We need air to survive. We need to breath, to move  air in and out of the lungs, to allow the diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the external environment into and out of the blood. The medical term for breathing is  pulmonary ventilation, which consists of inhalation (breathing in) and exhalation (breathing out). Breathing is a processes that delivers oxygen to where it is needed in the body and removes excess carbon dioxide. But breathing fulfills another vital function: that of regulating the pH of the extracellular fluids of the body.

Breathing is important but what happens when the air we inhale is polluted?  Air pollution effects every one of us and creates a multitude of serious problems:

– Head ache and anxiety
– Impacts the central nervous system
– Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
– Breathing problems
– Damage to the respiratory system
– Causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
– Lung cancer
– Cardiovascular disease
– Damages the liver, spleen and blood
– Impacts on the reproductive system

The World Health Organization warns that ambient air pollution contributes to 5.4% of all deaths?
25 March 2014 | Geneva – In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

See also: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/

When this video was made the author was warning the world that as many as 500,000 premature deaths would be
caused by air pollution. Today we talk about 7,000,000; what will it be tomorrow?

According to the Business dictionary, air pollution is defined as: “The condition in which air is contaminated by foreign substances, or the substances themselves. Air pollution consists of gaseous, liquid, or solid substances that, when present in sufficient concentration, for a sufficient time, and under certain conditions, tend to interfere with human comfort, health or welfare, and cause environmental damage. Air pollution causes acid rain, ozone depletion, photo-chemical smog, and other such phenomena.”

That sounds very complicated and does not help us to understand why air is no longer safe to breathe. Let’s have a look on the most crucial pollutants in detail: