The Dangers of Smog And How to Tackle Them
The news about smog affecting the nation’s capital caught the attention of a lot of people recently. New Delhi was always one of the most polluted cities in the world, but the levels of pollution observed in the city immediately after the festival of Diwali were quite alarming. A lot of fingers have been pointed, but beyond all the politics, this issue is a real cause for concern.
In case you haven’t already guessed it, the word “smog” is a mixture of “smoke” and “fog”. It refers to the unhealthy combination of natural fog and the smoke generated by various air pollutants. These pollutants usually contain nitrogen oxides, methane and carbon dioxide in varying quantities. They do not move freely through the air and, as a result, end up giving the impression of a thick blanket enveloping the sky.
One of the major contributors to smog are the hundreds of thousands of vehicles plying on the roads. There are other factors which contribute as well, such as the crop burning phenomenon that was highlighted recently in and around New Delhi.
The list of health issues caused by smog is huge. Common ailments include asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. A host of other respiratory problems are also observed, along with constant irritation in the eyes and lung infections. Most of these disorders have long-term implications.
Apart from directly harming humans, smog can also hit us indirectly, by wreaking havoc on our crops and livestock. In short, smog is an example of substances that have the potential to damage the entire human race.
So what can be done about the issue? Some scientists have put forth a rather pessimistic argument that it is already too late to reverse the ill effects of pollution. This is a rather bleak portrait of the future, because our children will grow up in this polluted environment, which means a lot of them will likely suffer through a life full of respiratory disorders. But it is never too late to act to save our beautiful planet.
The reason why most of us do not act against smog is that it doesn’t hit us immediately. We do not see its negative effects today or even a week later. Smog affects us in the long term, which is why most people aren’t willing to make changes in their lives that will help fight against air pollution.
You can start acting today by making several small changes in your daily routine.
- Start using public transportation more often. If that is not possible, try to carpool more frequently. Use bicycles for short distances, or take a walk.
- Keep an eye out for the levels of smog in your locality. Use a mask to protect yourself outdoors and try using an air filter indoors.
- Exercise on a regular basis. The more you build your body’s endurance levels, the less you need to worry about respiratory disorders.
- Encourage your friends and local community members to plant more trees in your neighborhood.
- Indulge yourself in indoor gardening to ensure you breathe fresh air at home. (Watch how Kamal Meattle uses three common house plants to purify the air at his office space in this TED talk)
Consume a healthy diet that will nourish you and increase your body’s resistance.