“Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and land.”
According to National Geographic, pollution is a global problem and studies show that there is an increasing link between environmental pollution and a risk of developing psychological disorders.
Studies from USC on the implications of air pollution on brain development and neurological health in children and older women shows that inhalable pollutants from cars and power plants can impact our brains functions or dysfunctions. When these particles are inhaled, they may alter the size of a child’s developing brain, which may then, ultimately, increase the risk for cognitive and emotional problems at a later time in the child’s life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 9 out of 10 people worldwide inhale polluted air. Exposure to polluted air is accountable for approximately 7 million deaths yearly. Respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurovascular diseases can be traced back to being adverse side effects of air pollution.
Most times, when we think of mental health, we focus on genetics, lack of lifestyle, diet and fail to notice that our environment is the biggest source of many sorts of mental illness.
Living in a densely polluted environment, could put one at risk of being sleep-deprived and faced with the toxic air inhalation intrusion. Air pollution, sleep deprivation, stress, noise pollution that jerks you out of much-needed sleep or causes a migraine, all affect mental health and have damaging lasting effects.
Several environmental factors can affect sleep cycles, and living in this part of the world, many of these are out of our control. Generators at odd hours, noisy neighbours, living close to the main roads, all of these and more could contribute to poor sleep, and in turn, takes a toll on the immune system.
When the toxic air soaks up the lungs, making it difficult to breathe it slowly fogs the mind, there is a rapid decline in mental health. Irrespective of all this, it is important to protect and save our health. Health is wealth and we own our health.