Health and pollution- Effects and consequences
Health and pollution are not just two different things, they are one of those things that have huge correlation between these two things, and since we all are living on earth, our goal must be related to minimize the effect of pollution on the former part.
Health refers to the state of complete mental and physical well being and not the absence of disease or infirmity.
Characteristics of a healthy person
- Weight and height ratio is normal.
- Normal appetite
- Body functioning and metabolism is proper.
- Absence of illness and inability
- Brain organ coordination is proper.
- Adequate secretion of hormones by endocrine glands.
Pollution: The contamination of air, water, land, sound by the presence of unhealthy or undesirable impurities including chemicals and radiation called pollutants is referred to as pollution.
Environmental pollution is mainly attributed to anthropogenic activities like excessive use of automobiles, smoking, seawage disposal, nuclear wars etc. Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, landslides and typhoons also cause significantly lead to pollution of natural resources.
These have a drastic impact on the health of a person. In the contemporary world, people inhale smoke air and foul smell whenever they are out of their homes. This has many evident and latent impacts on the body functioning and metabolism.
If a person is educated regarding his health he will know that personal and domestic hygiene is significant for ensuring good health. Informed people are also more informed about the advanced medical treatments, techniques, equipments and accessories. Such a person will definitely not be afraid to undergo a surgical operation if absolutely necessary.
How does pollution affect health
There are many ways in which environmental pollution poses hazard to the health of people. Pollution can be categorized into the following types.
Air pollution: It refers to the contamination of the atmosphere due to the presence of undesirable and noxious gases. The air pollutants like smoke and carbon monoxide enter into the bloodstream and vehemently affect the normal respiratory process.
Contaminated air containing carbon monoxide enters into the respiratory tract through the nostrils. Hence the human blood will contain carboxyhaemoglobin instead of oxyhaemoglobin. When carboxyhaemoglobin circulates through the entire body, it affects each and every organ and tissue. This causes suffocation and breathing problems.
In order to counter air pollution related problems, many environment friendly initiatives have come up. These include e-bikes, e-rickshaws, CNG fuelled vehicles, catalytic conversion devices etc.
Soil or Land pollution: Soil pollution affects soil chemistry, alters nutrient concentration like the nitrogen content required for plant growth. Landfills consist of pollutants which emit foul and noxious smell. Unprecedented use of fertilizers affects the soil chemistry and natural systems in the environment, affecting crop productivity.
Impure water affects parameters like Dissolved Oxygen(D.O.) and Biological oxygen demand of fresh water systems. This in turn enters into the body of aquatic organisms. This travels farther in the food chain. With each level of consumption, the proportion of pollutants measured in the units of particles per million(ppm) increase. This is referred to as biological magnification.
Noise pollution: Sound level higher than the normal hearing range causes noise pollution which is characterized by severe symptoms like headaches, memory loss etc.
Radioactive pollution: It is caused by effects of radiation during exposure to X rays or due to nuclear explosions.
Effects of pollution on health
Pollution causes endless major and minor disorders upon the health of humans, plants, birds, fishes and all other organisms.
The effects can be further classified as:
- Effects on plants: Plants are autrotrophic organisms which depend to a great degree upon water, oxygen, carbon di oxide and soil nutrients for the natural processes like photosynthesis and respiration. Air pollution affects the hydrological and gaseous cycle, developing certain modifications which ultimately retards and impairs plant growth. Soil pollution affects the proportion of nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous etc. which affects plant growth.
- Effects on terrestrial life: Air pollution changes the delicate environmental balance. Presence of noxious gases causes nasal infections and disorders as well as severe respiratory disorders in plants and animals. The oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen mixes with atmospheric water to form sulphuric acid and nitric acid respectively. Acid rain is the most toxic hazard and can cause burning sensations in plants and animals. Human beings are also susceptible to the hazards posed by noise and radioactive pollution
- Effects on birds and moths: Air pollution affects the seasonal cycles and this in turn affects the migratory cycles of birds. The bird population therefore starts to dwindle in pollution-inflicted areas and this in turn affects the ecosystem. The color and brightness of butterflies and moths begins to fade away, due to presence of smoke and increased concentration of carbon di oxide in the atmosphere.
- Effects on aquatic life: In case of aquatic organisms, the major contribution to pollution is water pollution. Alteration in the natural constitution of water increases the value of Biochemical oxygen demand. BOD refers to the oxygen required for disintegrating dissolved chemicals. Increased value of BOD therefore refers to higher impurity in water and poses risk to the underwater life.
Effects of air pollution on human health
Fresh air is an absolute necessity. Those without access to fresh air may suffer from respiratory disorders. If a person inhales Carbon monoxide, it will diffuse from alveolar air to blood and then attach with haemoglobin, forming the compound carboxyhaemoglobin.
Therefore the quantity of haemoglobin available to mobilize and distribute oxygen in the body is reduced by great margins. This leads to an oxygen deficiency condition further producing symptoms like headache and nausea. It must however be remembered that that inadequacy of oxygen does not affect all body tissues in the same manner. Skeleton, heart and brain have active tissues and so they are more prone to acquire oxygen deficiency disorders.
Industries are an indispensable part of our economy. From lithium batteries to
Vacuum cleaners, everything is a product of industrial manufacturing. For students and qualified trainees, being in close proximity with advanced machinery seems like fancy.
But the plight of the working personnel who come in direct contact with the equipments regularly is too critical. Workers are continually exposed to the risks of chronic respiratory diseases like silicosis and asbestosis, but still they have to continue working owing to their economic states.
Effects of water pollution on human health
Water pollution, caused due to altered chemical oxygen demand is a prime source of water borne diseases like jaundice.
Causes of water pollution
- Contamination of natural resources
- Indiscriminate use of pesticides
Water pollution is mainly attributed to unhealthy and illegal anthropogenic habits like disposal of household wastes, discharging untreated industrial effluents into open water resources like lakes and rivers.
People bathe and wash their clothes in the same pond, discharging hazardous domestic wastes into open waters. Water gets polluted and its parameters like hydrogen ion concentration, Dissolved Oxygen and Biochemical Oxygen Demand are altered. These parameters are actually indicative of the self cleansing abilities of water sources.
Dissolved Oxygen(D.O.): It refers to the total oxygen dissolved in water. Purified water sources will have higher D.O. as compared to impure water.
Chemical oxygen demand(C.O.D): It refers to the oxygen content needed for the degradation of chemical wastes in water. Contaminated water has a higher value of C.O.D.
Biochemical oxygen demand(B.O.D): It refers to the oxygen content needed for the degradation of biological and chemical wastes in water.
Microbes start thriving in contaminated water and start spreading diseases. The altered temperature supports microbial growth further, so they proliferate in open water sources. Vibrio cholerae is a bacterium which multiplies in polluted water and attacks the small intestine of human body, causing cholera. Similarly, Hepatitis A virus multiplies in polluted water.
Common health conditions associated with air pollution
Air pollution might cause endless respiratory diseases like laryngitis and pharyngitis which refer to the inflammation of larynx and nasopharynx respectively. Smoking makes a person vulnerable to a host of respiratory disorders.
When the terminal bronchioles get obstructed, the ventilation through alveoli also drops. The surface area of alveoli reduces affecting the respiratory cycle. This condition is referred to as Emphysema. Cigarette smoking is also known to cause many carcinogenic disorders.
Industrial workers are prone to number of diseases like silicosis and asbestosis. Some other common ailments include asthma, where patient’s respiratory system is seriously affected by the formation of swellings inside respiratory airways, leading to shortness of breath. Another lung related disorder is Compulsive Obstructive Pulmonary disorder(COPD), caused due to reduced air passageways in the respiratory tract.
Common health conditions associated with water pollution
Water pollution is cause of tuberculosis, pneumonia, dengue, typhoid, jaundice and digestive diseases like diarrhea. Some diseases have been discussed as under:
Dysentery: It is caused due to entry of bacteria directly into mouth through polluted water. Dysentery is marked by symptoms such as fever and abdominal pain.
Hepatitis: It refers to a viral infection that is caused as the liver is attacked by Hepatitis A virus.
Cholera: It refers to disease wherein the small intestine of our body gets attacked by a bacteria named vibrio cholerae.
Amoebiasis: It refers to a condition wherein the liver and large intestine of the body get affected seriously by attack of amoeba.
This is all for health and pollution. What are your views on health and pollution? Would you like to add any other thing in health and pollution?
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