"Airpocalypse": When the Air we Breathe Turns Toxic

It sounds like a Hollywood apocalypse movie, but it is a consequence of climate change. The so-called "airpocalypse" threatens the life of human beings as we know it .

People on a smoggy street

Right now, air quality in many, many countries is at risk. One of the biggest consequences of global warming is forest fires, which in turn cause more emissions that deplete the ozone layer. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: "Airpocalypse": cuando el aire que respiramos se vuelve tóxico

Air is a vital element for the life of human beings. Our species needs it to survive in a safe environment, just a little lack of air puts our entire body at risk. But this needs to be filtered by the respiratory system to prevent certain particles from affecting our health .

Due to the importance of this element, every August 14 the Inter-American Air Quality Day is celebrated. This date seeks to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of the quality of what we breathe every day and to which we are constantly exposed, because no matter how impressive the human body is, there are certain extremely toxic and dangerous particles so tiny that they cannot be filtered before entering our body.

The protagonist remains the same: global warming

Right now, the air quality in many countries is at risk . One of the biggest consequences of global warming is forest fires, which in turn cause more emissions that deplete the ozone layer. This is not only causing the global temperature to increase with greater speed, but it also causes the air that remains within the ozone layer and that travels through currents, to be filled with microparticles that are very dangerous for the well-being of humans and other species.

It may also interest you: Can Climate Change be Stopped?

With the impressive heat waves that hit much of the world this summer, concern about this phenomenon has been unleashed again. After having lived through a pandemic in which masks have been used for almost two years, we realize that we will most likely have to get used to wearing them for the rest of our lives . Eventually there may not be a deadly virus breathing down our neck, but we will find that the air we breathe every day can be deadly, and even wearing a surgical mask is not entirely effective, so we will probably have to resort to. to masks that better filter the air that is about to enter our body.

The "Airpoalypse" is not something new, it has been around for decades

When we realize that what keeps us alive can become our death sentence , it makes perfect sense that this phenomenon is called "Airpocalypse". Yes, it sounds a bit exaggerated and even so it could be called a catastrophe movie, but, as is often the case, that fiction genre is increasingly closer to reality. Humanity began a countdown of the air we can breathe on the day that industrialization became our highest priority.

The smog began as something distant that we saw in the mid-2010s, when in Beijing, China, citizens began to wear masks in their daily lives to protect themselves from air pollution . On television we could see giant mists in which it was clear that breathing could become extremely difficult and dangerous. Today, this reality has become the daily life in countries of Africa, East Asia and North America.

Air currents, also as a result of global warming, have decreased and remain lower, causing the O2 that we breathe in our daily lives to become toxic. In the last week, more than 1000 micrograms of toxic particles have been counted per cubic meter of air . Our health is at stake. We must act fast, otherwise we will have our survival numbered.