause serious disorders and in severe cases cancer too.
An increase in pollution can be clearly observed these days especially the atmosphere in which we breathe feels polluted with smoke ashes and fumes and water that we drink are causing major health issues. This study discusses the impacts of air and water pollution on the environment that ultimately affects human health.
A study that was conducted in Iran says that the air quality is becoming poor day by day and the reason for this is the increasing motor vehicles. The amount of CO2 emission is above the normal standards and are affecting the health of people. In 2005, it has been estimated that the mortality because of air pollution has led to a loss of 640 million dollars (Azam, Zanjani, Mood, 2016). Lead is a metal that is used in many industries and motor vehicles that use petrol. It is a toxic metal that pollutes the air and water when mixed in the streams. It caused headaches, irritability, mental retardation, and disability on newborn babies.
The ozone layer is the layer that protects the people on earth from the strong ultraviolet rays. The Greenhouse gases produced by human activities are resulting in the depletion of the ozone layer. This is increasing the earth’s temperature and the UV rays are harmful to humans. This caused skin infections, redness, impaired immune system and even increasing skin cancer in people. Air pollution caused by human activities and natural factors are reducing the life span of people and are causing serious health damages to them ( Ahmad, Ghauri, 2011). Clean drinking water is the basic human need and according to the World Health Organization (WHO) around one-sixth of the world, the population is deprived of clean drinking water that is around 1.1 billion people. The water is mainly polluted from sewage discharge, household waste dumped into streams, industrial chemical discharges. These are very harmful and may cause serious diseases and death.
The harmful bacteria in water include Iron Bacteria (Crenothrix and Gallionella), Soil bacteria, Coliform Bacteria, Viruses. These are extremely hazardous for human health so it is necessary to take strong measures to prevent them from entering into clean drinking water otherwise extreme health conditions in humans would be experienced. There should be proper waste disposal of industrial and household, use clean equipment to handle water, keep animals away from drinking water, no leakage in the sewage system and purify the drinking water before drinking (Parveen, Gunguly, Kumar, Kumari, 2016). Industries are the major cause of groundwater pollution in Pakistan they dispose of their affluents in lakes, streams, and agricultural fields. The pollutants are increasing the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) which is extremely hazardous (Khalid, Khaver, 2019).
Air pollution is the leading global issue nowadays and the pollutants that are hazardous for human health include Carbon Monoxide that is a colorless and odorless gas causing problems in oxygen supply to humans tissue and is poisonous. Than is Nitrogen Dioxide that caused respiratory tract infections and asthmatic problems in children. Sulfur dioxide has increased in the middle of this century and it caused changes in the breathing pattern of humans (Folinsbee, 1992).
The air quality index is getting worse day by day and the water is being polluted from the industrial effluent disposal, household sewage disposal, and waste is thrown into streams, lakes, and ponds. This water pollution is causing great damage to human health as many children are dying because of diarrhea, cholera, and infections who don’t have access to clean drinking water. Air pollution is a global issue nowadays as more vehicles are now being used causing more CO2 and CO emissions in the air. Industries are also producing harmful gases into the atmosphere that includes Sulfur dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide. These gases are hazardous for human health and are leading towards breathing problems, infections, and respiratory tract infections and in extreme cases can even cause death. The greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere through human activities are leading towards the depletion of the ozone layer and are causing the earth’s atmosphere to rise.
Water pollution can be stopped by banning the disposal of waste into the water streams and imposing heavy fines for those doing this. It’s very important to use clean buckets for handling drinking water and keeping it away from any animal contact to avoid health issues. It is high time the countries now come together to deal with this global issue of air pollution by banning the use of material that releases GHG’s into the atmosphere and limits to their CO2 emissions. If we are not going to step forward to stop this, one day this earth would not be a suitable place for humans to live because of extreme pollution.