Urban air pollution has become a salient environmental issue in many Asian countries due to their rapid industrial development, urbanization, and motorization. Human-induced air pollution has been and continues to be considered a major environmental and public health issue. Its severity lies in the fact that high levels of pollutants are produced in environments where damage to human to concentration, duration of exposure health and welfare is more likely. This potential is what makes anthropogenic air pollution an important concern. Extreme air pollution episodes were reported for the Meuse Valley, Belgium, in 1930; Donora, PA, and the Monongehela River Valley in 1948; and London in 1952. These episodes are significant in that they provided solid scientific documentation that exposure to elevated ambient pollutant levels can cause acute illness and even death. The most devastating events contributed to important efforts to control ambient air pollution. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessment concluded that outdoor air pollution is carcinogenic to humans, with the particulate matter component of air pollution mostly associated with increasing cancer incidence especially lung cancer. Pollutant effects typically occur in some target organs. These can be straightforward; i.e. pollutants come into close contact with the affected organ. Such is the case for eye and respiratory irritation. Effects may be indirect. For example, Pollutants can enter the bloodstream from the lungs or gastrointestinal system through the respiratory route. Effects may then be distant from the immediate organ of contact. A target organ can have no immediate and intimate contact with atmospheric contaminants. The primary organs or target organs are the eyes and the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Part of the book: Environmental Sustainability