Air pollution in urban areas

Nairobi City

Globalization has enabled the world to experience urbanization. As development increases, so does the world become more competitive and people learn new ways of living; while some are forced to move into urban spaces to seek lifetime opportunities in order to keep up with the technological turn of events. The intense migration of people into urban areas leads to rapid population increase which causes uncontrolled growth of informal settlements in the urban spaces such as slums.

A slum is characterized by: poor structure and quality of housing, congestion and overcrowding, inadequate access to safe water, inadequate access to sanitation and infrastructure and insecure residential spaces. This state leads to a deteriorating standard of living which does more harm and no good. The rapid increase in population and informal settlements increases air pollution in the urban spaces. Apart from urbanization, there are several factors that contribute to an increase of air pollution in urban areas namely: non-renewable use of energy sources, motorization and industrial activities.

Clean air is now one of the basic requirements of human health and well-being. However, with the unsustainable economic developments that are taking place mostly in the developing countries. Air pollution has become one of the major health hazards in urban centers. The risks that come with unclean air mainly affect the high risks sub-groups who are the young children, elderly people and people with pre-disposed diseases and people of low social economic status. Air pollution causes sub-clinical effects, physiological changes especially with pulmonary functions and pre-mature deaths.

It is crucial that urban planners take note and consider the informal settlements that are building up in the urban cities and make future plans on how to control the risks that comes with it as well as rapid the population increase. As more people move into cities, the spaces are made of more stones and less green spaces which play a major contribution in ensuring that the urban areas have clean air in circulation.

Sustainable development is not only a state responsibility but also a personal responsibility that each individual should push forward, in order to ensure that life is well preserved and that all people get the opportunity to enjoy gifts of nature, as well as leave room for the future generation to experience a better planet too.

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