Clean air is vital for wellness, prosperity

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  • Nowadays, it is becoming common to see people suffering from irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, having difficulty breathing, and getting diagnosed with respiratory diseases.
    Eventually, people with such complaints develop asthma, chronic pulmonary inflammation, and coronary artery disease. In more serious cases, the risk of heart attack, stroke, or lung cancer increases and so does the chance of an early death.
    The main cause of these ailments is the polluted air that blows through our homes and which we breathe every day. According to the findings of the UN Environment Programme, the burning of timber, coal, and other fuels, especially for cooking, across the globe every day and air pollution in homes, factories, and offices is assisting the development of respiratory diseases. They estimate about 4.3 million people die of these diseases every year.
    Furthermore, they’ve discovered that an additional 3.7 million people die every year from toxic fumes emitted by the industrial, power, transportation, and agricultural sectors, forest fires, and large swathes of dust and sand mixing into the air we breathe.
    The numbers are staggering. About 8 million people die as a result of the various forms of air pollution, and the majority of the victims are from Southeast Asian nations, such as Myanmar, and the Western Pacific Region. Women and children suffer the brunt of air pollution. In a dense urban destination like Yangon, we can clearly see the effects of air pollution.
    At an event to commemorate the 2019 World Environment Day, President U Win Myint stressed the importance of clean water for drinking, wholesome food for eating, and safe air for breathing, in order for everyone to be fit and healthy. He pointed out that individual wellbeing is a necessary condition for national development, which will benefit us all.
    Myanmar, along with the rest of the world, is facing numerous challenges from the destruction of the natural environment, and air pollution is such a major threat that the motto for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Beat Air Pollution’.
    We are all children of this earth and the responsibility to save the environment, and ultimately ourselves, rests on our own shoulders. We must change the habits that contribute to air pollution and put our heads together to reverse the damage to our environment while we still can, as we work towards a future that envisages sustainable development.
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