Unhealthy air has harmful effects on the health. Research shows that air pollutants like ozone increase the seriousness of suffering from lung and heart disease and other health problems. Severe exposure to air pollution is also fatal. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2019 that outdoor air pollution caused 4.2 million premature deaths around the world each year. These untimely deaths were due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers.
Smog is a common air pollutant that reduces visibility. The term combines smoke and fog. Smog is dangerous to humans, animals, and plants. Smog is unpleasant because it creates a blurry atmosphere. It makes the sky appear gray or brown. Smog protection is always a must due to the increased risks of road accidents since smog makes it difficult for people to travel and drive. Smog is common in large cities with many factories and heavy traffic. Smog protection is essential to stay safe from health problems.
8 Harmful Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Smog
- Burning eyes
- Throat irritation
- Heart diseases
- Respiratory failure
Like other air pollution, smog increases people’s chances of suffering from illnesses due to inhaling unhealthy air. Some individuals need to observe smog protection since they have a higher risk due to exposure to poor outdoor air quality.
People Prone to Unhealthy Air
- People with heart or lung disease - those with conditions like heart failure, angina, emphysema, or asthma are more likely to react adversely to bad air quality
- Older adults - they are more likely to have heart or lung disease
- Children and teenagers - their lungs and respiratory systems are still developing and they are more active outdoors
- Pregnant women – inhaling unhealthy air that contains toxic substances could endanger the mother and baby inside the womb
- People with diabetes – exposure to unhealthy air can worsen their heart and health
- People who exercise and active outdoors – they can breathe in toxic substances that are dangerous to their health
In the Philippines, the Air Quality Management Section (AQMS) under the Environmental Quality Management Division (EQMD) of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) implements the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 or RA 8749. The law monitors air pollution levels and sources and is one of the major environmental laws in the country.
Air pollution in the Philippines is a major concern which is why smog protection is vital. Understanding the Air Quality Index (AQI) helps people know the quality of air in a specific area. It has assigned a numerical scale from 0 to 500 and divided into color-coded categories that represent different levels of air quality.
Air Quality Index Scale
- Green Zone (0-50) - Good Air Quality
- Yellow Zone (51-100) - Moderate Air Quality
- Orange Zone (101-150) - Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
- Red Zone (151-200) - Unhealthy Air Quality
- Purple Zone (201-300) - Very Unhealthy Air Quality
- Maroon Zone (301 and higher) - Hazardous Air Quality
AQI is an important tool to monitor air pollution like smog as it continues to be a global issue. It has a significant impact on the health and well-being of people. By tracking air quality, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself from breathing unhealthy air. Here are 8 practical and effective smog protection tips you can observe to keep yourself and your family from the harmful effects of air pollution.
8 Smog Protection Tips
1. Check daily air quality forecasts.
Smog protection includes checking daily reports from radio, television, newspapers, and online news sources. You can also download weather apps on your phone that send alerts on the quality of air. It helps to check the daily forecasts to know the air quality in an area and keep yourself protected before stepping outside the house.
2. Stay indoors.
Shut your doors and windows if there is a smog alert warning or you live near a factory, highways, or mining. This will prevent poor outdoor air from getting inside your home.
3. Avoid exercising outdoors when there are high pollution levels.
Another smog protection tip you can observe is to do your workout indoors instead of running outside where you can breathe in toxic substances emitted from buses and cars, especially in high-traffic areas. You can do your workout at home, inside a gym, or just walk around the mall.
4. Walk, bike, or carpool.
You can use any or a combination of these alternatives when shopping or going to school or work instead of driving your car. Aside from saving money on fuel, doing this can help lessen the emission of carbon monoxide.
5. Use less energy at home.
You can decrease toxic substances released in the air if you reduce energy use and opt for eco-friendly sources like solar power. This will control greenhouse gas emissions and make the air inside your house cleaner and healthier for your family. Smog protection includes switching off your lights and unplugging your appliances when you are not using them. Electricity adds to air pollution. You lower the amount of air pollution when you reduce your electricity usage.
6. Do not burn wood or trash.
This smog protection tip also applies to dry leaves that are burned inside the backyard. Small solid particles called soot spread in the air which is dangerous to your health when you breathe it.
7. Wear a mask.
Always put on a mask when you are traveling outside, especially to a place with poor air quality. Masks filter out dust, pollen, and pollution in the air that are harmful to your health once you inhale them.
8. Plant trees.
Planting trees is good for humans and clean environment. Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe in order to live. It also absorbs carbon dioxide and improves the quality of air.
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Unhealthy air caused by smog and other air pollutants is an environmental and health concern in many countries like the Philippines. Smog increases people’s risks of suffering from illnesses if they inhale and are exposed to this pollutant for a long time. Smog protection must be observed by vulnerable people like older adults and those with heart and respiratory ailments. There are smog protection tips that you can follow to protect yourself and your family from breathing unhealthy air.
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