Smog is a serious problem these days. It mostly occurs in big urban areas. Emissions from the vehicles and industries, as well as the combustion of wood and coal with certain weather conditions, are the main cause of the smog.
It is an air pollutant, a mixture of liquid and solid fog and smoke particles. Normally, it can be seen as yellowish or blackish fog, which remains suspended in the atmosphere. It happens when the oxides of nitrogen, sulfur and volatile organic compounds react with fumes and emissions to form ground level ozone. It can cause terrible effects on humans, plants and animals like;
- Coughing, irritation of the eyes, chest, nose and throat.
- Worsening of asthma symptoms.
- Breathing difficulties and lung damage.
- Premature deaths due to respiratory and cancer diseases.
- Birth defects and low birth weights.
- The risk of developing rickets.
- Risk of road accidents and even plane crashes.
- Severely damages the crops, trees and vegetation.
- Destroy plant life.
- Irritates sensitive tissues of animals.
There are the following tips that can help you at a personal level to prevent the adverse effects of the smog.
1. Limit Your Outdoor Activities.
Try to avoid exercising or playing in the smoggy conditions, particularly at midday when the ground-level ozone is at its highest. Change the time when you exercise in the morning or evening.
2. Cleaning Indoor Air.
Use the central or portable air cleaning systems that purify the air of the rooms by reducing the air pollutants of indoor or outdoor origin. Activated carbon filters also used to pull odors, gases, and vapors from the air.
3. Replace the Regular Light Bulb.
Use a compact fluorescent light bulb instead of a regular bulb which eliminates 136 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.
4. Surround Yourself with Clean Air.
Make sure to close windows and use air purifiers and air conditioners. Try to sleep in a clean room with as few windows open, as possible to reduce exposure to the outdoor.
5. Face Protection.
Make sure the use of a mask is most effective. The masks designed for industrial use are highly recommended.
6. Clean Your Home.
Use wet mopping of the floors to reduce dust and try to avoid vacuum cleaners that do not have a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
7. Stay Hydrated.
Drink plenty of water and healthy juices that will help clean your body and blood of harmful pollutants and make your immune system strong.
8. Don’t Burn Wood or Trash.
Burning of wood and trash is one of the major sources of particle pollution in many parts of the country. Try to limit it at the individual level.
9. Be Informed.
You can protect yourself and your family by checking daily air-quality alerts and news and plan your outdoor activities according to them. Limit the amount of time your children play outdoor.
10. Get Involved – Try to Limit Emissions.
We need to develop a system by working together that helps to improve air quality. Try to use public transport instead of driving to reduce emissions. While waiting for the government to act, or controls to implement. These are personal actions that can be taken by individuals to effectively reduce the risk of adverse health effects from air pollution.
Author: Zain Ali (MSc in Environmental Sciences)
Address: Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan