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Preventing the harmful effects of air pollution : WHO Guidelines

Preventing the harmful effects of air pollution : WHO Guidelines

Outdoor air pollution is a major environmental health problem affecting everyone in developed and developing countries alike. By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.The lower the levels of air pollution, the better the cardiovascular and respiratory health of the population will be, both long- and short-term. According to a WHO assessment of the burden of disease due to air pollution, more than 2 million premature deaths each year can be attributed to the effects of urban outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution (caused by the burning of solid fuels). More than half of this disease burden is borne by the populations of developing countries.


Measures for combating Air Pollution are as follows :
Firstly take all available measures to minimize your exposure to air pollution

  • Find out the nearest pollution monitoring station in your neighborhood and websites where the levels of air pollution are published and follow any advice from local authorities to guide your planned activities.
  • Keep rooms inside homes clean. Wet mopping and dusting are preferable to sweeping or vacuuming (unless your vacuum has a High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter) as these can stir up additional dusts and particles.
  • Create a clean room for sleeping. A good choice would be one with few windows and doors. If the room has windows, keep them closed.
  • Run an air conditioner or air purifier or central air conditioning system if you are certain your air conditioner does not draw air from outdoors and has an appropriate filter.

Secondly – avoid adding to air pollution levels

  • Do not use wood-burning stoves, candles, and incense as these will all add to air pollution levels by producing particulate matter.
  • Stop use of cigarettes and other tobacco products as these will also add to air pollution as well as other adverse health effects
  • Reduce unnecessary travel by cars, scooters and other motorized vehicles.This will not only prevent additional personal exposure but it will prevent adding to already high pollution levels
    for others.
  • Do not burn leaves, garbage, crop residue, plastic or other materials.Burning these materials adds greatly tolocal pollution levels. In residential areas, this is particularly hazardous.

Finally and most importantly visit your family doctor or health clinic if you are feeling unwell.

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  1. \’Industrial development , mechanization \’ in many instances appear to be happening at cross purposes with environmental air pollution particularly in regions where the pace of the process overtakes health concerns. Short term targets and objectives for today tend to gain precedence over worries of tomorrow. Striking the \’balance\’ is crucial by all at all stages. Murar Yeolekar ,Mumbai