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CSR: Air Pollution Damaging Cognitive Performance

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According to the World Health Organisation, about seven million people die every year due to air pollution. In 2016, air pollution accounted for 4.2 million deaths across the globe. 91% of global population live in places where the air quality exceeds the WHO standards.

According to a new study, persistent exposure to air pollution impacts a person’s cognitive performance negatively. It says that the impact increases with age, and affects the lesser educated people the most. This is because such people tend to have more outdoor jobs and are exposed to this pollution for a longer duration.

The sample audience of the study were some 20,000 people in China. However, today, almost 80% of the global population is breathing polluted air, which makes this a globally relevant study, especially for the developing nations like India which has lower literacy rate in many of its regions.

The study was based on measurements of the proportions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulates smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter present in the air where people lived. The researchers tested people of both sexes aged 10 and above between 2010 and 2014, with 24 standardised maths questions and 34 word-recognition questions.

As per the findings of the study, many pollutants are thought to directly affect brain chemistry in a variety of ways. Some pollutants are risk to cause psychological effects such as depression.

According to the list of the world’s top 20 polluted cities compiled by the World Health Organisation, 14 cities were from India, with Kanpur being the most polluted city in the world. This directly puts India in a lot of danger, as it needs more smart people to improve its economic condition. Working towards improving the air quality by reducing carbon footprints and planting more trees is the only way out from this vicious cycle.

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Regards,
The CSR Journal Team

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