Clean Air Is in Short Supply

By HSealy
September 5, 2017

The air we breathe is getting dirtier — and more dangerous. Air pollution already kills over two million people annually. Because of increasing pollution, an extra 60,000 people will die in 2030.[1]

Smog — a harmful mixture of pollutants emitted from vehicles and factories — will cause most of these deaths.[2][3] Curbing smog will require a global education campaign targeted at public health and medical professionals.

Smog aggravates the respiratory system.[4] With prolonged exposure, it can cause lung cancer.[5]

Smog is a major killer in developing countries. One-third of deaths in China in 2013 were traced to smog.[6] In India, smog causes over 500,000 premature deaths each year.[7] Breathing the air in New Delhi is akin to smoking 10 cigarettes each day.[8]

Smog is blanketing the United States as well.

Consider the Greater Los Angeles region, where air pollution causes over 2,000 deaths every year.[9] Last year, the area saw its highest levels of smog since 2009. Consequently, local hospitals recorded an uptick in asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.[10]

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and New York, air pollution claims nearly 300 lives each year.[11] About half of Americans live in regions that experience dangerous air pollution levels at some point during the year.[12]

Future leaders in medicine and science must be prepared to tackle this global crisis head on. That’s why many St. George’s students take a class called “Environmental Sustainable Development,” which teaches them how to address climate change, pollution, and other key environmental issues.[13]

SGU medical students come from nearly 100 countries — and many return to those countries after graduation to practice.[14] Thanks to their education, the hundreds of SGU students working worldwide will be well-equipped to help curb air pollution — and build a planet where people can breathe easy.

 

[1] http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/36016465/climate-change-may-trigger-60000-more-premature-deaths-by-2030

[2] http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/smogpollution.php

[3] http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/smogpollution.php

[4] https://www3.epa.gov/airnow/health/smog.pdf

[5] https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/pr221_E.pdf

[6] http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/15/health/china-beijing-smog-tale-of-two-cities/index.html

[7] https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-11-02/india-s-deadly-smog

[8] http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/17/news/economy/india-new-delhi-air-pollution/

[9] http://laist.com/2016/08/10/deadly_air.php

[10] http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-summer-smog-20160805-snap-story.html; http://www.thoracic.org/about/newsroom/press-releases/journal/health-of-the-air-ats-nyu.pdf

[11] http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-summer-smog-20160805-snap-story.html; http://www.thoracic.org/about/newsroom/press-releases/journal/health-of-the-air-ats-nyu.pdf

[12] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/08/22/24-7-wall-st-most-polluted-cities/32130565/

[13] http://www.sgu.edu/course-curriculum/pubh-837-environmental-sustainable-development/

[14] http://www.sgu.edu/enrollment-and-demographics-school-of-medicine/

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