Air Quality: A Major Environmental and Public Health Challenge

By Nur Syazlin Syafiqah Binti Mohamad Zabidi (BK13110325)
“More than 2 million premature deaths each year can be attributed to the effects of urban outdoor
air pollution and indoor air pollution (caused by the burning of solid fuels). More than half of this disease
burden is borne by the populations of developing countries” (WHO, 2006). Heart attacks, respiratory
diseases, and lung cancer are all significantly higher in people who breathe dirty air compared to matching
groups in cleaner environments (Cunningham, et al 2005). Enger & Smith (2000) proposed that air pollution
is not just an aesthetic problem and triggered health problems. A mortal blow has been pertain to poor air
quality. Some studies have shown that on global level more deaths are attributable to air pollution than to
automobile accidents. Decreasing air quality will indicate the increasing air pollution in a country or any
places in the world.
To define ‘air pollution’ is not an easy task because there is a lot of opinion regarding the issue.
Other party argues that air pollution started when humans began burning fuels. According to Air Pollution
(2016), air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or
biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. This statement is supported by
Woodford, C. (2016), who defined air pollution as a gas (or a liquid or solid dispersed through ordinary air)
released in a big enough quantity to harm the health of people or other animals, kill plants or stop them
growing properly, damage or disrupt some other aspect of the environment (such as making buildings
crumble), or cause some other kind of nuisance (reduced visibility, perhaps, or an unpleasant odor). Daly
and Zannetti (2007) define an “air pollution” as any substance emitted into the air from an anthropogenic,
biogenic, or geogenic source, that is either not part of the natural atmosphere or are present in higher
concentrations than the natural atmosphere, and may cause a short-term or long-term adverse effect.
One of the factors that people tend to overlook about the issue is some kinds of air pollution are
produced naturally. For instance, forest fires, erupting volcanoes, and gases released from radioactive
decay of rocks inside Earth that can contribute to an enormous interruption on people and planet. All these
are examples of air pollution that can happen without any notice from Mother of Nature and human can
never stop it happening totally. Other than that, pollution that caused by the human and can be solved with
a prevention that need to be considered in manner when dealing with the environmental management
system. Woodford, C. (2016) further points out that anything action by the human that involves combustion,
using household or industrial chemicals which any substances that cause chemical reactions and may
release toxic gases in the process of producing large amounts of dust has the potential to cause air pollution.

For instance. Air pollution is growing worse in developing country with more than 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits (Mooney & Dennis. there will be certain aspect in the loss.and middle income countries with more than 100 000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. It can be found in car exhausts. such as the Eskom plant in South Africa. chemical and biological principles of the local. For example. Unfortunately. populations in low-income cities are the most impacted. chlorofluorocarbons. 98% of cities in low. Industrialized countries contribute to industrial air pollution by sending their most heavily polluting industries to developing country. in high-income countries. but in practice. While all regions of the world are affected. Next is carbon monoxide which highly dangerous gas forms when there is too little oxygen to burn completely. According to the latest urban air quality database by WHO. regional and global environment to help change the world. For environmental engineer. there are about ten different substances that cause most concern regarding the air pollution. how to clean up contaminated waste and how to assess exposure and human risk. lead and heavy metals and carbon dioxide. But with a modern technology and thinking all the loss can be prevented to create a better tomorrow. to gain something. the responsibility is on how to control pollution. traffic and poorly maintained gas boiler. disturbing biodiversity by damaging the crops and contributes to unpleasant and unattractive world. in this era. 2016). ozone. acid rain and health problem that include lung disease. The study indicates that air pollution can harm the health of people and animals. sulphur dioxide. type. unburned hydrocarbons.Any gas could classified as pollution when it reached inflated concentration that can harm people and the environment. of gases that have a huge impact on air pollution are nitrogen dioxide. there are more than dozens of different pollution gases. A civilization and society can be considered as a living thing because it keeps moving to a better level and aspect. The World Bank also helps to fund the construction of many coal burning power plants. particulates. Other than that. As far as the environment is concerned. which produced by coal-fired power plant and contributes to smog. For example. Based on the Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. people keep exploring the best technology that can ameliorate life and surroundings. there are many methods introduced by the authorities such as scientist and environmental engineers to overcome air pollution and improve air quality of the world. However. Environmental engineers use core engineering skills and a deep understanding of the physical. . volatile organic compounds. Theoretically. that percentage decreases to 56%.

carbon monoxide. the study indicates that by promoting the development of clean. Efforts must be made to promote awareness regarding environmental sustainability and its relation to the biodiversity crisis. The research and new technology need to be discovered in overcoming the air quality. the study emphasizes that. By converting to a renewable sources such as solar. and aerosols. government-funded research projects should introduce to develop clean methods to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels such as clean electric transportation methods. The benefits gained from responsible environmental management should be properly understood on the individual. the carbon credit system can be applied to other known atmospheric pollutants as sulphur oxide. methane. In order to ensure polluters meet the specification and quotas. the country derives 85 % of its energy from fossil fuels compared to the 7 percent acquired from renewable sources. . radio. nitrogen oxides. punishment should be introduced to increase the awareness. Other than that. human health and environmental matter. magazines. Besides. Converting to electric vehicles will also help to eliminate the production of other unwanted byproducts such as sulphur oxides. In the meantime. and governmental levels.To overcome the air pollution problem. everyone should help to reduce air pollution because the issue is not someone else’s problem but it is a global problem. to improve the air quality is not a simple work by only a person. and environmentally-friendly energy sources to continue moving away from fossil fuels can lead to reduce air pollution. because electricity can be generated through many different methods. The National Academies (2008). In Mission 2015: Biodiversity and Triage. and carbon monoxide. nitrogen oxide. posters. and television (Shah 2011). it can help to improve the transition of electric transportation because the technologies can be applied depending on a region’s available resources. Attempts to raise biodiversity awareness can be conducted in the form of meetings and forums on relevant regulations and legislation. This system will help in reducing the total amount of pollutants permitted annually and the standard must be fixed and obeyed specifically. to limit the gas emissions. Information can also be broadcasted through newspapers. the transition to electrically-driven vehicles will present greater flexibility in the way power can be obtained for use in transportation. mentioned that in The United State. renewable. In conclusion. organizational. by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition. wind and geothermal will produce electricity without any carbon emissions.

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