Psychological Effects of Pollution

Dirty air and noisy environments have been proven to be damaging to mental well-being. There is evidence to show that air pollution can lead to stress, depression, and mood swings. Air pollution, as the result of byproducts released from factories, farms, cars, burning fossil fuels, household gas, power plants or household fuels, is present almost everywhere there is human life. Noise pollution, while also a result of industrial civilization, is given far less attention despite its negative impact on quality of life.

Air Pollution and Depression

In a study done by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, children aged 6-7 years can have the symptoms of anxiety and depression when exposed to urban air pollutants. The tests on the effects of pollution indicated that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can cause attention disorders in children. According to a development specialist with a Bachelor’s of psychology degree, research has found a link between exposure to high levels of black carbon and decreased IQ in children. Long-term exposure to the toxic effects of urban pollution can lead to psychiatric disorders, as the toxic substances interfere with the normal functioning of the nervous system. Psychosocial stress that arises from air pollution is similar to that of an organic mental disorder.

Noise Pollution and Psychiatric Disorders

Exposure to annoying noise leads to psychological disturbances. Among industrial workers, noise results in sleepless nights. The people affected by manufacturing noise can become tense and emotionally volatile as a result. Sometimes the people living in high-noise areas can experience nightmares or constantly interrupted sleep.


Reduced Child Intelligence

Children who are overexposed to noise pollution or farm chemicals can become restless and inattentive. These children develop behavioral disorders and may perform poorly in school. People who live in noisy areas (airports, factories, busy roads or clubs) may suffer intellectually and emotionally. The children in noisy areas can be even worse off. Research done by the World Health Organization shows children can have difficulty developing coping strategies and may even experience lifelong learning disorders when subjected to perpetual noise pollution.

Pollution and Annoyance

A study conducted in Japan showed a close relationship between military aircraft noise, nervousness, and depression. Noise annoyance makes you feel you are in a dangerous situation, so you will experience fear or mild anger. The anger flashes occur because the sufferer’s sense of personal privacy is linked to the nervous system. A person who in a conversation, is watching the TV or listening to music will be annoyed when noise pollution occurs.

There are means of preventing the psychological trauma caused by pollution. To minimize or prevent the consequences of air and noise pollution, society needs to improve environmental health. Factory workers must wear ear protection gear always. Strict adherence to environmental protection laws is necessary when running factories that emit toxic substances. Military training sites and manufacturing plants need to be set up far from human settlements.

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