Air Pollution

Air pollution is the excessive quantity of harmful substances present in the earth’s atmosphere. The primary source of air pollution is certain gases like carbon monoxide, ammonia, CFC, methane, etc. air pollution can be defined as modification in the quality of air that is characterised by chemical measurements, physical or biological pollutants in the air. It is the undesirable presence of impurities or the rise in the proportion of some constituents of the atmosphere.

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Causes of Air Pollution

Air pollution is caused due to the presence of the toxic substance in the atmosphere that is mostly produced by human activities. It can also result sometimes due to natural phenomena such as dust storms, volcanic eruption, and wildfires deteriorating the air quality.

Some of the sources of air pollution are as follows.

  1. Emissions From Factories and Industries

Industries and factories release a huge amount of carbon monoxide, chemicals, hydrocarbons, and other organic compounds into the air which contaminates the air.

  1. Fossil Fuel Combustion

Fossil fuels such as oil and coal when combusted for electricity and road transportation produce air pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen.

  1. Waste Production

It is usually because of methane generation in landfills.

  1. Agricultural Activities

Pesticides, fertilisers, and insecticides are used for agricultural activities which can emit harmful chemicals into the environment.

Types of Air Pollution

Air pollution is mainly due to human-made sources, also known as artificial sources and natural sources.

Human - Made Sources

The prime reason that artificially contributes to air pollution is due to the combustion of certain fuels. Most of the industrial sources burn fuel with heating devices and waste of which gets into the air. In countries that are still developing archaic biomass burning is the prime cause of air pollution. 

Man-made sources also include free sources that consist of water transport, automobiles, and planes. Fuels emitted from such vessels increases the level of pollution. Also, fumes from hair spray, aerosol, paint, varnish, and other solvents also create an unpleasant environment. This list also includes military resources like nuclear weapons, germ warfare, toxic gases, and rocketry.

Natural Sources

Natural sources include chemical like chlorine, sulphur, and ash released from volcanic eruptions, fires in the forest, methane combustion due to animal digestion like cattle. 

Effects of Air Pollution

Consequences of Air Pollution

  1. Effects on the Environment

Air pollution causes a significant impact on the process of plant evolution by preventing photosynthesis in various cases. It can create an effect on the purification of the air we breathe. It can lead to acid rain, precipitation in the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow, frost, and fog, which are mainly due to the combustion of fossil fuels. 

Smog and soot are the air pollution that can be prevented. Their primary sources include cars, trucks, factories, power plants, engines, etc. Greenhouse gases can make the temperatures warmer and can create climate change resulting in rising sea levels, extreme weather, deaths due to heat, and increase in transmission of infectious disease like Lyme. Greenhouse gas like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are much potent than carbon dioxide to trap the heat.

  1. Global Warming

Global warming is mostly caused due to climate change. Usually, the presence of greenhouse gas is beneficial to the planet as they absorb the infrared radiation produced by the earth’s surface. The concentration of the gases in excess in the environment is the cause of climate change.

  1. Effects on Human Health

Hazardous air pollutants have caused severe health risks even when present in small amounts. The common causes of air pollutants are lead, mercury, dioxins, and benzene. The carcinogen benzene can cause eye, lung, and skin irritation in the short term and blood disorders in the long run. 

Preventing Air Pollution

There are several ways by which we can stop and control air pollution and those are as follows:

  1. Renewable and Clean Fuel and Energy Production

The most effective solution is to get rid of fossil fuels and replace them with resources like solar, wind, and geothermal.

  1. Conservation of Energy

It is vital to produce clean energy but equally essential to reduce the consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using energy-efficient devices.

  1. Eco - Friendly Transportation

Transportations can be made eco-friendly when we start using electric and hydrogen vehicles instead of petrol and diesel vehicles. We can also promote shared mobility like public transport and carpooling, which can further reduce air pollution.

  1. Green Building

The green building aims to create structures that are resource-efficient and environmentally responsible for reducing the footprints of carbon right from the planning to the demolition of the building.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Various Causes of Air Pollution?

Here are some of the man reasons for air pollution:

Burning of Fossil Fuels – combustion of fossil fuels emits sulphur dioxide and other harmful chemicals used by the transportation and other activities in our day-to-day life which can cause serious health effects and environmental effects.

Agricultural Activities – the use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilisers cause much harm when mixed in air and water. 

Mining Operations – mining process releases dust and chemicals into the air from under the earth’s crust which pollutes the air.

2. What are Some of the Steps to Prevent Air Pollution?

Air pollution is proving to be a source of many issues that affect the Earth and its inhabitants. We need to come together to avoid the increase in air pollution. Some of the ways to prevent air pollution include - 

  1. Reduction in usage of private vehicles, and using public transport or car pooling

  2. Eliminating the use of fireplace and wood stove

  3. Avoiding burning of trash, leaves, and other such materials

  4. Removing the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.