What is Air Pollution? – Cause and Effect

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. Car emissions, chemicals from factories, dust, pollen, and mold spores may be suspended as particles. Ozone, a gas, is a major part of air pollution in cities. When ozone forms air pollution, it’s also called smog. Some air pollutants are poisonous.

Inhaling them can increase the chance you’ll have health problems. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children are at greater risk from air pollution. Air pollution isn’t just outside the air inside buildings can also be polluted and affect your health.

There are different types of air pollutants, such as gases (such as ammonia, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons), particulates (both organic and inorganic), and biological molecules.

Air pollution may cause diseases, allergies, and even death to humans; it may also cause harm to other living organisms such as animals and food crops and may damage the natural or built environment. Both human activity and natural processes can generate air pollution.

Definition of air pollution

Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air that is detrimental to human health and the planet as a whole. Adding harmful chemicals, biological and/or particles to the atmosphere creates air pollution.

Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials.

Causes of Air pollution

Air pollution is caused by solid and liquid particles and certain gases that are suspended in the air. These particles and gases can come from car and truck exhaust, factories, dust, pollen, mold spores, volcanoes, and wildfires.

1. The Burning of Fossil Fuels

Most of the air pollution comes from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gasoline to generate energy for electricity or transportation. The release of carbon monoxide to a large extent indicates how much fossil fuel is being burned.

This also releases other toxic pollutants into the air. Inhaling air, caused by pollutants burning natural gas and fossil fuels, reduces the heart’s ability to pump enough oxygen, which leads to respiratory disease.

Check out our Article: What is Fossil Fuels?

2. Industrial Emission

Industrial activity releases several pollutants into the air that affect air quality more than we can imagine. Particulate matter 2.5 and 10, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are important pollutants that come from industries that use coal and wood as the primary energy source for the manufacture of their goods.

The health effects of industrial pollution can range from irritation to the eyes and throat to difficulty breathing, and sometimes even leading to chronic illness.

3. Indoor Air Pollution

The use of toxic products also known as volatile organic compounds (VOC), inadequate ventilation, uneven temperature, and humidity can lead to indoor air pollution, whether you are in the office, school, or your comfortable home.

Air pollution in the home can be caused by ignorant factors, such as: B. by smoking tobacco in a room or by untreated, mold-infected walls. Using wood stoves or space heaters can increase humidity, which can have a direct impact on a person’s health in no time.

4. Wildfires

Climate change not only increases the devastating fire, it also increases air pollution. Burning stubble and agricultural debris is also an important contributor to wildfire. It causes increased PM 2.5 in the air that collides with other harmful substances like chemical gas and pollen, creating smog. Smog makes the air cloudy and people have difficulty breathing.

5. Microbial Decaying Process

The manufacturing, chemical and textile industries emit large numbers of carbon monoxides, hydrocarbons, chemicals and organic compounds that contaminate our environment. Bacteria and fungi play a fundamental role in the biogeochemical cycles in nature.

They are the key indicators of abnormal environmental conditions. The decomposition of these microorganisms present in the environment releases highly toxic methane gas. Inhaling toxic gases such as methane can result in death.

6. Transportation

It cannot be denied that vehicle pollution is the main contributor to air pollution, especially in urban cities. When the car burns gasoline, it emits pollutants into the air that are just as harmful as smoking 10 cigarettes a day.

Your vehicle emits carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates. When vehicle pollution is high in the atmosphere, a hole is created in the ozone layer, which contributes to smog and causes various health problems.

7. Open Burning of Garbage Waste

Open burning of garbage is far more harmful to your health and the environment than you might think. Air pollution in Delhi is stifling public health, according to Engage EPW. Delhi generates a whopping 9,500 tons of waste every day, making it India’s second landfill.

Open incineration of garbage can pose serious health risks, including cancer, liver problems, impaired immune system, and reproductive functions. can also affect the developing nervous system.

8. Construction and Demolition

While the Clean Air Act was moving, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) registered the highest number of air pollution complaints in the Delhi NCR due to construction and demolition work.

With the city’s population growth, construction and demolition are part of the state capital’s constantly evolving development phase. Multiple construction sites and raw materials such as brick and concrete create haze and nasty air that are especially dangerous to people, children and elderly citizens.

9. Agricultural Activities

Agricultural activities have a serious impact on declining air quality. First of all, pesticides and fertilizers are the main sources of ambient air contamination. Nowadays, pesticides and fertilizers are mixed with new invasive species that are not found in nature in order to achieve rapid growth of plants and vegetation.

Once sprayed, the smell and effects of the pesticides remain in the air. Some mix with water and some seep into the soil, which not only destroys crops but also causes numerous health problems.

10. Use of chemical and synthetic products

When we talk about air pollution, we always consider outdoor air pollution to be life-threatening, but we never talk about indoor air pollution. Household products cause indoor air pollution that is ten times more harmful than outdoor air pollution.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) in paints, cleaning products, and personal care products such as perfumes and deodorants are a common cause of health problems.

Effects of Air pollution

Long-term health effects from air pollution include heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema. Air pollution can also cause long-term damage to people’s nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs. Some scientists suspect air pollutants cause birth defects.

1. Global Warming

Global warming is probably one of the most worrying effects for scientists and environmentalists. This is a direct consequence of the greenhouse effect caused by high levels of CO2 and methane being emitted into the atmosphere. Most of these emissions are generated by industry, so this can be addressed through social responsibility and action by companies and factories.

2. Climate Change

Climate change is another consequence of global warming. As the temperature of the planet rises, the usual climatic cycles are disrupted, apparently accelerating the changes in those cycles. Due to climate change, the mass of the poles is melting, causing flooding and sea-level rise.

3. Acid Rain

The gases emitted by industry, power plants, boilers, heating and transportation are very toxic. These gases include sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.

When these substances accumulate in the atmosphere and react with water, they form dilute solutions of nitric and sulfuric acids, and when these concentrations turn to rain, both the environment and surfaces suffer.

Check out our article: What is Acid Rain?

4. Smog effect

The smog or beret effect occurs when a kind of dark fog is concentrated over the cities and fields. This fog is a pollutant load and can be of two types: sulphurous smog and photochemical smog, both dangerous and unhealthy.

Both types of smog are a result of industrial and urban action. However, sulfurous smog mainly originates from the use of coal in many industrial processes. This has been reduced in the most advanced countries – yet there are still many developing countries that do not have treatment protocols for pollutants.

Check out our article: What is Smog?

5. Deterioration of fields

Acid rain, climate change, and smog damage the earth’s surface. Contaminated water and gases seep into the earth and change the composition of the soil. This has a direct impact on agriculture, the change in harvest cycles, and the composition of the foods we all eat.

6. Extinction of animal species

As the ice sheets of the poles melt and sea levels rise, many animal species are threatened whose survival depends on oceans and rivers. Currents change, ocean temperatures change, and migration cycles change, and many animals are forced to forage in unfamiliar environments.

Deforestation and poor soil quality also mean the disappearance of ecosystems and habitats. And definitely an imbalance in the behavior of many wild species.

Check out our article: What is Deforestation?

7. Respiratory health problems

It is probably one of the most obvious and worrying effects to humans. Pollutants can cause respiratory illnesses and allergies ranging from coughs to asthma, cancer, or emphysema.

Inhaling toxic substances directly affects the lungs and other organs that make up the airways. Poor oxygen supply can also lead to cardiovascular problems.

8. Deterioration in building materials

Air pollutants also deteriorate and change the nature of building materials, so that many buildings and infrastructures are weakened, eroded or destroyed more quickly over time.

9. Chemical Sensitivity

People develop intolerance and allergies to many active substances in the atmosphere and to other external active substances that can occur due to the holes in the ozone layer. This is because there is a high concentration of chlorofluorocarbons that alter the thickness of the ozone layer.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are released with aerosols, industrial refrigerants, solvents and other very harmful chemicals.

10. Skin Damage

Many of the chemical intolerances directly affect people’s skin. However, one of the worst damages is skin cancer. This disease arises in many cases from the direct incidence of ultraviolet light rays on the skin.

The ozone layer acts as a filter for these rays. When the ozone layer is thinner, the filter becomes less effective and allows rays to pass through which are very harmful to humans.

Solution of air pollution

There are ways to prevent, control and eventually reduce air pollution:

  • Renewable fuel and clean energy production. The most basic solution for air pollution is to move away from fossil fuels, replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind, and geothermal.
  • Energy conservation and efficiency. Producing clean energy is crucial. But equally important is to reduce our consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using more efficient devices.
  • Eco-friendly transportation. Shifting to electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles, and promoting shared mobility (i.e carpooling, and public transports) could reduce air pollution.
  • Green building. From planning to demolition, the green building aims to create environmentally responsible and resource-efficient structures to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
  • Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
  • Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

Actions You Can Take to Reduce Air Pollution

Follow these Tips Every Day to Reduce Pollution:

  • Conserve energy – at home, at work, everywhere.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying a home or office equipment.
  • Carpool, use public transportation, bike, or walk whenever possible.
  • Follow gasoline refueling instructions for efficient vapor recovery, being careful not to spill fuel, and always tighten your gas cap securely.
  • Consider purchasing portable gasoline containers labeled “spill-proof,” where available.
  • Keep car, boat, and other engines properly tuned.
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible.
  • Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste.
  • Consider using gas logs instead of wood.

On Days when High Ozone Levels are Expected, take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:

  • Choose a cleaner commute – share a ride to work or use public transportation.
  • Combine errands and reduce trips. Walk to errands when possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling of your automobile.
  • Refuel your car in the evening when it’s cooler.
  • Conserve electricity and set air conditioners no lower than 78 degrees.
  • Defer lawn and gardening chores that use gasoline-powered equipment, or wait until evening.

On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:

  • Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
  • Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
  • Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

FAQs.

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. Car emissions, chemicals from factories, dust, pollen, and mold spores may be suspended as particles. Ozone, a gas, is a major part of air pollution in cities. When ozone forms air pollution, it’s also called smog. Some air pollutants are poisonous.

What are the causes of air pollution?

Air pollution is caused by solid and liquid particles and certain gases that are suspended in the air. These particles and gases can come from car and truck exhaust, factories, dust, pollen, mold spores, volcanoes and wildfires.

What is prevention of air pollution?

On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:
1. Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
2. Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
3. Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
4. Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

What is Solution of air pollution?

The most basic solution for air pollution is to move away from fossil fuels, replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind and geothermal. Producing clean energy is crucial. But equally important is to reduce our consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using more efficient devices.

How to reduce air pollution?

Ways to Reduce Air Pollution:
1. Riding a bike or walking instead of driving.
2. Taking a bus or carpooling.
3. Buying a car that has greater fuel efficiency.
4. Turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
5. Using energy efficient light bulbs and appliances.
6. Buying fewer things that are manufactured using fossil fuels.

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