LAHORE – About 7 million people die annually from air pollution worldwide while 4.2 million are due to exposure to environmental air pollution including smog, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
These views were expressed by General Cadre Doctors Association (GCDA) President Dr Masood Sheikh while addressing a conference on smog at Special Children here on Sunday. He added that 9 out of 10 people breathed air that exceeded the World Health Organization’s standards for pollution. Among them, low and middle income countries suffered the most, including Pakistan. Smokers are at greater risk of lung damage from cigarette smoke and can even end up reactivating tuberculosis.
Dr. Masood Sheikh said that the effects of smog on living things will not only harm the health of people and animals but will also affect the entire environment. Various topographic conditions, global temperature changes, and environmental changes all affect human health and the environment, including animal life. Smog, refers to the mixture of smoke particles and solid and liquid fog. It is usually seen as a black or yellow haze that remains in the atmosphere. It is a type of air pollution that creates serious environmental and health problems. in many areas around the world. Dr. Sheikh said high levels of ozone in smog irritate the respiratory system, leading to wheezing and coughing. Smog can cause asthma attacks and worsen asthma conditions that cause wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Continuous exposure to smog increases the chance of premature death from respiratory diseases and cancer. Smog results in allergic reactions, coughing and irritation in the chest, eyes, throat and nose. After exposure, affected individuals typically suffer from these effects for a few days. But the particles contained in smog continue to damage the lungs even after the irritation subsides. Chronic cough that causes heartburn or a sour taste in a person’s mouth, sore throat, sore eyes and common cold. Fog particles contain formaldehyde, butadiene, and benzene – all carcinogens. Inhalation of haze particles is responsible for many premature deaths.
Dr. Fatima Majeed, a health consultant, said industry and vehicles are the biggest contributors to smog pollution. Therefore, the best way to reduce smog is to manage gaseous emissions from industry and automobiles. It is the basis for the industry to use renewable energy sources and produce environmentally friendly consumer products. Dr. Rana Rafique said that due to exposure to secondhand smoke, pregnant women can give birth to babies with abnormalities and low birth weight.