Air pollution has huge effects on us even bigger than most of us can imagine. It goes beyond the severe health effects – Harming our bodies with every breath. It goes beyond the constant coughing, headaches and sore throat. Air pollution is changing our lives. What is it really doing to us? This is what we know.
1. Affecting the decisions we make in everyday life
Remember the days when you just jumped outside to grab an ice cream or meet up with a friend in that cozy outdoor coffee shop? Well, those days are far behind us. Before stepping out, we check websites or mobile applications which tell us how the air is outside. Is it suitable for activities outside? Can you enjoy a cup of coffee and a nice chat with your friend? Now you have realized that you must bring your pollution mask which does not really allow you to enjoy the day as freely as planned.
2. Changing the expectations we have for change
It is hard to remember the days when pollution was not on our mind and not an obstacle in our daily life. Initially, we thought that this problem is small and it will be fixed quickly by our government. We waited and waited, until pollution became a part of our life and it is hard to expect it to change any time soon. In fact, it seems that the problem is only growing and spreading, to water pollution and food contamination as well.
3. Influencing our plan for the future
Air pollution is not only affecting the decisions we make in our daily life, but it has also come to affect the choices we make for the future. Families are saving money for air purifiers, others are renovating their whole home to install advanced HVAC systems to filtrate the air. There are those who are making active choices on where to move and where their children should go to school in order to avoid air pollution. Some are even making plans to move out from the country. Should this really have to be something we worry about daily? Invest our money in and change our life drastically?
4. Health effects, of course
Air pollution is killing people daily. Why is it being ignored? Is it because it is so hard for us to connect the source of air pollution to ourselves? Is air pollution this distant demonic creature that we cannot control and cannot stop? What if we exchange the word “air pollution” to the name of a country, organization or person? “XYZ is killing 1.2 million people per year in India”, “XYZ is causing children to grow up with asthma and respiratory problems” or “XYZ is taking 4 years from our life expectancy”. Would we feel differently and try to stop the one causing this problem? Air pollution causes respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and death. It is also linked to diabetes, problems during pregnancies, lower IQ and autism.
5. Urging us to try and make a difference
Lastly, air pollution is causing some to try to make a difference. By recycling, reducing waste, skipping the car and walking instead. It might feel like a small difference, but it all has to start somewhere. In order to reduce air pollution, we first need to realize and accept that we are causing it. Next, we will be ready to make a change and only when the majority decides to change their habits, the problem can be solved. By teaching someone about air pollution, by increasing the awareness about what is happening, a change can slowly come.