Impact of Air Pollution on Health

Impact of Air Pollution on Health

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In Indonesia, motor vehicles are the main source of air pollution in urban areas. In the 6 years period from 1995 to 2001 there is a growth in the number of motor vehicles in Indonesia by almost 100%. Most of these motor vehicles produce poor exhaust emissions, either due to inadequate maintenance or from poor quality fuel use. Air pollution is very potential to interfere with health. 31 million symptoms of respiratory disease as well as an increase in the efficiency of 7.6 million work days lost due to respiratory disease a very significant amount from a public health standpoint. In terms of health financing economy due to air pollution in Jakarta is estimated to reach nearly 220 million dollars in 1999.

Here are the consequences caused by air pollution:

1. Hospital care, visits to the Emergency Unit or regular doctor's visit, due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

2.The reduced daily activity due to illness

3.Number of attendance (work or school)

4. Acute symptoms (cough, spasms, respiratory infections

5. Physiological changes (such as lung function and blood pressure)

Long-term exposure:

1. Death from respiratory / respiratory and cardiovascular diseases

2. Increased Incidence and prevalence of chronic lung disease (asthma, chronic osbtructive lung disease)

3. Impaired growth and development of the fetus4. Cancer

Specific air pollutants that have a major impact on health

1.Particulate Matter (PM)

Epidemiological studies in humans and models in animals show that PM10 (including particulates derived from diesel / DEP) has great potential for damaging tissues. Epidemiological data show an increase in mortality and exacerbations / attacks that require hospital treatment not only in patients with lung disease (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia), but also in patients with cardiovascular / heart disease and diabetes. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effects of particulates / pollutants, so that in areas with high traffic density / air pollution, respiratory diseases usually morbidity (in children and the elderly) and heart / cardiovascular disease (in elderly) increase significantly. Further animal studies have shown that PM can trigger lung and systemic inflammation and cause damage to vascular endothelial dysfunction that triggers the process of atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction / coronary heart attack. Longer exposure in the long term can also lead to the formation of cancer (lung or leukemia) and death in the fetus. A recent study with nearly 11 years of follow-up showed that exposure to pollutants (including PM10) could also reduce lung function even in normal populations where no respiratory symptoms have interfered with activity.

2. Ozone

Ozone is an important photochemical oxidant in the trophosphere. Formed by photochemical reactions with the help of other pollutants such as NOx, and Volatile organic compounds. Acute / short-term exposure may induce inflammation / inflammation of the lungs and interfere with lung and cardiovascular defense functions. Long-term exposure may induce the occurrence of asthma, even pulmonary fibrosis. Epidemiological studies in humans show high ozone exposure can increase the number of exacerbations / attacks of asthma.

3. NOx and Sox

NOx and SOx are also important co-pollutants. Formed one of the less than perfect combustion of fossil fuels. Epidemiological studies show NO2, SO2 and CO exposure increase mortality / mortality due to cardio-pulmonary disease (heart and lung) and increase the number of hospital treatment due to these diseases.

Air Pollution Source

Air pollutants are divided into two namely, primary pollutants and secondary pollutants. Primary pollutants are the pollutant substances caused directly from air pollution sources. [Carbon monoxide] is an example of primary air pollutants because it is the result of combustion. Secondary pollutants are contaminant substances formed from the reaction of primary pollutants in the atmosphere. The formation of [ozone] in [photochemical smog] is an example of secondary air pollution.

Lately growth concerns over the effects of air pollution emissions in the global context and its relation to influencing global warming;Human activities



Power plants

Burning (fireplace, stove, furnace, [incinerator] with various types of fuel

Gas exhaust plants that produce hazardous gases such as (CFC)

Natural sources



Forest fires

[Nitrification] and [denitrification] biologyOther sources

Transportation [ammonia]

Tank leak] [chlor]

[Methane] gas generation from [degraded land] / [landfill] [garbage]

Organic solvent vapor

Types of pollutants

Carbon monoxide

Nitrogen oxide

Sulfur oxide



Volatile Organic Compounds



Air pollutant substances can enter the body through the respiratory system. The deep penetration of pollutants into the body depends on the type of pollutant. Large-sized particles can be retained in the upper respiratory tract, whereas small particulates and gases can reach the lungs. From the lungs, pollutants are absorbed by the circulatory system and spread throughout the body.

The most common health impacts are ISPA (acute respiratory infection), including asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory disorders. Some contaminants are categorized as toxic and carcinogenic.

estimated the impact of air pollution in Jakarta relating to premature mortality, hospital care, reduced effective working days and ISPA in 1998 worth 1.8 trillion rupiahs and will increase to 4.3 trillion rupiahs by 2015.

Impact on crops

Plants that grow in areas with high levels of air pollution can be disrupted growth and prone to diseases, including chlorosis, necrosis, and black spots. Particulates that are deposited on the surface of the plant can inhibit the process of photosynthesis

Acid rain

The usual pH of rainwater is 5.6 due to the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere. Air pollutants such as SO2 and NO2 react with rain water to form acid and lower rainwater pH. The impact of this acid rain include:Affect the quality of surface water

Damaging crops

Dissolving heavy metals contained in the soil affect the quality of groundwater and surface water

Corrosive, damaging materials and buildings

Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is caused by the presence of CO2, CFC, methane, ozone, and N2O in the troposphere layer which absorbs solar thermal radiation reflected by the earth's surface. As a result heat is trapped in the troposphere layer and gives rise to the phenomenon of global warming.

The effects of global warming are:

The melting of the ice at the poles

Regional and global climate change

Changes in the life cycle of flora and faun

Damage to the ozone layerThe ozone layer in the stratosphere (20-35 km altitude) is a natural protector of the earth that serves to filter out ultraviolet B radiation from the sun. The formation and decomposition of ozone molecules (O3) occurs naturally in the stratosphere. CFR emissions that reach the stratosphere and are very stable cause the rate of decomposition of ozone molecules faster than its formation, thus forming holes in the ozone layer.

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