About the environment and economy
Sometimes the impacts of poor air quality are small and unknown. In other cases, they may be significant and contribute to an increased incidence of death. Every day we understand these impacts better. But, unfortunately, many impacts remain hidden. Poor air quality affects
- human health
- the environment
- the economy
Humans and the environment have some ability to resist the effects of poor air quality. But sometimes this resistance can be overwhelmed with higher levels and prolonged exposure to air pollution. In particular, humans, wildlife and vegetation that are old, young, and sick are often more susceptible to air pollution.
Asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, allergies and many other human health problems have been linked to poor air quality. In the environment, decreased species biodiversity and vegetation productivity have been found.
Air pollution can also have a significant impact on our economy. It can cost a lot to change what we buy, what we use, and how it is produced in order to prevent air pollution. Economic costs are also found in fixing the damage caused by poor air pollution, including health and environmental problems.
On the other hand, the creation of new technology, knowledge and jobs to address air quality concerns can produce economic opportunities.
What is important to remember is that these impacts on human health, the environment and the economy do not exist in isolation, they are linked. For instance, decreased forest productivity because acid rain has damaged the soil may lead to increased stresses on the pulp and paper job market. Similarly, a focus on finding better economic incentives for reducing air pollution can, in turn, improve human health and environmental problems.
An integrated and partnered approach to understanding and addressing the impacts of poor air quality is the best way to tackle this challenge.
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