Air pollution is one of the vital environmental hazards requiring urgent attention. Ambient air pollution is responsible for 4.2 million deaths every year and 91% of the world’s population are living in polluted area where air quality doesn’t meet WHO criteria. More than half of the world’s population are living in urban areas but only 12% of the cities can meet WHO air quality standards.
Indoor pollution could be caused by various factors including cooking stoves, heating and lighting and factors causing outdoor air pollution includes emission from industries, transport, wildfires, and agricultural activities. Urban areas across the world have been suffered with poor air quality. Air quality is determined by measuring the prevalence of pollutants such as carbon-monoxide, particulate matter, light hydrocarbons, methane and compounds of sulphur and nitrogen.
Acute and chronic exposure to air pollution leads to numerous health effects. Air pollution is responsible for incidents of heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children. Furthermore, health effects of air pollution include respiratory ailments such as bronchiolitis, rhinopharyngitis, bronchial hyper section, lower breathing capacity, asthma, coughing, eye irritation, cardiovascular morbidity and carcinogenic effects. Air pollution affects economy and environment by damaging human health and ecological health and inducing productivity losses.
Various policies, regulations and strategies to minimize air pollution at the local and international level have been formulated and implemented worldwide. The 1999 Gothenburgh Protocol to abate acidifications, eutrophication and ground level ozone in one of the policies which sets regulations to minimize emissions of sulphur, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and volatile organic compounds. Conventions to minimize air pollution includes 1998 protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and 1998 protocol on heavy metals. Goal 3 of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 aims to reduce the deaths and illnesses from pollution and contamination.
ICT enabled us to find a lot of information regarding air pollution, live information, air quality index values and produce other pollutants. Government initiatives, regulatory framework, public authorities as well as individual attempts can be useful to minimize air pollution at the local, national and international level. Air pollution is avoidable by formulating and implementing appropriate policies to move towards efficient materials and resources management and technological advancements.