Pollution is not a new term anymore. From school days, we all have been studying this important topic. But we are sorry to say; this term is still residing in our books but not in our minds. We are here to remind its importance once again through this article.
We all have heard different forms of pollution that are air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, and noise pollution. Among them, air pollution is the most concerning one that impacts our health and the environment largely. We can’t turn our face from the air pollution causes and effects.
Air pollution occurs when the presence of harmful gases in the atmosphere increases to an alarming rate. Their presence in breathing air creates many difficulties for human beings, plants, animals and other creatures living on earth.
We all know that we depend on the air surrounding us for living. It should have to be fresh and healthy; otherwise, it will hinder the feasible working of the respiratory system. But all of us breathe this contaminated air. Imagine how much content of harmful pollutants we take through respiration.
Do not blame anyone. You are self putting your life into danger, as various devastating chemicals present in the air are the root cause of many allergies and diseases. We can filter our drinking water and make it pure and safe. But how can you filter this atmosphere? It is possible only to a very small extent.
What data shows?
In 2012, 6.5 million deaths around the world were due to diseases caused by air pollution declared by WHO, which is 11.6% of the total deaths. WHO also estimates that more than one million death in China and over 6000,000 deaths in India are caused by air pollution. This figure is worse in Eastern Europe, and Ukraine tops the list contributing to 120 deaths per 10000 humans in 2012.
Want to know more about air pollution causes and effects? We are going to explain a few of them.
Causes of air pollution
Combustion of fossil fuels
One of the major causes of air pollution is produced by manufacturing industries. Their production processes include burning of fossil fuels, resulting in the emission of harmful gases and particulates like nitrogen oxide, sulfur, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide that enter into the surface of the atmosphere.
In the mining industries, the solvent and chemicals used to extract natural resources also contribute in contaminating air majorly.
Exhaust from vehicles
You can see the pollution caused by automobiles in your city. Transport industries are based on fossil fuels like petroleum, diesel, etc. that emit harmful pollutants into the environment. Air pollution from vehicles is alone responsible for 400,000 premature deaths.
The consumption of energy in cooking in our homes contributes a lot to contaminate our surroundings. The in-house burning of fuels, wood, and other things for cooking, warming, and lighting cause major health problems. Chemicals present in the substances used for cleaning or painting purposes contain highly toxic lead.
Agriculture industries are responsible for 24 percent emission of greenhouse gases worldwide. The main source of air pollution that comes from agriculture is methane gas. Burning of agriculture waste, livestock and rice paddies produce methane gas. This methane gas forms the ground-level ozone, which gives rise to many health problems like asthma, harm respiratory system, etc. During the agriculture processes, farmers use fertilizers and pesticides abundantly that release harmful pollutant ammonia and other unwanted gases in the atmosphere.
Burning of waste products
Openly burning of disposals and other organic waste in the landfills emits deadliest furans, methane, dioxide and other harmful particulates like black carbon into the environment. Forty percent of total waste produced burns openly around the world.
Air pollution is also emerging due to volcanic eruption, blowing off dust storms, and another natural phenomenon. Forest fires produce a large amount of smoke and affect nearby cities and villages. Radioactive material released during the decomposition of rocks also causes air pollution.
Effects of Air Pollution
The ozone layer envelops the earth in the stratosphere to protect us from ultraviolet B radiations that emit from the sun. But due to the rise in the temperature of air and ocean and highly emission of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in the atmosphere, it increases the number of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Also, the protective ozone layer is depleting due to chlorofluorocarbons and hydro chlorocarbons in the atmosphere, which cause UV rays to reach the earth’s surface and react to our skin and eyes.
During the burning of fossil fuels, harmful pollutants like sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide are emitted into the atmosphere. When these harmful gases combine with water vapour present in the sky, it gives rise to a phenomenon called acid rain. Acid rain creates great damage to our crops, animals, and buildings.
Air pollution causes minor health problems such as irritation in the nose, throat, and eyes and is also responsible for the creation of deadly diseases like asthma, emphysema, and in some cases, even cancer. Air pollution affects the respiratory system of children to a great extent.
Not only humans but also animals experience the dreadful effects of air pollution. Animals have to change their natural habitats due to toxic chemicals present in the atmosphere, which create a negative impact on the ecosystem. Some pollutants have a high amount of nitrogen which is developed on sea surface and forms into algae. This algae covers the whole surface of the water and hinders the sunlight from reaching to creatures living underwater and also impacts the development of certain aquatic animals living under it.
We all should come together whether experts, government officials, or ordinary people and take every possible step to prevent and control air pollution. Efficient consumption of energy and the use of renewable fuels, eco-friendly buildings are some obvious steps. The air pollution causes and effects should be considered seriously. Besides that, efforts should be put to invent some innovative and creative pollution control strategies which are cost-effective and give results shortly.