To Breathe or Not To Breathe


Mackenna Kimbu, Writer

Every action that we take either has a good or bad effect on the environment. Pollution is one of the major effects we have on our environment. A common type of pollution that most of humanity plays a role in is air pollution.

We have all come across the discussion of air pollution at some point in our lives.Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings and causes damage to the climate.Aerosols, which are solid and liquid particles that are suspended into the air, contribute to the cause of air pollution. The other contributors are gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur oxide. These gases and aerosols can come from car and truck exhaust, factories, dust, pollen, mold spores, volcanoes and wildfires. The health effects of air pollution are serious – one third of deaths are from strokes, lung cancer, and heart disease, all due to air pollution. This is having an equivalent effect to that of smoking tobacco, and much higher than, say, the effects of eating too much salt (World Health Organization). There is still hope for us to reduce these effects and it starts with the action you take.

Here are some of the ways you can help to reduce air pollution and make a safer world. Check your tires, you may not know this but if your car tires are not at the pressure specified by the manufacturer more fuel will be burnt. An alternative is to use public transport that can help with one less car on the road. If you donʻt not want to do either then choose a new car wisely, energy efficient and zero-emission cars are a great way to go green. At home, you can help with simple things like turning off the lights. The power plants that supply electricity use fossil fuels, which are a major component of air pollution. By turning off lights when leaving a room, you can save a lot of energy and reduce electricity demand. Try to use fans at home instead of air conditioners. They are notorious electricity consumers. Using a fan instead or combining it with an AC at a more efficient setting can conserve energy. These are just some of the many ways you can help reduce air pollution.

Overall, the world that we live in is going down a rabbit hole of pollution, and air pollution is one that seems to go unnoticed. I believe that we are too worried about the big problems like global warming and not thinking about the small things that add up to it, like air pollution. Currently, the pandemic has forced us all to put on a mask and I know for a fact that most people do not like wearing masks. So imagine if we came to a point where air pollution is irreversible, you might as well get used to living with a mask because the very thing that you breathe in will be threatening.Therefore I believe that air pollution must be eliminated if we humans are to survive and thrive. Step l have taken to move towards this goal by walking more often, removing my air conditioner, and Iʻve learned how to grow food. The real question is how are you helping?