Smog and Ways it Impacts us
Smog! I first heard this word when I was in my third or fourth grade…way, way back. My teacher told me that during winters you get a thick blanket of fog that combines with smoke and becomes something that is so polluted that you can’t see your way around and it is bad for you. Well, I didn’t understand much then.
Smog! I first heard this wordwhen I was in my third or fourth grade…way,way back. My teacher told me that during winters you get a thick blanket of fogthat combines with smoke and becomes something that is so polluted that youcan’t see your way around and it is bad for you. Well, I didn’t understand muchthen.
Back then too much smog wasactually a good thing to me! I got to skip school, my mom and dad took a dayoff,and we used to spend all daytogether. Having two working parents, this was a welcome thing for me. Theheavier the smog, the happier it made me. But then I grew up. I startedunderstanding what it is in reality, how it affects our health and why it mademy parents overly anxious. I understood that is why we moved from Delhi. Myparents, like many others in Delhi, werestriving hard for ourgood health and smogwasn’t helping.
While this word was initiallyused to refer to a mixture of smoke, pollutants,andfog, the one we know now is more complex than that.This is because the formerwas just part of winters and used to subside once the fog days get over, but the newer one can happen evenduring summers. I understood that this smog was basically a mixture of nitrogenoxides and various other pollutants that react with sunlight to form ground-level ozone. This photochemical smogforms a heavy haze over the city and makes it incredibly hard to breathe.
How doesit impact us?
While ozone in the upper layer of our atmosphere is a goodthing which prevents UV rays from entering our atmosphere, the same can’t besaid about ground-level ozone. Here aresome ways they impact our health with prolonged exposure.
Persistent Cough and Irritation in the Throat and Chest
Exposure to ground-level ozone can irritate your respiratorytract and lead to a heartburn kind ofsensation. You may even have a bout of persistent cough and heartburn for manyhours post exposure. Ground-level ozone continues to affect your lungs daysafter the initial symptoms fade away.
Triggers Various Diseases and Ailments
If you have a preexisting respiratory condition, this smogis sure to trigger it more. People suffering from asthma and wheezing haveexperienced severe episodes of it within minutes of exposure. Extreme smoglowers the production of Vitamin D and leadsto deficiency disease like rickets. It can also trigger cardiovascular andbronchial disease among people.
Respiratory Distress and Lung Damage
Smog can also cause heaviness and breathing distress. Youwill feel suffocated and gasping for breath on prolonged exposure. Youngchildren, infants, people with respiratory ailments and senior citizens wouldbe the most susceptible to this as they have a weak immune system and lungs.
I was pretty young when I thought smog was good, but even now when I hear people debate about air pollution, there is minimal mention of smog,or at least few realize it is an all-year thing. Smog is air pollution in disguise,and it is increasing everyday creeping on us slowly and making us sick. It is time we stepped ahead and did something about it.
But what can we do? I’ll tell you… in my next blog! Stay tuned to this space and check out our other updates on air pollution.
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