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DEFINITION OF AIR POLLUTION Air pollution occurs when the air contains gases, dust, fumes or odour in harmful

amounts. That is, amounts which could be harmful to the health or comfort of humans and animals or which could cause damage to plants and materials. The substances that cause air pollution are called pollutants. Pollutants that are pumped into our atmosphere and directly pollute the air are called primary pollutants. Primary pollutant examples include carbon monoxide from car exhausts and sulfur dioxide from the combustion of coal. Further pollution can arise if primary pollutants in the atmosphere undergo chemical reactions. The resulting compounds are called secondary pollutants. Photochemical smog is an example of this. In the days before the proliferation of large cities and industry, nature's own systems kept the air fairly clean. Wind mixed and dispersed the gases, rain washed the dust and other easily dissolved substances to the ground and plants absorbed carbon dioxide and replaced it with oxygen. With increasing urbanization and industrialization, humans started to release more wastes into the atmosphere than nature could cope with. Since then, more pollution has been added to the air by industrial, commercial and domestic sources. As these sources are usually found in major cities, the gases that are produced are usually concentrated in the air around them. The adverse effects of air pollution were graphically illustrated in London in 1952 when, in just a few days, an estimated 4000 people died from effects of fine particle pollution. It is when these concentrated gases exceed safe limits that we have a pollution problem. Nature can no longer manage air pollution without our help. Air pollution occurs when specific compounds in the atmosphere reach a state where exposure to humans and/or the ecosystem causes damage. (Slanina 2006). Although many sources of pollution are natural components of air, when occurring in large quantities these pollutants can be environmentally harmful. Earths atmospheric composition is 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen. The remaining one percent is composed of gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone (Phillips 1995). Natural processes such as volcanic eruptions

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decay of organic matter, and wildfires generate minute quantities of air pollution (Slanina 2006). However the amount created by human activities is far more substantial and still growing. CAUSES OF AIR POLLUTION I. Anthropogenic Cause The largest amounts of air pollution come from human activity though there are some natural sources as well. Fossil fuels are no doubt the most important source of harmful atmospheric emissions. We cannot (just yet!) imagine our lives without fossil fuels. They are used in virtually every area of human life starting from gasoline for our cars to a multitude of applications in industrial production, agriculture etc. But fossil fuels are not the only culprits. There are other pollution sources, ex. processes used to produce non-ferrous metals, which also cause air pollution. In one word, anthropogenic (human-induced) causes are far more important than natural ones in raising the current levels of atmospheric pollution dangerously high. The global industrial development gave rise to a great number of economic sectors, with each generating air pollution to some degree or another. So these economic sectors act as pollution causes in their own right. Below is the list of important sectors and types of air pollutants produced by each of them: Table 1: Some Important Air Polluting Sectors

Sector

Air Pollutants Emitted Mostly CO;

Biofuel Combustion also SO2 and NOx Mostly SO2 and NOx; Industry & Refineries also CO

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Mostly SO2 and NOx; Power Generation also CO Mostly SO2 and CO; Residential and Commercial Sector also NOx Mostly NOx and CO; Road, Rail, Air & Other Transport also SO2

Air Pollution Causes: Air Pollutants Air pollutants are basically the waste products generated by the above mentioned economic sectors. They come in the form of gases and finely divided solid and liquid particles suspended in the air (aerosols). Air pollutants can also be of primary or secondary nature. Primary pollutants are the ones that are emitted directly into the atmosphere by the sources ( ex., power plants). Secondary pollutants are the ones that are formed as a result of reactions between primary pollutants and other elements in the atmosphere. Air pollutants are direct pollution causes, in other words they are the actual pollution agents which directly affect the health of living beings as well as the wider environment. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor. SO2 is corrosive to organic materials and it irritates the eyes, nose and lungs; therefore it is quite a dangerous air pollutant. Sulfur is contained within all fossil fuels, and is released in the form of sulfur dioxide during fossil fuel combustion. Fossil fuel combustion accounts for almost all anthropogenic sulfur emissions. Table 2: Top 5 Sectors for Global SO2 Emissions in Gg, Year 2000 based on EDGAR Data

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Sector Power Generation Industry (excl. refineries) Non-ferrous metals SO2 Emissions, Gg 53,592 24,347 21,283

Transformation Sector (incl. refineries) 10,212 Residential & Commercial Sector Other Total: 8,117 32,789 150,339

Power generation (public electricity & heat production) is by far the largest industry for global SO2 emissions. Power plants require large amounts of energy for their operations. This use of energy by power plants produces emissions of a whole cocktail of air pollutants including greenhouse gases (causing global warming) and non-greenhouse gases. It is worth singling out coal as the dirtiest fossil fuel of all; it is still widely used as a source of energy by power plants. Coal combustion is a very serious source of sulfur dioxide emissions. But in addition to that, it produces a number of greenhouse gases and other waste products such as arsenic, lead, mercury etc.

Industry (manufacturing industries & construction) is the second biggest source of sulfur dioxide emissions globally. It involves the use of energy for the manufacture of industrial products (ex., iron, steel etc) as well as consumer goods, which releases SO2 into the atmosphere. Non-ferrous metals production is the third largest source of SO2 emissions. Some examples of non-ferrous metals are aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, gold. The manufacture of non-ferrous metals generates SO2 emissions via: the use of fossil fuels and specificity of the industrial process involved. The industrial process we are talking about involves the heating of sulfide ores in the air and results in

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the separation of a non-ferrous metal and the sulfur from the ore. The separated sulfur combines with oxygen in the air, turns into sulfur dioxide and thus becomes a source of SO2 emissions. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are produced by combustion of all fossil fuels including coal- and gas-fired power stations and motor vehicles. There are two main nitrogen oxides: nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). While NO is a colorless gas, NO2 is a gas of reddish-brown color with a distinct sharp, biting odor. Fossil fuel combustion produces both NO2 and NO. But almost 90% of the total NOx combustion product is released in the form of NO which is then converted to NO2 in the air. Table 3: Top 5 Sectors for Global NOx Emissions in Gg NO2, Year 2000 based on EDGAR Data (Ref. 10) Sector Road Power Generation NOx Emissions, Gg NO2 28,471 24,792

Deforestation & Savannah Fires 21,450 Industry (excl. refineries) Shipping Other Total: 9,630 9,574 32,692 126,610

Road transport is the biggest global contributor of nitrogen emissions produced by motor fuel combustion. US, China, Brazil, India and Russia are the largest producers of global nitrogen

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emissions. Power generation is indeed another top producer of nitrogen emissions. For example, in the US power plants are responsible for about a quarter of all nitrogen oxides emitted in the country every year. While rainforest destruction is much better known for being one of the largest causes of carbon dioxide emissions, it (alongside savannah fires) is also a significant source of nitrogen dioxide. Most of deforestation is now taking place in tropical countries where rainforests are routinely cleared for a number of reasons, ex. cattle ranching, crop plantations etc. Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas which has no color, odor or taste. Fossil fuel combustion normally produces carbon dioxide (CO2) but sometimes, when such combustion is incomplete it also becomes a source of carbon monoxide. Table 4: Top 5 Sectors for Global CO Emissions in Gg, Year 2000 based on EDGAR Data (Ref. 14) Sector Deforestation & Other Wildfires Biofuel Combustion Road Residential & Commercial Sector Agriculture Waste Burning Other Total: CO Emissions, Gg 527,064 250,758 185,813 27,413 16,397 68,882 1,076,327

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Deforestation by means of fires (plus other wildfires) has become such a serious global problem that it is now the biggest source of carbon monoxide emissions. The way biofuel combustion causes CO emissions is similar to that of wildfires. Biofuel is used by some power plants and road transport in developed countries, but mostly as a source of energy for residential purposes in developing regions of the world, with Africa and Asia being the biggest biofuel users. Road transport is another major source of carbon monoxide both in developed and developing countries. It is the largest producer of carbon monoxide emissions in developed countries. Ammonia is a pungent, hazardous caustic gas. Agriculture, specifically livestock farming & animals waste, is the main source of ammonia emissions. Ozone (O3) is a colorless, poisonous gas with a sharp, cold, irritating odor. the stratosphere (upper layer of the atmosphere) where it occurs naturally, and the troposphere (lowest layer of the atmosphere) where it occurs both naturally andas a product of anthropogenic emissions. Stratospheric ozone protects the Earth by keeping harmful ultraviolet sunlight from reaching the planets surface. However, human-induced tropospheric ozone is asecondary pollutant produced by the reaction ofprimary pollutants, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, in the presence of sunlight. Tropospheric ozone is one of the main components of the photochemical smog which is harmful to human and animal health. Other Air Pollutants Airborne Particles are tiny fragments of solid or liquid nature suspended in the air (aerosols). They may be primary when emitted directly into the atmosphere by sources (ex., road transport & power plants), or secondary when particles are formed in the atmosphere through the interaction of primary pollutants. Inhalation of airborne particles may lead to asthma, lung cancer and other problems. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may include a wide range of organic air pollutants, from pure hydrocarbons to partially oxidized hydrocarbons to organic compounds containing chlorine, sulfur, or nitrogen. VOCs may affect human health directly (ex., leukemia) or indirectly as contributors to the formation of tropospheric ozone, with all the negative effects of ozone on human health and the

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environment. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are compounds which are resistant to degradation and persistent in the environment, and may include dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides such as DDT. Exposure to POPs takes place through diet (ex., animal fat consumption), environmental exposure or accidents and may lead to cancers, neurobehavioral disorders and other illnesses. II. Natural Air Pollution Causes Natural air pollution causes are mostly forest fires and volcano eruptions but may also include vegetation (ex., forests), oceans and decay processes in soil. Air pollution from Volcanoes One of the most important natural causes of air pollution is volcanic eruption. The most problematic gases emitted in a volcanic eruption include sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride. In nearby places, sulfur dioxide gas can cause acid rain in nearby places and air pollution in downwind areas from the volcanic site. Besides the volcanic gases, there is also volcanic ash. Volcanic ash can move hundreds to thousands of miles downwind from a volcano. Fresh volcanic ash is gritty, rough, and at times corrosive. The ash can cause respiratory problems for young children, the elderly or those already with respiratory ailments. Volcanic eruptions can generate so much polluting gases and ash into the air that the suns rays could be blocked, and land temperature in the affected area lowered, as with the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

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Air pollution from Forest Fires All forest fires emit carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter. Carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas, can be emitted in large amounts during forest fires. Particulates, which are mixtures of soot, tars, and volatile organic substances, either solid or liquid, are emitted in large quantities from forest fires. The particulates, which can be smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, if deeply inhaled into the lungs, can damage lung tissues and cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Nitrogen oxides are released at temperatures greater than 1,500 degree centigrade. Therefore nitrogen oxides are released in significant quantities only during the most severe fires. Sulfur dioxide emissions are significantly less serious with forest fires, as concentration of the dioxide in most forest fuels is usually less than 0.2 percent. However, forest fire sites with "peat" and "muck soil" may be exceptions. There are many other air pollution causes like wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds, and natural radioactivity. However, these causes are usually not significant. Although there is no doubt that the impact of natural causes for air pollution can sometimes be drastic, take for example volcanic eruptions, but they are usually not frequent. Rather, the more significant air pollution causes are in fact caused by human activities, such as through the combustion of fuel by vehicles and power stations, waste incineration, etc. In other words, we have mainly ourselves to blame for our dirty air! PRESENT STATUS OF AIR POLLUTION IN THE PHILIPPINES While the phaseout of leaded gasoline has improved air quality in the country, more than 18 million people still live in cities with unhealthy levels of airborne particulate matter. Of the urban cities, Metro Manila has the largest ``health burden? from air pollution. Estimates showed there were nearly 4,968 premature deaths each year in Manila due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases from exposure to poor air quality, according to the Philippine Environment Monitor, a joint report of the World Bank

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and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released Tuesday. These accounted for 12 percent of all deaths in the metropolis, the highest in any urban area in the country, it said. The latest report examined the role of environment in people's health in the Philippines. Rahul Raturi, sector manager of the WB's Rural Development, Natural Resources and Environmental Sector, said that one-fifth of reported cases of disease were due to air pollution, water pollution, poor sanitation and hygiene. ``The cost of treatment and lost income from these environmental diseases is roughly estimated at P14 billion per year,? he said in his address at the launch. Raturi said the poor were more exposed to environmental risks. Low-income groups had lower access to basic sanitation and safe water supply. They were also exposed to water and air pollution. According to the report, several government interventions over the past 10 years had improved air quality. For instance, the closure of a number of coal-fired power plants near Manila in 2001 led to a reduction in sulfur dioxide concentrations, while the phaseout of leaded gasoline led to a ten-fold reduction in ambient lead levels since 2001, it said. But air pollution remained higher in urban centers than in rural areas, the Environment Monitor said. Concentrations of particulate matter, often used as an indicator of air pollution, were estimated to be three times higher on average in ``urban roadsides? Than in rural areas, it said. Many cities in the country had air pollution levels above national standards, it added. Particulate matter is the generic term used for a type of air pollution that consists of complex and varying mixtures of particles suspended in the air. ``With regard to the health impacts of air pollution, one very clear message stands out: Particulate matter emitted from motor vehicles is the largest health risk from air pollution. Raturi said. ``Some 18 million people live in cities that exceed DENR standards. Metro Manila with its large population and high pollution levels, has the largest health burden from air pollution, with motor vehicles and utility vehicles being the greatest culprits? Particulate emissions in Manila largely came from motor vehicles (84 percent), solid waste burning (10 percent), and industries (5.5 percent). Seventy percent of car emissions came from more than 200,000 diesel-powered utility vehicles, like jeepneys, and 170,000 gasoline-powered motorcycles and tricycles. ``Prioritizing measures to further reduce these emissions under the Clean Air Act would result in important health

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improvements? Raturi said. In terms of premature deaths due to pollution, Metro Manila was followed by Metro Cebu's 608, Davao City's 414, Zamboanga City's 240, Iloilo City's 204, Cabanatuan's 134, according to the report. EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION a. Human Health The human health effects of poor air quality are far reaching, but principally affect the body's respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. Individual reactions to air pollutants depend on the type of pollutant a person is exposed to, the degree of exposure, the individual's health status and genetics. People who exercise outdoors, for example, on hot, smoggy days increase their exposure to pollutants in the air. The health effects caused by air pollutants may range from subtle biochemical and physiological changes to difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions. These effects can result in increased medication use, increased doctor or emergency room visits, more hospital admissions and even premature death. Human Respiratory System The health of our lungs and entire respiratory system is affected by the quality of the air we breathe. In addition to oxygen, this air contains other substances such as pollutants, which can be harmful. Exposure to chemicals by inhalation can negatively affect our lungs and other organs in the body. The respiratory system is particularly sensitive to air pollutants because much of it is made up of exposed membrane. Lungs are anatomically structured to bring large quantities of air (on average, 400 million liters in a lifetime) into intimate contact with the blood system, to facilitate the delivery of oxygen. Lung tissue cells can be injured directly by air pollutants such as ozone, metals and free radicals. Ozone can damage the alveoli -- the individual air sacs in the lung where oxygen and carbon dioxide

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are exchanged. More specifically, airway tissues which are rich in inactivation enzymes can transform organic pollutants into reactive metabolites and cause secondary lung injury. Lung tissue has an abundant blood supply that can carry toxic substances and their metabolites to distant organs. In response to toxic insult, lung cells also release a variety of potent chemical mediators that may critically affect the function of other organs such as those of the cardiovascular system. This response may also cause lung inflammation and impair lung function. Structure and Function The human respiratory system is dominated by our lungs, which bring fresh oxygen (O2) into our bodies while expelling carbon dioxide (CO2). The oxygen travels from the lungs through the bloodstream to the cells in all parts of the body. The cells use the oxygen as fuel and give off carbon dioxide as a waste gas. The waste gas is carried by the bloodstream back to the lungs to be exhaled. The lungs accomplish this vital process - called gas exchange - using an automatic and quickly adjusting control system. This gas exchange process occurs in conjunction with the central nervous system (CNS), the circulatory system, and the musculature of the diaphragm and the chest. The human respiratory system can be divided into the upper respiratory tract and the lower respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract includes the following rigid structures: Nasal cavities: Filter the air we breathe and provide a sense of smell. Pharynx: Acts in the respiratory and the digestive system. Larynx: Link between the pharynx and the trachea. Generates the voice with the presence of vocal folds. Trachea: The trachea is the bond with the lower respiratory tract. This is a flexible structure allowing the air to go down to the lungs.

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In addition to gas exchange, the lungs and the other parts of the respiratory system have important jobs to do relate to breathing. These include: Bringing all air to the proper body temperature. Moisturizing the inhaled air for necessary humidity. Protecting the body from harmful substances by coughing, sneezing, filtering or swallowing them, or by alerting the body through the sense of smell. Defending the lungs with cilia (tiny hair-like structure), mucus and macrophages, which act to remove harmful substances deposited in the respiratory system. The respiratory system is sensitive to air pollution. The cardiovascular system can be affected as well. Human Cardiovascular System The cardiovascular system has two major components: the heart and a network of blood vessels. The cardiovascular system supplies the tissues and cells of the body with nutrients, respiratory gases, hormones, and metabolites and removes the waste products of cellular metabolism as well as foreign matter. It is also responsible for maintaining the optimal internal homeostasis of the body and the critical regulation of body temperature and pH. The inhalation of air pollutants eventually leads to their absorption into the bloodstream and transport to the heart. A wide spectrum of chemical and biological substances may interact directly with the cardiovascular system to cause structural changes, such as degenerative necrosis and inflammatory reactions. Some pollutants may also directly cause functional alterations that affect the rhythmicity and contractility of the heart. If severe enough, functional changes may lead to lethal arrhythmias without major evidence of structural damage to the myocardium. There also may be indirect actions secondary to changes in other organ systems, especially the central and autonomic nervous systems and selective actions of the endocrine system. Some cytokines released from other inflamed organs may also produce adverse cardiovascular effects, such as reducing the mechanical performance and metabolic efficiency of the heart and blood vessels. Many chemical substances may cause the formation of reactive oxygen. This oxidative

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metabolism is considered to be critical to the preservation of cardiovascular function. For example, oxygen free radicals oxidize low-density lipoproteins, and this reaction is thought to be involved in the formation of the atherosclerotic plaques. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins can injure blood vessel cells and increase adherence and the migration of inflammatory cells to the injured area. The production of oxygen free radicals in heart tissues has been associated with arrhythmias, and heart cell death. Heart and Lung Diseases Heart and lung illnesses and diseases are common in Canada, and there are many factors that can increase the chances of contracting them such as smoking and genetic predisposition. The role of air pollution as the underlying cause remains unclear but is the subject of considerable research. However, it is clear that air pollution, infections and allergies can exacerbate these conditions. An early diagnosis can lead to appropriate treatment and ensure a normal or close to normal quality of life. In many cases however, there is no cure and those affected may die prematurely. The following are the most prevalent diseases: Minor Lung Illnesses - the common cold is the most familiar of these, with symptoms including sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, coughing and sometimes irritation of the eyes. Lung Infections - croup, bronchitis, and pneumonia are caused by viruses or bacteria and are very common. Symptoms may include cough, fever, chills and shortness of breath. Asthma - is an increasingly common chronic disease among children and adults. It causes shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing or whistling in the chest. Asthma attacks can be triggered by a variety of factors including exercise, infection, pollen, allergies and stress. It can also be triggered by a sensitivity to non-allergic types of pollutants present in the air such as smog. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - is also known as chronic obstructive lung disease and encompasses two major disorders: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is a

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chronic disorder in which the walls and elasticity of the alveoli are damaged. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by inflammation of the cells lining the inside of bronchi, which increases the risk of infection and obstructs airflow in and out of the lung. Smoking is responsible for approximately 80% of COPD cases while other forms of air pollution may also influence the development of these diseases. Symptoms include cough, production of mucous and shortness of breath. It is important to note that no cure exists for people suffering from COPD although healthy lifestyle and appropriate medication can help. Lung Cancer - is the most common cause of death due to cancer in women and men. Cigarette smoke contains various carcinogens and is responsible for most cases of this often fatal disease. The symptoms of lung cancer begin silently and then progress to chronic cough, wheezing and chest pain. Air pollution has been linked somewhat weakly to lung cancer. Coronary Artery Disease - refers to the narrowing or blocking of the arteries or blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This disease includes angina and heart attack which share similar symptoms of pain or pressure in the chest. Unlike angina, the symptoms caused by heart attack do not subside with rest and may cause permanent damage to the heart. Smoking, lack of exercise, excess weight, high cholesterol levels in the blood, family history and high blood pressure are some of the factors that may contribute to this disease. Heart Failure - is a condition in which the heart is unable to cope with its work load of pumping blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. The most common cause is severe coronary artery disease. The main symptoms are shortness of breath and swelling of the ankles and feet. Heart-Rhythm Problems - are irregular or abnormal rhythms of the heart beat. In some cases heartrhythm problems are caused by coroneary artery disease. Symptoms of heart-rhythm problems influttering in the chest (palpitation) and feeling light-headed. Some heart-rhythm problems are lifethreatening and need emergency treatment. Air pollution can affect both the respiratory and cardiac systems. The health effects of air pollution can be seen as a pyramid, with the mildest but not

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common effects at the bottom of the pyramid, and the least common but more severe at the top of the pyramid. The pyramid demonstrates that as severity decreases the number of people affected increases. Population at Risk Although everyone is at risk from the health effects of air pollution, certain sub-populations are more susceptible. Individual reactions to air contaminants depend on several factors such as the type of pollutant, the degree of exposure and how much of the pollutant is present. Age and health are also important factors. The elderly and people suffering from cardio-respiratory problems such as asthma appear to be the most susceptible groups. Children and newborns are also sensitive to the health effects of air pollution since they take in more air than adults for their body weight and consequently, a higher level of pollutants. People who exercise outdoors on hot and smoggy days are also at greater risk due to their increased exposure to pollutants in the air. Leading Causes of Hospitalization Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of hospitalization in Canada. In 1996-1997 there were 3.16 million hospital admissions in Canada of which

cardiovascular and respiratory diseases accounted for 15% and 9%, respectively. Air pollution exacerbates the condition of people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and causes measurable increases in the rates of hospitalization for these diseases. We do not yet understand the role of air pollution in causing these illnesses in the Canadian population. Leading Causes of Death Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are among the leading causes of death in Canada. In 1997, 37% and 9% of over 200 000 deaths were related to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases respectively. Air pollution causes measurable increases in non-accidental mortality. b. Animals

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Some air pollutants harm plants and animals directly. Other pollutants harm the habitat, food or water that plants and animals need to survive. Read on to learn more about how air pollutants harm plants and animals. When acidic air pollutants combine with water droplets in clouds, the water becomes acidic. When those droplets fall to the ground, the acid rain can damage the environment. Damage due to acid rain kills trees and harms animals, fish, and other wildlife. Acid rain can destroy the leaves of plants like in the picture at the left. When acid rain soaks into the ground, it can make the soil an unfit habitat for many living things. Acid rain also changes the chemistry of the water in lakes and streams, harming fish and other aquatic life. Air pollutants called chlorofluorocarbons (or CFCs) have destroyed parts of the ozone layer.The ozone layer, located in the stratosphere layer of Earth's atmosphere, shields our planet from the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. The areas of thin ozone are called ozone holes. Ultraviolet radiation causes skin cancer and damages plants and wildlife. Ozone molecules wind up near the Earth's surface as a part of air pollution. Ozone molecules near the ground damages lung tissues of animals and prevent plant respiration by blocking the openings in leaves where respiration occurs. Without respiration, a plant is not able to photosynthesize at a high rate and so it will not be able to grow. c. Environment Even everyday levels of air pollution may insidiously affect health and behavior. Indoor air pollution is a problem in developed countries, where efficient insulation keeps pollutants inside the structure. In less developed nations, the lack of running water and indoor sanitation can encourage respiratory infections. Carbon monoxide, for example, by driving oxygen out of the bloodstream, causes apathy, fatigue, headache, disorientation, and decreased muscular coordination and visual acuity. A recently discovered result of air pollution are seasonal holes in the ozone layer in the atmosphere above Antarctica and the Arctic, coupled with growing evidence of global ozone depletion. This can increase the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth, where it damages crops and plants and can lead to skin cancer and cataracts. This depletion has been caused largely by the emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from refrigerators, air conditioners, and aerosols. The

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Montreal Protocol of 1987 required that developed nations signing the accord not exceed 1986 CFC levels. Several more meetings were held from 1990 to 1997 to adopt agreements to accelerate the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances. AGENCIES THAT HELP TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its partners are consolidating action to address Metro Manila's air pollution, a major cause of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. "We're now finalizing a massive, total clean air program," DENR-Environmental

Management Bureau (EMB) Director Juan Miguel Cuna said during a special edition of the government's combined Communication and News Exchange (CNEX) Forum and "Talking Points" radio program Tuesday at the Philippine Information Agency headquarters in Quezon City. Studies show vehicles are Metro Manila's top air pollution generator so in finalizing the program, Cuna said DENR-EMB is coordinating with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Land Transportation Office, Clean Air Initiative, local government units concerned and other transport authorities. He raised urgency for consolidated action, noting World Bank data released earlier show total health cost and income loss from local air pollution is about P7.6 billion annually. Cuna said DENR-EMB is considering to revive its initiative allowing citizens to report, through texting, plate numbers of smoke-belching vehicles they see so authorities can go after these. DENR-EMB also wants buses to hit the road only if these are in good condition and don't belch out smoke, he noted. He reported DENR-EMB likewise targets boosting its campaign against private emission testing centers that issue clearances even without first testing vehicles. "It also helps to use clean fuel," he further said. Citing results of DENR-EMB's previous efforts on addressing air pollution, he reported total suspended particulates in Metro Manila dropped to 133 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) during 2010's second half. "This still exceeds the standard 90 ug/Ncm level, however," he clarified. He noted air pollution is highest in Metro Manila due to number of vehicles in this largest urban hub of the Philippines. "Metro Manila is where air pollution is highest - vehicle registration here is big compared to other regions," he said. Readings from DENR's Metro Manila monitoring stations

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show pollution is worst along the EDSA-Taft Avenue area, he noted. During the forum, Cuna urged people to join DENR-EMB's fight against air pollution. "We need everyone's help -- this isn't an easy task," he said.He also reassured DENR-EMB will continue providing the public with technical assistance on addressing the problem. SIMPLE WAYS TO PREVENT AIR POLLUTION So, how can we prevent air pollution? The fact is that human activities contribute the most to any type of pollution. Hence, it is our responsibility to find solutions. And considering the harmful effects of air pollution, it is high time that everyone contributes a bit to prevent release of pollutants. There are certain ways that one can follow for reducing emission of air pollutants in the atmosphere. For clear understanding, refer to the following tips for preventing air pollution.

A. Car Pool Forming and implementing a car pool will reduce the number of cars, thereby, preventing air pollution by cutting down the use of fossil fuels. This way, it will help in the sustainable use of fossil fuel and its conservation for the future generations. It is suggested to use bike as transportation.

B. Vehicle Care Timely servicing of the car helps to keep it in a good condition, and also minimizes fuel exhaust. Driving the car at an average speed and turning off in traffic are the thumb rules to save fuel. Make sure to use unleaded petrol and opt for regular pollution checking of your car.

C. Public Transport Whenever possible, try to travel by public transports. This helps in two ways; prevents air pollution and increases public income. If you are going to a nearby place, go by walking or use a bicycle,

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instead of using your vehicle. The objective is to minimize the use of fuels as far as possible.

D. Alternative Energy Source Another effective way to prevent air pollution is to use alternative energy sources such as solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and wind energy. Nowadays, sophisticated technologies such as wind turbine, solar water heaters and to generate electricity and other energy forms for household uses.

E. Saving Energy Saving energy will, of course, help to prevent air pollution. Switch off the lights, fans, air conditioners, televisions, and other appliances, when not in use. You can also share a room with others when the air conditioner or fan is on, instead of switching them on in every room.

F. Minimize Air Pollutants Always try to minimize smoke emission, as it contributes a lot to air pollution. One way is to compost dried leaves and kitchen waste, instead of burning them. Composting will also give you organic fertilizer for your garden. Other tips include replacing old wood stoves or gas furnaces, avoiding solvents, and most importantly, do not smoke in the home.

G. Recyclable Materials Recycling is a simple approach to reduce pollution in two ways; save energy which is required for disposing and minimize the pollutants released. The recyclable materials include plastic bottles, aluminum cans and utensils, paper, craft papers, cardboard, corrugated boxes, and glass bottles.

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H. Smart Purchasing Remember to carry paper bags and minimize using plastic bags. While buying the products, always choose air-friendly and recyclable products that will minimize the emission of pollutants. Also, shop for only energy-efficient appliances that use less packaging. Buy rechargeable batteries for frequently used devices. I. Plant more trees Trees and other plants make their own food from carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, water, sunlight and a small amount of soil elements. In the process, they release oxygen (O2) for us to breathe. Trees help to settle out, trap and hold particle pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs. They absorb CO2 and other dangerous gasses and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen. They produce enough oxygen on each acre for 18 people every day and absorb enough CO2 on each acre, over a year's time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles. Trees remove gaseous pollutants by absorbing them through the pores in the leaf surface. Particulates are trapped and filtered by leaves, stems and twigs, and washed to the ground by rainfall. Air pollutants injure trees by damaging their foliage and impairing the process of photosynthesis (food making). They also weaken trees making them more susceptible to other health problems such as insects and diseases. The loss of trees in our urban areas not only intensifies the urban "heat-island" effect from loss of shade and evaporation, but we lose a principal absorber of carbon dioxide and trapper of other air pollutants as well. Social awareness about air pollution facts is the most essential step to be taken for the prevention of air pollution. Awareness programs and/or advertisements should be encouraged, so that people understand the potential health hazards of pollution. Improvement of transport facilities and proper use of land for the sake of social benefits are equally important for controlling air pollution.