Effects of construction dust on humans and environment

Effects of construction dust on humans and environment

Question:- The Construction dust causes asthma and other disease among 17-30% of the workers. Explain the effects of construction dust on human health and environment.

Construction dust is a term given to the dust particles which are found on a construction site. It is a mix of soil and materials like the cement, silica, metal dust and asbestos. There are usually three types of construction dust – silica dust, non-silica dust and wood dust. Activities like dry sweeping and using power tools to grind or cut can create a lot of construction dust.

A research conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) found out that around 17-23% of the workers suffered from asthma and bronchitis in 2013.

Health hazards of construction dust on humans

- Lung diseases – Cement contains elements such as silicon etc that may enter our lungs and cause choking problems. Asbestos can affect the parenchymal tissue of the lungs. A large amount of inhalation of the construction dust can cause pneumoconiosis. It means having a dusty lung.

- Silicosis – A large inhalation of silicosis can cause lung cancer and can also destroy the air sac. In Rajasthan, around 24 % of the workers suffer from silicosis. It can destroy the breathing capacity of a person.

- Eye irritation – Construction dust is alkaline in nature and it can cause a lot of eye damage quickly. A larger exposure of the eye to the construction dust can result in a loss of vision.

- Skin disorder – Portland cement is acidic in nature. Most of the workers get in direct touch to this cement without wearing any protective gloves. This causes reddening of the skin and inflammation.

- Tuberculosis – Exposure to a high amount of silica can cause tuberculosis. The industrial sectors suffer a heavy loss due to this disease. In many workplaces, employees work in an unprotected environment. This can increase the high risk of the disease spreading from those having active TB to the other employees who are working in the close proximity.

Effects of construction dust on environment

- Destruction of monuments – Due to the increase in emission of construction dust from the factories near to the Taj Mahal, it is eroding the natural beauty of the monument. The white Taj Mahal is being turned into red due to a high contamination of dust particles.

- Air pollution – The increasing construction dust contributes to the increase of air pollution. This reduces the vicinity level in the urban areas and can result in a lot of road accidents.

- Agriculture – The construction dust also has a negative effect on the agriculture in India. The dust particles reduces the fertility of the land which ultimately results in the declining ratio of the cultivable land. This can in turn, cause a large food crisis in the long run.

Facts and Figures

- Construction contributes to the particulates up to 10 microns, that we see in the atmosphere.

- The cement manufacturing contributes to 7% of carbon dioxide emissions.

- Bishnoi, as a part of an ongoing project project produced 160 – 170 tonnes of low carbon and low energy cement.

- Cement is the most polluting material in the world.

- Asbestos is banned in Europe and Canada.

- According to the National Commission of Labor, there are 5 lakh miners in India. Out of them, around 41% of them suffer from silicosis.
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