Although the regular exposure of Nigerians to air pollution, especially those from the motor vehicles exhaust and that from the electricity power generators, made it looked as if air pollutants are harmless, but experts have recently warned against the harmful effects of air pollution on the human system.
According to a new study conducted by Californian researchers, it was found that children and teenagers exposed to high levels of traffic pollution showed signs of premature aging.The study further discovered that youngsters with asthma had higher levels of a pollutant caused by motor vehicle exhaust.
The study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and reported on DailyMailOnline analyzed 14 children and adolescents living in Fresno, California – the second-most polluted city in the US, and found that those with higher levels of pollutants had a specific type of DNA damage called telomere shortening – the main cause of age-related break down of our cells.
In the words of Dr John Balmes from the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues, “Children may be especially vulnerable to the effects of telomeric DNA damage due to their physical development as well as developing immune system.”
The implication of the findings is for Nigerians to protect themselves and their wards as much as possible from the dangerous effects of pollutants as the World Health Organization has put the statistics of annual casualties to be about 3.7 million.
Furthermore, it will amaze Nigerians to know that Nigeria top the list of the twenty most polluted cities in the world, with four cities in Nigeria – Onitsha, Aba, Kaduna,Umuahia out of the 20 urban areas with the worst air quality in the world at the time of measurement by the WHO Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, as at 2016.