South Asia is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions
According to new research, exposure to air pollution is a large contributor to miscarriages and stillbirths among South Asian women.
The report, published by The Lancet Planetary Health, stated that South Asia has the highest rate of pregnancy loss in the world.
Over 34,000 women who suffered a pregnancy loss were part of the study.
Of these women, 76.9% were from India, 12.4% were from Pakistan and 10.8% were from Bangladesh.
The report also found that 67% of these women were also from rural areas.
This shows that the poor air quality present in South Asian countries, particularly PM2.5, is just as prominent outside the major towns and cities.
What is PM2.5?
Fine particular matter (PM2.5) are small particles in the air that can be concerning for a person’s health when levels are too high.
Particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller in size are particularly dangerous. This is because they are able to bypass many of the human body’s defences.
Exposure to types of air pollution such as PM2.5 has been proven to be harmful to all humans. However, PM2.5 can be particularly lethal to an unborn baby.
According to the Lancet Planetary Health report, South Asia is one of the most PM2.5 polluted regions in the world.
What are the causes of PM2.5?
The report stated that by knowing the causes of air pollution, the risk of pregnancy loss in South Asia can be reduced:
“Understanding the risk factors for pregnancy loss in South Asia is crucial for planning effective interventions and thus mitigating the global pregnancy loss burden.”
PM2.5 particles can come from a variety of sources. Activities such as farming, wood-burning and transport being the most prominent.
Wildfires, power plants and industrial activity are direct causes of PM2.5 pollutants.
Car exhaust chemicals and the widespread usage of traditional cooking fuels are also contributors to the dangerously high levels of air pollution in South Asia.
How to reduce air pollution levels
Many studies show that reducing air pollution is extremely important for not only people’s health but for the preservation of the environment going forward.
Ways to reduce air pollution include switching to more fuel-efficient modes of transport and reducing the burning of fossil fuels.
Energy-efficient light bulbs and turning off appliances when they are not in use can also reduce the risk of increasing PM2.5 levels.