Smog is a mix of different kinds of pollutants that are air-borne and consist of chemicals that merge with the sunlight, thus forming secondary pollutants. These chemicals that cause such a reaction are volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The ozone layer as many of us are familiar with, protect the earth from harmful rays of the sun from filtering through. The ozone if present directly on plant, animal and human life, can prove to be quite disastrous. Health takes a back seat here, leading to respiratory problems in children and adults, worsening the problems of those who already have such conditions.
Smog occurs in places that usually experience high levels of traffic and toxic gas exposure, like big cities. Children who play outdoors frequently or who are constantly outside, are more prone to falling prey to the effects of smog. Even those who spend a lot of time doing things outside like jogging, construction work and taking walks around the area, pose as targets.
Causes of Smog
The different sources that join together to form this toxic cloud of smoke, range from consumer products, exhaust from vehicles and hairspray, to plastics, power plants and chemical solvents. The most contributing factors when it comes to smog, are heavy vehicles and those meant for transportation. Depending on the temperature and weather conditions, smog tends to form more quickly.
Therefore, on a hot day at the peak of summer, smog is more abundant and highly evident since the heat makes it form much faster than it would on cold wintry days. If smog is caught within a city without winds to push it away, it can settle over a city and stay put for days, making it worse while the agents that cause smog add to what is already present. Other causes of smog besides vehicles are asphalt from road pavements, lawnmowers, diesel/gasoline running vehicles, generating stations that use coal, barbecues, factories, pesticides and solvents/cleaners/oil based paints.
Smog Effects on Health
When it comes to children, they can experience problems like coughing and wheezing from repeated exposure to smog. Children tend to breathe faster and take in more oxygen than adults, making it easier for more chemicals to enter their lungs. Kids can experience infections because of the immune system's inability to fend these off. The smog decreases their immunity's strength, making it hard to protect the body from oncoming infectious agents. It decreases one's lungs capacity, making you more tired. It can worsen problems like chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.
Adults experience the same problems of reduced immunity - leading one to experience breathing problems and falling ill repeatedly. It contains carcinogenic elements that can also lead to fibrosis and inflammation of the lungs, leading to damage due to morphological changes. Such detriment can lead to premature aging of one's lungs, since it brings down its function and ruins its elasticity. Those who suffer from heart problems, asthma and other respiratory illnesses are left open to the chance of worsening their conditions. Kids who don't have well-developed lungs like adults, can also suffer from long-term damage to the lungs, suffering at an early age from ailments.
The effects of air pollution can be quite destructive to us humans and can result in damaging man-made structures like buildings and monuments as well. The soot-like appearance that is found on these structures is a sign of how smog has already eaten away at its facade.
The sulfur dioxide is corrosive in nature, and can even eat away at metal and stone resulting in damage made to statues and other buildings. Try practicing safe methods like wearing a mask before you step outside, and avoid staying outdoors for too long. Have a safe tomorrow.