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Air Quality Day : all you need to know about air pollution

National Air Quality Day will be held on September 16. Organized by the Ministry of the Environment, this event aims to raise awareness of the importance of breathing clean air. On this occasion, let's recall the key points to remember about air pollution.

What is air pollution ?

It is estimated that air pollution kills seven million people worldwide each year. Ambient air pollution is responsible for approximately 4.2 million deaths per year from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic respiratory disease.

Air pollution is a mixture of particles and gases that can reach harmful concentrations both outdoors and indoors. Soot, smoke, mould, pollen, methane and carbon dioxide are just a few examples of common pollutants.

The ozone layer, which is crucial to the existence of the planet's ecosystems, is being depleted due to increased pollution. Global warming, a direct consequence of the increased imbalance of gases in the atmosphere, is known as the greatest threat and challenge to the survival of the contemporary world.

What are the sources of pollution ?

In order to understand the causes of air pollution, we can make several distinctions. Air pollution can be classified into two categories: invisible pollution and visible pollution.

Visible air pollution, as its name implies, can be visible. The smog you see over a city is an example of visible pollution. Invisible air pollution is less visible, but can be more deadly. Good examples of invisible air pollutants are sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.

The main causes of air pollution :

  • Fossil fuels : the main causes of air pollution are related to the ignition of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). The combustion of these raw materials occurs mainly during or in the operation of the industrial and land transport sectors.
  • Agricultural activities : are also a source of air pollutant emissions. Indeed, ammonia is a very common by-product of agriculture-related activities and is one of the most dangerous gases in the atmosphere. The use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities has increased significantly. They emit harmful chemicals into the air and can also pollute water.
  • Exhaust from factories and industries : Manufacturing industries release large amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds and chemicals into the air, which depletes air quality.
  • Automobile traffic : transportation accounts 30% of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, but also water vapor) into the atmosphere. On average, each car emits nearly 2 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Natural events : Some natural events, such as volcanoes and forest fires, are naturally occurring and cause air pollution.

But did you know that indoor air is 5 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air ? The reason for this is :

  • Household products : household cleaning products, paints, deodorizers, scented candles and incense emit toxic chemicals into the air and cause indoor air pollution.
  • Allergens : Allergens are microscopic agents mainly emitted by molds, insects, dust mites, pollens and pets. After contact with these allergens, some people may suffer from rhinitis, respiratory problems, eye infections, eye disorders...
  • Viruses and bacteria : generally, indoor air has a higher level of bacteria than outdoor air. These proliferate much more in winter than in summer, due to the lack of ventilation of the habitats.
  • Cigarette smoke : Tobacco smoke is the most dangerous pollution in our indoor air, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classified it as a carcinogen in 2002.

The consequences of air pollution

Health consequences

Air quality has an impact, primarily on our health and on our environment. the environment. The effects of air pollution can cause many respiratory and cardiac problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart attacks and strokes, as well as cancer.

Exposure to high levels of air pollution during pregnancy can also cause miscarriages and premature birth, autism, asthma and spectrum disorders in young children. It can also interfere with the early development of a child's brain and cause pneumonia, which kills nearly one million children under the age of five. Children are at greater risk for short-term respiratory infections and lung disease in areas exposed to air pollutants.

Environmental impacts

Another direct effect is the immediate alteration the world is experiencing due to global warming. With rising global temperatures, rising sea levels and melting ice in colder regions and icebergs, the displacement and loss of habitats have already signaled an impending disaster if conservation and standardization actions are not taken quickly.

Just like humans, animals also face some devastating effects of air pollution. Toxic chemicals in the air can force wildlife to move to a new location and change their habitat. Toxic pollutants are deposited on the water surface and can also affect marine animals. Pollution also has a significant impact on the depletion of the ozone layer. Ozone exists in the earth's stratosphere and is responsible for protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

What actions to take to act ?

Use public transportation

Encourage people to increasingly use public transportation to reduce pollution. Also try carpooling. If you and your colleagues are from the same community and have the same schedules, you can explore this option to save energy and money.

Best Housekeeping Practices

Discard chimneys and/or wood stoves used for home heating. Use gas logs instead of wood. Also eliminate the use of gas lawn and garden equipment. Avoid burning garbage, dry leaves or other materials in your yard, and avoid starting open bonfires. Try mulching or composting your yard waste. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products and paints.

Conserve and save energy

Turn off computers and lights when you go out. Many fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity. To save energy, compact fluorescent lights use less electricity than their counterparts. They live longer, use less electricity, lower electricity bills and also help you reduce pollution by using less energy.

Understanding the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle

Do not throw away objects that are not useful to you. Instead, reuse them for other purposes. For example, you can use old pots to store grains or legumes.

Don't miss our online open house ! Visit our Facebook page on September 16 to get the link !

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