Urbanization has been beneficial to our social and economic growth. We are so focused on material well-being, forgetting its effect on the environment. Studies even confirmed that our daily activities contributed to about 78% of carbon emission in the cities, never realizing we could later suffer the consequences of environmental problems.
The poor air quality we have now has become a severe problem. Air pollution is now linked to premature infant deaths and respiratory diseases in little children. The University of Birmingham conducted a study, and they found pieces of evidence that make the infants vulnerable to ambient air pollution because of their fragile immune system and lungs’ capacity. If the air pollution in the cities get even worse, what will happen to the children of the future? Will they be able to have a gasp of clean air?
Drawn To the City Life
Many in my generations were drawn to city life, willing to leave the countryside for the city’s sparkling lights at night, the noise of the traffic, busy people coming and going to the streets. It seems like living a life of someone famous and successful. I, myself, dreamt and had lived in the city and enjoyed it. However, it never lasts. It turned out that it’s not the life I would want for myself and my kids. It may be glittering from afar but not as beautiful when you’re already in it. The smog, the smell of the surrounding, the noise, the stress – they were never right for my health. I developed asthma caused by dust, smoke, and diesel fumes.
Busy Preggy Working Girl
Opportunity, income, and benefits of working in companies in the big city were hard to resist. Pregnancy was easy for me, so I was able to work still. I just never thought that hanging out with officemates with even the smell of smoke in their clothes was bad enough to harm the baby inside me. That being caught up in road traffic for hours, inhaling all the fumes could cause me to deliver my baby prematurely. He was small and low in weight. My doctor approached my husband and me. He explained to us our son’s condition. He may not make it because of a lung problem. And eight hours later, our little angel left us.
I had him in my womb for almost eight months but wasn’t even able to hold him in my hands. He wasn’t even able to take a peek at what this world looks like. He only survived eight hours and just stayed inside the incubator supported by machine for his oxygen needs.
Making Your Child Vulnerable
Once you or your child breathes in dirty air, he is bringing in tiny airborne pollutants deep into his lungs. These particulate matters can cause severe damage to his respiratory tract. It can then trigger asthma or worsen whatever existing respiratory illness he already has. Some children healthy at birth could later in their lives develop a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, bronchitis, or worse lung cancer.
It’s hard to grieve when you know you lost your child because of ignorance and carelessness. I was never concerned about my surroundings before and with pollution despite my condition. I know a bit about it through my doctors, the news, but I was never really interested in what was causing it nor did I imagine changing my lifestyle and taking the matter seriously. The incident awakened my consciousness and raised my awareness.
Our Children’s Right To Clean Air
Years passed, I gave birth to a baby girl. She was born with the same condition as my first child. It was lucky that she survived. This time, we had to decide. We had to choose between our career in the city or a life someplace where the air is fresher for our daughter’s health.
Moving back to the countryside was a tough decision. We were already used to city life, and I was not sure if we would survive the loneliness and the leisureliness of being away from the city. But we had to do it for the health of our daughter. We purchased a small land with a barnyard. We were able to put up a small business. At first, we thought it was sacrificing the city life, but later on, we found out it was not. It was a chance to start a new life.
It proves that an improved quality of air is what’s more important, a fresh air that has been good for our family’s health and well-being.
Urbanization has been beneficial to most of us, but with the improper approach, it had significantly damaged the environment. And that damage is said to be irreversible. Are we just going to accept that there’s nothing else we can do? Are we not at least going to try for the sake of the future generation? We will never know how far our little sacrifices will go unless we start doing it now.