How Air Pollution Effects Student’s Health and Academic Performance

Mrs. Mala: “Doctor, Rahul is suffering from cold and cough very often. What could be the reason?”

Doctor Sheetal: “Rahul is not just suffering from common cold, but it is the case of chronic sinusitis. It is prolonged cold with stuffy nose and blockage in entire nasal passage. Regular treatment is necessary with some changes in lifestyle and precautions as well. This mainly caused by the harmful air pollution having lots of dust, carbon, and other particulate matter.”

Similar discussions are commonly heard nowadays with considerable rise in number of children getting affected by the polluted air. Polluted air contains harmful elements of dust particles, carbon from ashes, sticky particles of tyre rubber, certain types of metal including nickel and lead with some harmful gases like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide.

All these elements in the polluted air get easily inhaled by the young students who are always physically active in games, sports, school or college activities etc. These young students get quickly affected by the harmful effects of pollution through sudden fatigue, headaches, nausea, increasing tendency to catch cold and coughs. There has been frequent absenteeism for the health issues observed in the past few months.

This is not seen in just one or two students but a large number suffering from the bad air quality. The school authorities who were concerned with the student’s health and well being consulted the doctors and parents together. There has been considerable reduction in the number of students participating in the sports due to sickness. Though they are recovering soon after some rest and medication, the rate and frequency at which students are falling ill is very disturbing. The conclusion of the discussion was very alarming.

In one of the most populous terrains of central Asia’s capital, it was observed that the governmental and private educational institutions were closed for several months due to extremely harmful air quality. The smog of the Delhi’s polluted air had engulfed the entire skyline affecting the commuters with visibility issues.

It is very important to analyse the causes of air pollution and take immediate remedial measures to stop its occurrence and to clean the air with the possible means. It is really high time to begin implementing the corrective measures.

As we look around to identify the causes of the air pollution, it would be very difficult to digest the fact that we have been an indirect contributor to the pollution.

Let’s analyse the causes individually.

Vehicular Pollution

The density of vehicles in our urban and rural areas has multiplied exponentially with every household having a two wheel per person with at least one car. The uncertain frequency of the public transport services has compelled most people to use their personal vehicles for their daily commute. It is estimated that vehicles contribute to approximately 40% of the total pollution load in the city.

Surely, this sounds like an alarming observation, right?

So, let’s look into the other issues that add up to the pollution misery!

Industrial Pollution

Most of the manufacturing companies including chemical factories, sugar industries, liquor distilleries, paper mills, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer plants, cement industries, thermal power plants, petrochemicals and oil refineries, Iron and Steel, Smelters of Iron, Zinc and Aluminium and many other industries.

It is a suggestive practice around the globe to conduct governmental surveys of the polluting industries for their machine maintenance, adherence to the pollution control norms and performing quality audits regularly.

Many highly polluted industries are understanding these concerns and implementing necessary steps to contribute into the anti-pollution initiative and it is generally observed that non-complying companies may face the wrath of public opinion while experiencing depreciation in its brand values. So, having a sensitive approach towards environment can prove to be a wise business acumen.

Random Burning of Wood or Tyres

Many people in certain areas burn the waste, tree leaves, wood, old tyres randomly. All these add up to the air pollution emitting dust, smoke, and hazardous Carbon monoxide gas. People everywhere should be alert always and, on the look, out for any such attempts being made to light up fires.

It is suggested to immediately complain the local civic authorities like health department, municipal corporation or even police to intervene as necessary.

Wild Fires

Basically during the summer season, the dry grass and the old trees are prone to fires leading to wide spread wild fires. Wildfires can be caused due to social negligence, carelessness, short circuits, lightning strikes and also natural friction.

Wildfires spread very fast, consume a large portion of our trees and vegetation causing huge air pollution in a very short time span. Moreover, it is very difficult to be controlled due to its enormous size and the favourable inflammable conditions caused by dry grass, trees, leaves and loose sticks.

Government authorities should be always on high alert and prepared to handle wildfires by immediate actions. With the help of fire department, helicopters and drones, fire can be brought under control and can be extinguished in quickest possible time.

However, steps that reduce the possibility must be appreciated.

We all responsible citizens should take steps to curb this pollution. Afterall what can we do?

  • Avoid using personal vehicles as much as possible.
  • Choose to share your vehicle with office colleagues to reduce separate use.
  • Choose public transportation for your daily commute.
  • Start using bicycle for shorter distances.
  • Prefer to walk that pulling out your scooter often.
  • Report actively about the erring polluting vehicles you notice.
  • Spread awareness everywhere about curbing air pollution.
  • Promote regular vehicle maintenance to reduce air pollution.
  • Take regular tree plantation initiatives. Get the guidelines about the areas where it needs to be done.
  • Encourage people to increase potted plants in common areas of residential as well as commercial premises.

Necessary Precautions

As it is identified that the effects of the air pollution have adversely affecting the student’s health and well-being, we need to immediately take up certain precautions to prevent the effects.

  1. Use of face masks as the masks filter the harmful elements from the polluted air.
  2. Avoid going out on the crowded roads of heavy vehicles.
  3. Develop the healthy habits of practicing breathing exercises of Pranayam and Kapalbhati.
  4. Immediately consult the doctor when the student suffers from cold, cough or breathing issues.

Readying for A Healthy Tomorrow

It is a disheartening that many scientists and intellectuals are predicting the causes that drag students into long lasting illness due to the over abuse of natural resources witnessed by social unconsciousness.

As said, its better late than never. Let’s wake up to the call and start implementing the changes to bring in the positive transformation. On World Environment Day on 5th June, lets come together and pledge to contribute our every effort to curb air pollution and bring in a widespread positive change. All housing societies should begin the rules of pollution control so that the movement of this change will be steadily implemented for the expected results to become visible soon.

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