The scary state of air in Lagos and the risk factor of exposure

Air is essential to human, animal, and plant lives. The medical dictionary defines it as a combination of odorless gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen.

Since air is a necessity, we must guard ourselves against air pollution, and we can use the AQI (Air Quality Index) as a tool. The Air Quality Index measures the particulate matters, smog, pollutants in the environment and informs the public of the level.

According to the World Air Quality Index, air quality between 0-50 is satisfactory, 51-100 is acceptable but prolonged exposure can be injurious. Above 100 starts becoming harmful to people with asthma, from 151 is the level that is detrimental to almost every individual.

Let us zero in on Lagos since that is our state of concern. Lagos this moment has an AQI of 116 according to plume labs world air map, which we already know is harmful to people who are already at risk and the continuous exposure to this level of pollution affects everyone.

Some of the pollutants in Lagos air range from:

  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) a gas that comes from the burning of coal, petroleum, natural gas that comes from vehicles and power plants.
  • PM (particulate matter) 2.5, made up of different chemicals and particles and can easily get into our bloodstream and lungs because of its small size. PM 2.5 comes from power plants, vehicle exhaust, or a combination of different chemicals in the air.
  • PM10, these are bigger than the PM2.5 found in smoke and dust and can lead to chest tightness, breathing difficulty, and wheezing.

Even though we have air pollution to deal with, there is always the part we can take practical steps to protect ourselves.

  • Yes to nose masks, asides from using it in times of Covid, help in keeping the tiny particulate matter away from our nose and mouths.
  • If you have children or senior citizens with asthma or respiratory illnesses around you, they are classified in the high-risk group and should try as much as possible not to be outdoors for a long time.
  • Air purifiers are a good investment to have indoors as they help filter and purify the air. The plus side is house plants like English ivy, bamboo palm, and rubber plant are excellent in cleaning up our air.
  • Avoid outdoor workout in areas with high traffic to prevent breathing in particulate matter.

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