Air pollution refers to the contamination of the air by of the introduction of various air pollutants. Air pollution is together with water pollution the most serious form of environmental pollution and one of the top environmental issues in the modern world.
Air pollution does not only create environmental damage but also harms human health. One of the latest studies by the Harvard School of Public Health contributes 4% of all death in United States to excessive levels of air pollution.
Air pollution is usually categorized into two main categories: outdoor and indoor air pollution. Outdoor air pollution is usually the result of excessive industrial activity in some areas while indoor air pollution occurs inside homes or offices without the proper ventilation systems.
The list of most common air pollutants includes carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
As already said previously air pollution is a very serious health issue. According to the World Health Organization around 2,4 million people dies each year of causes directly attributable to air pollution, with most of these deaths occuring in developing world.
Air pollution primarily affects body's respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. The total damage done to our body by air pollution depends primarily on the type of pollutant(s) a person is exposed to, the degree of exposure as well as the individual's overall health status.
Air pollution is particularly damaging to children's health. Young children exposed to the high levels of air pollution are on a high risk to develop asthma, pneumonia as well as the increased heart attack risk. Even short-term exposure to air pollution causes irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.
Many countries have legislation that regulates maximum atmospheric concentrations for specific air pollutants. This has however, not been able to stop excessive air pollution in many cities, especially in densely populated metropolitan areas with high levels of traffic.