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Air Pollution in Kuwait, & Relation to Allergies

Air Pollution in Kuwait, & Relation to AllergiesAir pollution consists of both gaseous and particulate-matter pollutants. The former includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The latter includes particulate matter of varying aerodynamic diameter.

Recent interest has focused on Particulate matters of 0.1 (PM₀.₁), or so called ultra-fine particles. These particles have a higher carbon content, larger total surface area, and greater potential for carrying toxic compounds. Because of their small size, these particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and deposited in the alveoli.

Air pollution has been linked to many adverse health problems. Short term exposure exacerbates existing pulmonary and cardiovascular disease and increases the need for medical attention, and death. Long-term exposure increases the cumulative risk of chronic pulmonary and cardiovascular disease and death. The increase of the allergic diseases has occurred in parallel with the increased use of fossil fuels.

Air pollutants seem to have no causal connection with the increased occurrence of allergic diseases. For example, the prevalence of allergic diseases is very high in New Zealand, where the air is very clean and clear. Allergic diseases are also more common in Western than Eastern Europe, although air pollution is much greater in the East than in the West.

A relative loss of some environmental protective factor or factors that were common in pre industrial times could explain the increase in the prevalence of the allergic diseases.

Diesel particles have also been shown to stimulate the gene expression and the predisposition of allergic state in exposed individuals. However, no convincing epidemiological data have established that causally related to the increasing allergy problem

In certain parts of developed countries, agencies were created to monitor such pollution. Also, over the years, strategies including emission-control strategies for vehicles, the use of cleaner burning fuels, and the elimination of gross pollution sources such as some incinerators and others, have helped improving air quality. This situation is far from occurring in Kuwait for many reasons, including:

  1. The steady increase of vehicles, heavy machineries & factories in a very small spot of the country.
  2. The fixed area of residence that had not changed significantly since the new Kuwait was found.
  3. Proximity of residential areas with few of the biggest oil fields in the world, major source of pollution in the area, yet the main source of income for the country.
  4. Proximity of the area to major pollutants from warheads used for ongoing conflict in the surrounding region. Effects of which are yet to be discovered.
  5. Lack of obvious local regulations for inspecting the gases omitted from vehicles, factories, and other sources.
  6. Moreover, the frequent hazards occurring from major malfunction in the oil refineries, storages, etc.

These are some of the problems we face in Kuwait with regards to pollution. Although i am sure the health impacts of the above mentioned factors are many, it's only a matter of short time before we start to see clear evidence for such acts.