Many diseases have been linked to air pollution consisting of fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5) and people should protect themselves, a doctor said yesterday.
Physician Chiang Kun-chun (江坤俊), vice president of the Taoyuan-based Min-Sheng General Hospital, talked about the dangers of air pollution and how people can protect themselves at an event in Taipei’s Daan Forest Park (大安森林公園), which was organized by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
The EPA has designated this year as “Sustainable Earth Year,” with a campaign to promote changing life habits at events throughout the year, and with the spring events focused on air quality.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
“Air pollution season” in Taiwan is from October to March every year, EPA Deputy Minister Tsai Hung-te (蔡鴻德) said, adding that this spring has not been as bad as previous years, which he said was due to the suspended operations of factories in China due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
The problem of air pollution cannot be solved by any single agency or group, he said.
Every member of society is responsible for improving air quality, he said, adding that people should try to curb pollution by taking public transportation, consuming locally produced food, growing plants to clean the air and reducing unnecessary consumption.
Drawing attention to the risks posed by PM2.5, Chiang said that small particulate matter damages pulmonary membranes, just as a coronavirus attacks lung tissue.
People are more vulnerable to virus infection when air quality is poor and their lungs are weak, he said.
Particles of PM2.5 can dissolve into pulmonary alveolus and even blood vessels, causing infection in all of a person’s vessels, he said.
In addition to pulmonary diseases, PM2.5 has been linked to numerous diseases throughout the human body, Chiang said.
To strengthen their immunity and protect their lung health, people should drink an adequate amount of water, maintain a balanced diet, sleep sufficiently every day and exercise regularly, he said.
If their lungs are healthy enough, people would be able to resist virus infection even when it enters their body, Chiang said.
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