The term “smog” is derived from smoke and fog. It is a type of air pollution that is illustrated as a combination of emissions under some particular climatic conditions. Smog contains hazardous emissions from incinerators, open burning, bonfires, industrial gases, vehicle pollutants, construction activities, mining and excavating activities, etc.
Smog is a major problem in almost all the metropolitan cities across the world and is fast spreading its tentacles to the nearby suburbs and the vicinities of the smog-affected regions. As per the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), high level of smog results in breathing problems as well as a host of other pulmonary diseases.
Smog comprises a harmful compound named ozone, an odorless and colorless gas. Increased ozone emissions can result in several pulmonary diseases over a period of time. Ozone is useful when found in the upper atmospheric level as it prevents the harmful UV rays of the sun from entering and prevents in the occurrence of various skin cancers. However, ozone is dangerous when found in lower atmospheric levels.
In the United States of America, smog occurs more on hot days and is rampant during the summer season. This type of smog is known as photochemical smog. It is created when sunlight comes into contact with nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. It is also produced by the Ozone found near the ground level of the Earth.
Hence, it is imperative for people residing in big cities and those visiting the cities or the nearby areas to know the usual level of ozone in the area they are staying or visiting, remain alert for smog warnings, and take adequate precautions to save themselves from the harmful effects of smog.
An Air Quality Index (AQI) has been designed by the EPA to report on the ozone levels and other harmful emissions found in the air. Different levels of ozone have different colors assigned to them that make it easier to determine the quality of air in a particular area.
The index grades the quality of air from zero to three hundred. The AQI of over 150 is regarded as harmful and shows red color on the index, while the AQI of more than 200 is regarded extremely harmful and shows purple color.
The harmful effects of smog
Smog can cause a variety of breathing related problems as well as various complications in the lungs and pulmonary systems. The ozone contents in the smog also adversely affect the health of people residing in smog-affected areas.
Some of the harmful effects of smog are:
Breathing problems and lung disorders: As per Mayo Clinic, smog can result in difficult breathing and other lung disorders. Ozone adversely affects the lungs and makes it difficult for normal breathing.
Coughing and chest or throat irritation: Smog causes excessive coughing as well as other chest or throat irritations among people residing in metropolitan areas and cities that are prone to excessive levels of smog. The irritation of respiratory system is also caused by high ozone level in the atmosphere.
Exacerbation of asthma symptoms: The presence of ozone in smog can cause asthma attacks in people who are already suffering from asthma. Smog increases the likelihood of an asthma attack several folds and results in asthma-related casualties.
Causes irritation and burning sensation to eyes: High levels of smog are known to cause irritation and burning sensation to eyes of residents. Smog causes redness, dryness, and irritation to eyes.
Impediment in outdoor physical activities: Smog compels people residing in the affected areas to limit their exercise and other outdoor physical activities. Smog also affects the daily life of people by affecting their visibility and sight.
Information shared by MyPrivateTutor