Air Pollution in Asia and Its Effect on Human Health: Air Pollution in Asia

Air Pollution in Asia and Its Effect on Human Health: Air Pollution in Asia

Ahmet Ozan Gezerman (Yildiz Technical University, Turkey) and Burcu Didem Çorbacıoğlu (Yildiz Technical University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3379-5.ch002


Although continuous efforts to monitor and mitigate air pollution are being made, it is still prevalent in most countries in the world. Major contributors include fossil fuel exhaust in metropolitan cities from industrial facilities and vehicular emissions. Use of renewable energy and natural gas have played a part in reducing air pollution; however, increasing populations, rampant urbanization, and industrialization, especially during winter months, have given rise to spikes in air pollution levels. Research shows that there is a close relationship between air pollution and mortality rates depending on respiration inadequacy. Studies show that contaminants increase respiratory afflictions in humans. Discontinuing use of fossil fuels, using appropriate burning techniques, and efficiency emission controls on vehicles have been proven to reduce air pollution levels.
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Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health

Air Pollution in the World

Air pollution is defined as the level of contaminants, such as SOx, NOx, and O3, that have negative effects on health. This contamination interferes with natural atmospheric cycles and negatively affects public health. Over the last 30 years, pollution levels recorded in big cities have been high. Until 1980, it is observed that 1.3 billion people lived in highly polluted cities. Air pollutants originate from industrial facilities, vehicular exhaust, and fuel consumption. Carbon emissions are expected to increase by five-fold by the year 2030. Pollution has also increased in rural areas due to rapid urbanization and increases in energy consumption(Akimotoi, 2017).

Chief components of air pollution include aerosol, fume, black carbon, and dust. Most contaminants contain sulfuric acid, sulfate, and nitrate salts . These compounds significantly affect the respiratory tract in humans. SO2 is a gaseous contaminant that is eliminated in the nose, while ozone and NO2 being insoluble in water tend to respiratory system. CO is directly soluble in the blood (Bayram et al, 1998).

Several studies on the chemical effects of air pollution on health have been conducted in the last 20 years. They have revealed that air pollution increases respiratory infection risk in children (Bayram et al, 2006). The studies were initiated after pollution episodes in London in 1952, in Donora in USA in 1947, and Meuse valley of Belgium in 1934, resulted in significant casualties (Bayram et al, 1998). In response to these episodes, emission control approaches that limited the use of coal were enforced in London. Air pollution checks, emission criteria and limitations have been also enforced by the World Health Organization (WHO). Concentrations of SO2and other selected gas contaminants as air quality criteria were selected by WHO, and have shown to be rather high in summer and winter months. Air pollution has recently been on the rise in Southeast Asian countries(Bayram et al, 2002).

Air Pollution in Rural Areas

In rural areas, air pollution is considered less serious as compared to water pollution(Bayram et al, 2001). Effects on health have been researched with various formations by different associations, and a connection between daily contamination ratio and general respiratory problem was determined(Bircan, 2003). Respiratory illnesses have been shown to increase in December-January in children as well as adults (Bosson et al., 2003; Devalia et al., 1994).Another study has found that there is positive relation between allergies and air pollution(Diaz-Sanchez, 1994). It is observed that there is a significant relation between particulate contaminants and SO2 levels (Elbir, 2000). In another study, it is found that there has been significant connection between respiratory illnesses with SO2 levels (Fişekçi et al., 1999). While yet another study reported that there is a linear connection between particulate contaminants and air’s relative moisture(Fişekçi et al., 2000). Connections between air pollution and asthma have also been found (Harrod et al., 2003) as well as between SO2 and particulate contaminants(Kaygusuz et al., 2003). There are other studies on connections between SO2 and particulate contaminants(Keles et al., 1999). Besides, respiratory illnesses rising from asthma and SO2 concentrations have increased (Koenig, 2016).

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