By Sarfoh Danquah Jacob
Rising clouds of fumes from the exhaust of vehicles, scattered organic and inorganic filth and massively choked gutters was what I saw at Pokuase. These are some effects of urbanisation coupled with the current reconstruction of the Pokuase-Nsawam road. Particles from the aforementioned scenes cause air pollution which can result into respiratory diseases such as asthma and other diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution has caused an estimated 4.2 billion premature deaths worldwide in 2016. The adverse effects of air pollution, which is as a result of urbanisation are terrifying. I am writing this article with an uncontrollable runny nose and a rather excruciating body anomaly. No! Don’t get me wrong! Urbanisation is good but expensive. As we think of building our cities, we should be mindful of our basic need: life, and a healthy life to be precise. For it is in a healthy life that we are able to accomplish the purpose of our existence.
But the million dollar question is, How do we maintain a healthy life in an all-changing environment?
What Can Be Done?
A balanced diet is still essential for a healthy life. The food we eat should contain the carbohydrates proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats and oils in their right proportions. All these are what the body depends on. Not forgetting roughage and water which most of us do not consume. A great chunk of our bodies is made up of water and this makes it important in our lives. Roughage on the other hand, allows for easy digestion and prevents constipation. Consuming a good meal will definitely keep the body battle ready for any intruding diseases.
Individually, it is the responsibility of every person to keep him or herself healthy. Upon seeing billows of smoke emanating from the exhaust of a car or colliding with a pungent smell, one should at least cover their noses and cease breathing for a while and then resume after they are quite far from it. These gases when inhaled may leave in us either short-term problems such as coughing, sneezing, eye irritation, dizziness and headaches. Long-term exposure to airborne particles, on the other hand can also cause high rates of cancer, heart diseases and stroke. This is a health issue many people take for granted. Preventing these diseases by covering your nose can save you so much time and money.
I suggest it should be addressed as a national issue. Formulating policies concerning the kind of vehicle that plies our roads will do us a lot of good. As our government takes up the mantle to deal with rickety cars filling our breathing space with poisonous gases, we need to do our part by keep our drains in order.
Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time to live in the Middle Ages where animals will be my means of transport producing no chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). Have you ever wonder why they lived longer!
Urbanisation spurs a great threat to our lives. It is here with us now and we need to take stringent measures to keep alive. So, the next time you see fumes coming at you, do yourself a favour: cover your nose!