Urban Pollution - Your Quick Guide to Breathing Easy

Mon, 01 Apr 2019
Industrialisation, rapid urbanisation, and increasing spending power in many countries are contributing to rising air pollution levels - the biggest environmental risk of fatalities. Unclean air is hard to escape, as we all need to breathe. So, how do we reduce air pollution, and our exposure to it, while protecting ourselves from it’s harmful effects?

What contributes to air pollution?

This invisible hazard knows no borders, and it’s something urban dwellers live with daily. Pollution can come from natural sources, such as volcanic eruptions and dust storms, and man made sources, toxic fumes from vehicles and chemical plants, for example. Some major sources of air pollution include:

  • Fossil fuel burning for electricity generation
  • Agricultural & industrial practices
  • Landfills & waste treatment facilities
  • Back-burning and deforestation
  • Our lifestyle habits (Eg. driving, use of air conditioners)

  • The impact of air pollution on Asia

    Asia currently has the worst air pollution ranking, accounting for 2/3 of the world’s air pollution deaths. Increasingly, this silent threat is becoming more noticable, due to slash-and-burn forestry, sending clouds of smoke and ash particles to neighbouring countries. More recently, earlier this year, residents of Bangkok spent weeks in enveloped in smoke filled air. This was due to a toxic combination of vehicle emissions, construction works, crop burning, factory operations, coal-based energy production, and stale air.

    Countries are actively looking for ways to improve air quality. One of the reasons that Singapore enjoys relatively clean air compared to our neighbours, is that the number of vehicles allowed on our roads is controlled. The COE (Certificate of Entitlement), and ERP road tolls help achieve this. Additionally, the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES), monitors all vehicles for exhaust emissions and fuel quality standards.

    You can help reduce air pollution!

    Yes, your daily decisions as an individual can help keep our air clean. Here are some ideas:

  • Take public transport or ride share instead of driving;
  • Conscious consumption - Remember your 3 Rs -Reduce, Reuse & Recycle:
  • Stick to digital to lessen consumption, like rather than buying books, either borrow or use e-books from the National Library;
  • Use platforms like Carousell to find what you’re looking for instead of purchasing something new. Style Theory is a clothing rental service for ladies who want endless fashion choices, without having to clutter their wardrobes. Marie Kondo would surely approve!
  • What are other ways you can reuse or recycle instead of buying something new, and contributing to growing landfills?

    How air pollution impacts your health

    Air pollutants include carbon and ozone gases, sulfur oxides, lead, and photochemical fumes, and are harmful to our health. Particulate matter, tiny airborne particles are able to pass through your immune system and lodge in your lungs, bloodstream and brain, is the most harmful. Exposure to air pollution results in a cascade of free radical production in your body, resulting in lower immune resistance, premature aging, and slower cellular repair, to name a few.

    Without proper protection, the buildup of these particles and free radicals in your system may lead to various health issues, including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular damage and nervous system damage. Recent studies show that air pollution also causes premature aging of the skin and hair.

    How to protect yourself against air pollution

  • Supplement with antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E. This helps reduce the damaging effects of free radicals.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors in high traffic locations, eg. CBD, and when pollution levels are high. Check your weather app before heading outdoors, and work out indoors instead, if the PSI reading is not favourable.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke and encourage public places with smoking boxes.
  • Wear N95 masks during days with high pollution.

  • We hope you are inspired to do your part in reducing air pollution, and also take conscious steps to keep yourself and your family healthy when blue skies aren’t in sight!

     Written by
     Chloe Yeo
     BioMed-Chemist, Formulator, Fitness Freak & Full-time free spirit
     Dedicated to helping people find their best self through nutrition and positive vibes.
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