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How air pollution is increasing the burden of non-communicable diseases in the world?

The impact of air pollution is multifaceted. It has a snowballing effect, leading to one health problem or the other. A World Health Organisation (WHO) study said 97% of cities in developing countries exceed their harmful air emission limit. 449,000 infant deaths could be prevented if the average levels of air pollution decrease to a concentration of 2 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre. WHO also said, people living in cities such as Nairobi are the worst hit. A new research of American Heart Association found children who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution while in the womb had a higher risk of elevated blood pressure in childhood. This makes affected children more prone to hypertension, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, loss of vision, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). This is alarming!!!! If no measures are taken immediately, then we can lose an entire generation of population to the ncd-related diseases.

It is also surprising to learn that, apart from living an unhealthy life, diabetes can also be triggered by air pollution. “Pollution is thought to reduce the body’s insulin production, preventing the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs to maintain health; 8.2 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes” (New Telegraph, 2018). So, what is the cure for this monster named ‘air pollution’? Do we lock it up behind the bars? Well, jokes apart, the key is the proper execution of clean air policies. Some countries are still lagging behind. But, there are countries who are catching up. In Uganda, a bill has been passed to forbid the import of vehicles older than eight years. The project, approved by the Ugandan Cabinet, aims to restrict the import of second-hand Japanese cars, considering it as the main source of pollution in urban areas. This is a positive news. Because little drops of water make the mighty ocean.

My philosophy is to take one day at a time. Let’s keep our spirits high and fight against this ‘air pollution’ monster to lower the burden of non-communicable diseases. #beatncds #noairpollution #sdgs #cleanair


American Heart Association (2018) In-womb air pollution exposure associated with higher blood pressure in childhood. (Available at: (Accessed: 23 July 2018).

Burns, C. (2018) Air pollution is the reason behind thousands of children death in Africa as per study. Available at: (Accessed: 25 July 2018).

Business Daily (2018) Air pollution increases risk of hypertension in children. Available at: (Accessed: 12 July 2018).

Independent (2018) Almost a quarter of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could be prevented by improving air quality, study finds. Available at: (Accessed: 23 July 2018).

New Telegraph (2018) Air pollution may lead to diabetes. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2018).


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