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Causes of Air Pollution

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Causes of Air Pollution Which Makes Our Lungs Suffocate

As the world is moving forward with advancements and progress in technology, the air quality is deteriorating day by day. The factories, industries, and petrol-driven cars that we, humans invented for development and comfort, have now become the sources of air pollution and started to suffocate our lungs with impure air. Many reasons for air pollution deprive us of the right to breathe fresh air and live in a healthy environment. In this article, we will emphasize What causes air pollution and how it is affecting our lives.

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What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution refers to the deterioration of air quality by the suspension of solid, liquid, and gaseous harmful particles into the air. The solid and liquid particles released into the air are scientifically called aerosols. According to a study conducted by WHO, approximately seven million deaths around the globe are happening because of air pollution. The main causes of air pollution are the release of sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds, etc.

How does Air get Polluted? 

Air pollution is one of the most serious and challenging environmental issues that the whole world is facing. Despite several attempts, agreements, and conferences, air pollution seems to be worsening in many countries. To understand why such a situation is being currently faced by the countries, we need to first learn what causes air pollution. It will give us a clear idea to map out what areas need to be controlled to bring down the air pollution. The list below shows the 7 causes of air pollution, which are as follows:

1. Burning fossils to Produce Energy

One of the major reasons for air pollution is the burning of fossils like coal, petroleum to generate electricity or use them for transportation. The burning of fossils leads to the release of carbon monoxide into the air. This reduces the heart’s pumping capacity to produce oxygen and leads to respiratory problems in humans.

2. Wildfires and Volcanic Eruption

The harmful gases released by the eruption of volcanoes or wildfires also lead to air pollution. These two are the natural causes of air pollution. The gases erupt by the wildfires raise the PM 2.5 level in the air which then collides with the toxic chemical components already present in the air. As a result, a heavy sheet of smog is created which leads to severe breathing problems.

3. Vehicle Movement

It’s a well-known fact that transportation is one of the major sources of air pollution, particularly in cities. The vehicle movement leads to emissions of several toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, PM 10, and so on. All these gases raise the temperature of the air which ultimately leads to the depletion of the ozone layer.

4. Harmful Decay of Microbes

This is one of the causes of air pollution that is rarely acknowledged by many. The decay of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in the environment by the emission of gases from chemical and textile industries leads to the release of methane gas.


5. Emission From Industries

Industrial emission is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons for air pollution. Industries that are running primarily on wood and coal emit harmful gases like carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, PM 2.5 and 10, and more. The release of such harmful gases in the air deteriorates our health and leads to either eye irritation, respiratory issues, or even chronic diseases.

6. Burning of Waste in an Open Area

Burning of waste and garbage at a large scale in the open is one of the main causes of air pollution in several cities around the world. This human activity leads to emissions of such hazardous gases that even exposure to it can lead to serious health threats like impairment of the reproductive system, liver problems, etc.

7. Indoor Activities 

Whenever we search for answers for what causes air pollution, we often consider the external factors only. The fact that our indoor activities can also lead to air pollution inside our homes never crosses our minds. But it’s one reality. The use of wood stoves or smoking cigarettes inside or using heaters to increase humidity without proper ventilation leads to air pollution and can pose serious health issues.

What are the Examples of Air Pollution?

Mostly, air pollutants cannot be seen by the naked eye or smell. But to imply that they won’t be available in high amounts because of this is outright wrong. Some major gases lead to the greenhouse effect and ultimately contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. The common greenhouse gases that are examples of air pollution as well are carbon dioxide and methane.

The examples of air pollution are as follows:

  1. Natural Causes of Air Pollution 

  • Increasing temperature 

  • Wildfires

  • Volcanic eruption  

  • Wind currents

  1. Anthropogenic Sources of Pollution

  • Transportation 

  • Garbage Burning

  • Mining and chemical activities 

  • Construction activities 


From this article we have learnt about the various reasons why air pollution is caused. In order to curb air pollution, we need to take actions against the causes which are mentioned above. For example, we can limit the use of private vehicles and opt for public transport in order to curb air pollution.

Last updated date: 21st Sep 2023
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FAQs on Causes of Air Pollution

1. How does air get polluted through agricultural activities?

Agricultural activities have a drastic impact on the quality of air. The pesticides and fertilizers that are used to proliferate the growth of the crops are the major contributors to contaminating the air. In recent days, these pesticides and fertilizers are mixed with some foreign, artificial species to quicken the crops’ growth. Once they are sprinkled over the crops, their smell and constituents remain in the environment. Some runoff and dissolve into the lakes or rivers flowing nearby while some penetrate the roots that contaminate the groundwater. The consumption of this contaminated water ultimately leads to serious health issues.

2. Why is air pollution considered a problem?

Air pollution is considered a problem because it not only affects the environment but also damages crops, forests, animals, and the human body. The causes of air pollution contribute to the problem of acid rain and the depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer is important for the earth because it protects the earth from the UV rays of the sun. But when it gets depleted, the UV rays can enter the Earth and affect humans. In this way, the air problem creates problems.