Air pollution is an environmental issue that is usually caused by industrial emissions, and car exhaust. Harmful particles, that were emitted, accumulate in the atmosphere, and this is what is called air pollution. This is one of the major problems in the modern world as the population is rising, the demand for resources, like water and electricity, is also increasing, hence more coal is being burned in industry, and ambient air is being filled with more pollutants. Those hazardous substances in the air affect people’s health, especially their lungs. According to World Health Organization (2018), 7 million people pass away every year because of air pollution.
In Almaty, individuals are exposed to smog (mix of smoke and fog) that poses a huge threat to their breathing system. They breathe this polluted air every day increasing their risk for many respiratory (breathing) diseases. The situation gets worse during winter when more coal is being combusted to heat households. It is not a healthy environment for people who exercise, bike or stay for a long time outside. They consume polluted air more, making their risk for different illnesses even higher. Moreover, according to IQAir (2021), Kazakhstan has a greater frequency of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and allergic rhinitis than Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Most of the time, on the IQAir website, the air pollution level of Almaty is “unhealthy” which means that there is usually a great concentration of pollutants in the air. Almaty’s population lives in a city with poor air quality, making citizens more vulnerable to lung, heart, and brain diseases. As a result of air pollution, in 2018, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was found in 6.7% of the adult population, and bronchial asthma in 25.5% (IQAir, 2021).
In the summer of 2019, when I was in Almaty, I saw the smog for the first time in my life and it made me think about the air quality in this city. Also, I was wondering how the pollution affects the population’s health there, what are diseases people are the most likely to develop due to the constant exposure to polluted air. Moreover, considering that air pollution is one of the major environmental issues in Kazakhstan, I was certain that there would be enough sources on the internet to do research, and in addition to that, I have 2 sisters who live in Almaty, so I can ask them some questions about the current state of the air pollution there. These are the factors that made me choose this topic.