Air pollution is a hidden and invisible cause of many diseases including lung cancer. There are about 7 billion people in the world. Every year air pollution ALONE kills about 7 million. 1/3 of these deaths come from south East Asian countries like India. So the golden question is:
How is air pollution linked with lung cancer?
What is air pollution?
The air we breathe is filled with a variety of different components including carbon dioxide, different gases or particles. Dangerous and excessive quantities of these is harmful to us humans.
Air pollutants have a negative impact on lifestyle and health. Apart from the multiple diseases causes it also damages non-human organisations such as plants and animals. These pollutants can be natural or man made.
Primary vs Secondary pollutants
Primary pollutants are those that are pollutants from the start such as the sole from a volcanic eruption or gas from a car exhaust or sulphur dioxide from factories.
Secondary pollutants are those that become pollutants once they interact with primary pollutants such as particles from the ozone layer.
How can I stop air pollution?
Everyday we do many things that cause air pollutions. Many of us don’t even realise the following are causes of air pollution:
- Cigarette smoke
- Burning bodies
- Fumes from paint, hair spray and varnishes
- Waste deposits in landfills
- Power plants smoke
- Nuclear weapons, guns, rocketry
- Fertilization of farm land
- Driving / Car exhausts
What is PM2.5?
Simply put its the amount of particles in the air. Technically speaking, “atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometer”. These fine particles are responsible for multiple diseases including cancer.
What is the air quality index (AQI) around the Mumbai vs india?
According to the US consulate, on 29th May 2019, the air pollution level in Mumbai was 70 versus an alarming 186 around Delhi. While reading AQI, 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 is considered moderate and anything about 150 is consider unhealthy.
How is it linked to lung cancer?
Research has proven, long term exposure to PM2.5 leads to increased risk of lung cancer. In fact, its not just lung cancer, but carcinogens in the air have lead people to have heart attacks, heart diseases and other lung diseases such as fatal pneumonia.
“I’m living in India. How do I protect myself”
Given the severe levels it is very difficult and all the more imminent for everyone to try to protect themselves against air pollutions. Although there may be some factors that are out of control there are several factors that can be taken inhand;
- Carpool – especially in cities like Delhi where the Car:Human ratio is more than 1:1 it is suggested to carpool so that multiple cars do not exhaust gas.
- Turn off car is not in use or waiting at the traffic light
- Avoid fire places and wood stove.
- Avoid burning leaves and other items
- Conserve energy – every time you switch off lights, turn off fan you are helping
- Participate in local energy conservation programs
- Environmental friendly waste management system
- Use low VOC products (for solvents, solutions and paints)
- Cautiously use products that produce emission
- Explore alternate power usage such as solar power
Sadly, air pollution might be there if there are large amount of factories in the neighbourhoods. If you are genetically at the risk for such diseases you should be even more cautious. In any situation, it is highly suggested to keep an eye for diseases that might be cause because of poor air quality. As even if you cannot avoid it, if you catch it early you can treat it.