The global consumption rate of fossil fuels has been rising since the 18th century with 20th century seeing the biggest diversification in fossil fuel usage. This was after the discovery of crude oil and natural gas. It is well accounted for considering that Fossil fuel was the main drive behind the industrial revolution which has opened up to modern man evolution.
Modern-day revolution does not come cheap, and air pollution is a price we have to pay for our extravagant use of fossil fuels. According to the new data collected from 3000 cities and compiled by the world health organization (WHO), air pollution has increased by 8% over the past five years. With Burning fossil fuels being the main cause of air pollution, it does not come as a surprise that there are more than 3million deaths annually caused by air pollution – higher than HIV/AIDS and malaria-related deaths.
Cities with a lot of industrial activities and populations have recorded the highest numbers of individuals affected by diseases related to air pollution.
Let’s look at the top 5 diseases caused by fossil fuels through air pollution in the world today and how they can be treated.
Asthma is a condition in which the body’s air passageways constrict, swell and produce extra mucus, which makes breathing difficult and will often trigger wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. In the United States alone, 30 000 Americans suffer daily from asthmatic attacks, and approximately 5000 dying annually as a result of these attacks.
Though there are many causes of asthma, air pollution is considered one of the main causes of asthma. Fossil fuel pollution-related asthma is caused by sulfur dioxide (S02) Usually, from burning coal. Though there’s no proven cure for asthma, preventive, long-term medications reduce inflammations in the airways, and quick relief inhalers open blocked up airways to ease in breathing.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, (airways that carry air to your lungs) which results in a cough that often brings up mucus. Shortness of breath, wheezing, low fever, and chest tightness might be experienced when suffering from bronchitis. Bronchitis may be caused by fossil fuel particulates (soot). Exposure to nitrogen oxides triggers airway inflammation, which may cause coughing, fatigue, and fever. Rest, and a lot of fluids are considered the best treatment. It often goes away with time.
Pneumonia is an infection that infects the air sacs of either one or both lungs, causing them to fill with fluid and leads to coughs filled with phlegm, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Exposure to sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate (soot) matter from traffic pollution, usually from burning fossil fuels increases the risk of being contracting pneumonia.
Treatment varies depending on the age of patient and severity on the patient, and it includes administering antibiotics, cough medicine, and pain relievers after a full diagnosis.
4. Heart Attacks
According to a recent study conducted by University of Washington medical center, increased exposure of nitrogen dioxide released when plants burn coal or when cars burn gasoline increases roughly the hearts left ventricle mass by 5% exposing the victim to increased risk for heart failure and cardiovascular death.
There are more than 100 different types of cancer usually named after the body part they affect. Lung cancer alone accounts for 30% of cancer-related deaths in the USA, and although air pollution is not considered the main cause of lung cancer, it is ranked second after cigarette smoking.
Reducing and preventing fossil fuel pollution illnesses can only be initiated in the long run, and no immediate measure would help the situation. Thanks to the discovery of renewable energy sources, we have been observing a transition from fossil fuels to new energy sources with solar and wind forms being most popular.
The motor and mechanical industries are adopting new hybrid cars and electric cars with very limited gasoline use with an aim of ensuring environmentally friendly means. This will not only have a positive effect on human health in the long run but it will also reduce environmental degradation which has been one of our major headaches.
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