The introduction or presence of pollutants that may harm the natural environment is referred to as pollution. Air pollution and water pollution are the two most common types of pollution, however, there are many more. Sound, light, and soil pollution, for example.
Many types of pollution may have a wide and long-term harmful influence on the human, plant, and animal health, as well as whole ecosystems.
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How air pollution affects people
The combustion of fossil fuels is the primary source of air pollution. Fossil-fuel-powered vehicles (cars, trucks, planes, ships, etc.) and coal- or oil-burning power plants and industries are the biggest contributors.
Any action that includes the burning of wood or fossil fuels, on the other hand, might cause particulate matter to be released. Tobacco products, stoves and ovens, candles, and fireplaces are examples of domestic sources. Air pollution may also be caused by volcanoes and wildfires.
Air pollution has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including breathing difficulties, asthma flare-ups, and even congenital defects. Toxic pollution is one of the main risk factors for noncommunicable illnesses worldwide, according to Pure Earth.
Noncommunicable illnesses account for 72 percent of all fatalities, with hazardous pollutants accounting for 16 percent.
Toxic pollution is responsible for 22% of all cardiovascular disease fatalities, 25% of stroke deaths, 40% of lung cancer deaths, and 53% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths.
This is in line with statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), which claims that air pollution kills 7 million people prematurely each year. The WHO recommends that 91-99 percent of the world’s population reside in areas where air quality surpasses WHO criteria.
Pollution by Particles
The Clean Air Act regulates five primary pollutants, all of which are measured by the US Environmental Protection Agency:
- ozone at ground level
- pollutant particles (also known as particulate matter, including PM2.5 and PM10)
- CO2 is a kind of carbon monoxide.
- Sulfuric acid
- the gas nitrogen dioxide
Particulate pollution is the most regularly measured of them. The World Health Organization used PM2.5 particle concentrations to identify the most polluted location on the planet.
PM2.5 (fine particulate matter 2.5) refers to airborne particles or droplets with a diameter of 2.5 microns (g).
PM2.5 is an air pollutant that, when present in high amounts, may be harmful to one’s health. When circumstances are deemed harmful for sensitive individuals, cities such as New York issue a PM2.5 Health Advisory.
Wildfires have prompted an increase in PM2.5 alerts in many other locations, including parts of Europe, Australia, Africa, and the western United States, in recent years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) sets a limit of 0-10 g/m3 for air pollution. IQ Air deems readings over 35.5 to be unhealthy for sensitive populations, levels between 55.5 and 150.4 to be harmful to everyone, and anything above to be either extremely unhealthy (150.5-250.4) or dangerous (250.5 or higher).
Top 5 Countries with the Worst Air Pollution – PM2.5 exposure (µg/m³) – IQ Air 2020
- Bangladesh – 77.10
- Pakistan – 59.00
- India – 51.90
- Mongolia – 46.60
- Afghanistan – 46.50
- Oman – 44.40
- Qatar – 44.30
- Kyrgyzstan – 43.50
- Indonesia – 40.70
- Bonsia & Hezegovina – 40.60
Bangladesh is the world’s most polluted nation, with average Pm2.5 levels of 77.10. This is down from 83.30 in 2019 and 97.10 in 2018. Air and water pollution, groundwater pollution, noise pollution, and solid wastes are the country’s principal environmental contaminants.
Dhaka City is one of the world’s most polluted cities. Bangladesh’s brickmaking sector, which works with one million people and produces 23 billion bricks each year, is the country’s major source of air pollution.
The kilns used to make bricks burn wood or coal, producing a lot of smoke and dust. The brickmaking business is likely to develop even more due to the rising demand for bricks, resulting in greater air pollution.
Pakistan is the world’s second-most polluted nation, with an average PM2.5 concentration of 59.00. For most of 2019, AQI scores in Punjab were continuously between “near unhealthy” and “extremely unhealthy,” reaching as high as 484.
The increased number of automobiles on the highways, large-scale tree losses, smoke from brick kilns and steel mills, and waste burning are all contributing to rising pollution in Pakistan. Pakistan’s climate change minister accused India of the country’s haze; nevertheless, Pakistanis blame their government for failing to monitor and address the situation.
With an annual PM2.5 concentration of 51.90, India is the world’s third most polluted nation.
Twenty-one of the world’s thirty most polluted cities is in India. Kanpur, India’s and the world’s most polluted city, gets roughly 600 respiratory ailment patients every month at the city’s medical college.
Vehicles, coal and wood combustion, dust storms, and forest fires all contribute to India’s harmful pollution levels.
Delhi, India’s capital district, is known for having some of the worst air in the country, causing airline cancellations, traffic accidents, school closures, and even turning the Taj Mahal’s white marble walls yellow and green.
In India’s rural regions, pollution is particularly severe since people depend on wood and ash for cooking and warmth, and crop stubble is still burning.
Mongolia is the world’s fourth most polluted nation. The average PM2.5 concentration in Mongolia is 46.60. Coal and other biomass, such as wood or agricultural waste, are burned in stoves to produce the most pollution in Mongolia.
Respiratory infections have climbed 270 percent in Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator, during the previous 10 years, and youngsters in the capital city have 40 percent weaker lung function than those in rural regions.
Air pollution has a detrimental influence on 70-90 percent of pregnant moms treated at a Mongolian family health center. Pneumonia and other respiratory infections are being identified in infants as early as two days old.
With an average PM2.5 level of 46.50, Afghanistan is the world’s fifth most polluted nation. Air pollution was more hazardous than the Afghan conflict in 2017, according to statistics.
Around 26,000 people died as a result of air pollution-related ailments in that year, whereas 3,483 people died as a result of fighting.
Due to limited rainfall, inconsistent groundwater usage, and inadequate infrastructure in cities, over 80% of drinking water in Afghanistan is contaminated. Food poisoning is often caused by a lack of safe drinking water.
Most Polluted Countries 2022
|Country||Average PM2.5 (µg/m³)||2022 Population|
|United Arab Emirates||38.94||10,081,785|
|Bosnia And Herzegovina||34.58||3,249,317|