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Environmental Health

Air & Water Pollution

Dr. Syed Shajee Husain
Over the last 50 years, human activities particularly the burning of fossil fuels have released
sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to affect the global climate.
The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by more than 30% since pre-
industrial times, trapping more heat in the lower atmosphere. The resulting changes in the global
climate bring a range of risks to health, from deaths in extreme high temperatures to changing
patterns of infectious diseases.
From the tropics to the arctic, climate and weather have powerful direct and indirect
impacts on human life. Weather extremes such as heavy rains, floods, and disasters like
Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans, USA in August 2005 endanger health as well
as destroy property and livelihoods. Approximately 600 000 deaths occurred worldwide as a
result of weather-related natural disasters in the 1990s, some 95% of which took place in
developing countries.
Intense short-term fluctuations in temperature can also seriously affect health causing heat
stress (hyperthermia) or extreme cold (hypothermia) and lead to increased death rates from
heart and respiratory diseases. Recent studies suggest that the record high temperatures in
western Europe in the summer of 2003 were associated with a spike of an estimated 70 000 more
deaths than the equivalent periods in previous years
Pollen and other aeroallergen levels are also higher in extreme heat. These can trigger asthma,
which affects around 300 million people. Ongoing temperature increases are expected to increase
this burden.
Rising sea levels another outcome of global warming increase the risk of coastal flooding,
and could cause population displacement. More than half of the world's population now lives
within 60 kilometres of shorelines. Floods can directly cause injury and death, and increase risks
of infection from water and vector-borne diseases. Population displacement could increase
tensions and potentially the risks of conflict
More variable rainfall patterns are likely to compromise the supply of fresh water. Globally,
water scarcity already affects four out of every 10 people. A lack of water and poor water quality
can compromise hygiene and health. This increases the risk of diarrhoea, which kills
approximately 2.2 million people every year, as well as trachoma (an eye infection that can lead
to blindness) and other illnesses
Water scarcity encourages people to transport water long distances and store supplies in their
homes. This can increase the risk of household water contamination, causing illnesses.
Climatic conditions affect diseases transmitted through water, and via vectors such as
mosquitoes. Climate-sensitive diseases are among the largest global killers. Diarrhoea, malaria
and protein-energy malnutrition alone caused more than 3 million deaths globally in 2004, with
over one third of these deaths occurring in Africa.
Malnutrition causes millions of deaths each year, from both a lack of sufficient nutrients to
sustain life and a resulting vulnerability to infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, and
respiratory illnesses. Increasing temperatures on the planet and more variable rainfalls are
expected to reduce crop yields in many tropical developing regions, where food security is
already a problem
Steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or lessen the health impacts of climate change could
have positive health effects. For example, promoting the safe use of public transportation and
active movement - such as biking or walking as alternatives to using private vehicles - could
reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve public health. They can not only cut traffic injuries,
but also air pollution and associated respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Increased levels of
physical activity can lower overall mortality rates
Air Pollution Around the World

Air quality is deteriorating rapidly in developing


Shenyang, China
Residents only see sunlight a few weeks each

Developing countries have older cars

Still use leaded gasoline
5 worst cities in world
Beijing, China; Mexico City, Mexico;
Shanghai, China; Tehran, Iran; and Calcutta,
Air Pollution
Air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment
by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural
characteristics of the atmosphere.

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health

By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of

disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and
acute respiratory diseases, including asthma

The lower the levels of air pollution, the better the cardiovascular and
respiratory health of the population will be, both long- and short-term.
Out Door Air Pollution
Major Air Pollutants

Particulate Matter PM 1.0 (PM2.5)

Diseases of respiratory systems

Carbon monoxide: CO
Impairs capability of blood to carry O2
Its the outcome of insufficient combustion

Ozone: ground level O3

Mainly present in urban smog
Due to heat and sun light reaction of Volatile Organic Chemicals
and Nitrous Oxides impairment of O3 occues
Nitrogen Dioxide: NO2
brownish gas irritates the respiratory system originates from
combustion (N2 in air is oxidized); NOx sum of NO, NO2, other
oxides of N

Sulfur Dioxide: SO2

formed when fuel (coal, oil) containing S is burned and metal
precursor to acid rain along with NOx

Lead: Pb
cause learning disabilities in children , toxic to liver, kidney, blood
forming organs
tetraethyl lead anti knock agent in gasoline
leaded gasoline has been phased out
Types and Sources of Air Pollution
Air Pollution
Chemicals added to the atmosphere by natural events or human
activities in high enough concentrations to be harmful

Two categories
Primary Air Pollutant
Harmful substance that is emitted directly into the atmosphere

Secondary Air Pollutant

Harmful substance formed in the atmosphere when a primary
air pollutant reacts with substances normally found in the
atmosphere or with other air pollutants
Sources of Outdoor Air Pollution

Two main sources


Intentional forest fires is

also high
Diseases related to out door air pollution
DUSTS (Pneumoconiosis)
Oxides of Nitrogen Brochiolitis
Ozone - Broncho constriction
Sulphur dioxide COPD, asthma

COPD - diseases of the

lungs in which the airways
become narrowed
Grain Dust -Farmers Lungs
Indoor Air Pollution

Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using open fires
and simple stoves burning biomass (wood, animal dung and crop
waste) and coal.

Over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the

household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels.

More than 50% of premature deaths among children under 5 are due
to pneumonia caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from
household air pollution.
3.8 million premature deaths annually from noncommunicable
diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer are attributed to exposure
to household air pollution.
Exposure to household air pollution almost doubles the risk for
childhood pneumonia

Over half of deaths among children less than 5 years old from
acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) are due to particulate
matter inhaled from indoor air pollution from household solid fuels
(WHO, 2014).
Nearly one quarter of all premature deaths due to stroke (i.e. about 1.4 million
deaths of which half are in women) can be attributed to the chronic exposure to
household air pollution caused by cooking with solid fuels.
Ischaemic heart disease

Approximately 15% of all deaths due to ischaemic heart disease,

accounting for over a million premature deaths annually, can be
attributed to exposure to household air pollution
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Over one third of premature deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) in adults in low- and middle-income countries are due to exposure to
household air pollution

Women exposed to high levels of indoor smoke are 2.3 times as likely to suffer
from COPD than women who use cleaner fuels

Among men (who already have a heightened risk of COPD due to their higher
rates of smoking), exposure to indoor smoke nearly doubles (i.e. 1.9) that risk
Lung cancer
Approximately 17% of annual premature lung cancer deaths in
adults are attributable to exposure to carcinogens from
household air pollution caused by cooking with solid fuels like
wood, charcoal or coal

The risk for women is higher, due to their role in food

Other health impacts and risks

More generally, small particulate matter and other pollutants in

indoor smoke inflame the airways and lungs, impairing
immune response and reducing the oxygen-carrying capacity of
the blood.
Water & Pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies (e.g. lakes, rivers,
oceans, aquifers and groundwater)

Water pollution occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly

discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove
harmful compounds
In 2012, 89% of the worlds population had access to an improved
drinking-water source, compared with 76% in 1990.

Almost 4 billion people now get water through a piped connection;

2.3 billion access water through other improved sources including
public taps, protected wells and boreholes.

748 million people rely on unimproved sources, including 173 million

who depend on surface water.
Globally, 1.8 billion people use a drinking-water source that is
contaminated with faeces.

Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhoea, cholera,

dysentery, typhoid and polio. Contaminated drinking-water is
estimated to cause more than 500 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.

By 2025, half of the worlds population will be living in water-

stressed area
Globally, the most prevalent water quality problem
is eutrophication, a result of high-nutrient loads
(mainly phosphorus and nitrogen), which
substantially impairs beneficial uses of water.
Projected food production needs and increasing
wastewater effluents associated with an increasing
population over the next three decades suggest a
10%-15% increase in the river input of nitrogen
loads into coastal ecosystems, continuing the trend
observed during 1970-95.

More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged

untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.

Many industries some of them known to be heavily polluting (such

as leather and chemicals) are moving from high-income countries to
emerging market economies.

Despite improvements in some regions, water pollution is on the rise

Sources of water pollution
Consists of decomposable organic matter and pathogens

Industrial and trade waste

Toxic agents from metal salts

Agriculture pollutants
Fertilizers, pesticides,

Physical pollutants
Radioactive substance and thermal product
Water related diseases
Hepatitis A, E, poliomylitis, rotavirus diarrhea in infants
Typhoid and paratyphoid fever, bacillary dysentery, E. coli,
Amoebiasis, giardiasis
Roundworm, threadworm, hudatid disease
Weils disease
Guineaworm, fish tape worm
Detergent solvents
Heavey metals
Organic acids
Nitrogenous substances,
More health effects
Dental health

Cyanosis of infants
Source of vectors
Malaria, filaria, arboviruses, onchocerciasis, African
Carbon footprint
A carbon footprint is historically defined as "the total sets
of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization,
event, product or person
Steps to reduce carbon foot print:

1. Transport

cycling, walking, car-pooling, public transport. On average, for

each litre of fuel burnt in a car engine, more than 2.5 kg of CO2
are produced

avoid short car journeys because fuel consumption and CO2

emissions are disproportionately higher when the engine is cold.
Research shows that one in two urban car journeys is for under 3
km a distance that can be easily cycled or walked.

Increase provision of public transport system

2. Food
Reduce intake of animal products in developed countries.
Industrialized countries need to reduce their meat
consumption from the current 224g/person/day. Global
convergence to 90g/person/day would have a significant
effect on carbon levels and health. Increasing meat intake
in low-income countries could reduce childhood growth
Consume more local and seasonal products
Recycle organic food
3. Energy use

Turn down the heat, reducing the temperature by just 1 C can cut
510% off your familys energy bill and avoid up to 300 kg of
CO2 emissions per household per year

Reduce use of air conditioner

Adjust the thermostat of air conditioned

Move your fridge and freezer, placing them next to the cooker or
boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on
their own.
Thank You