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Air Pollution

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What is Air Pollution?


Air pollution is the presence of a substances into the air which harms the environment or create a poisonous effects. Our Earth is surrounded by a blanket of air made up of various layers of gases called the atmosphere and when gases and dust particles are introduced into the air and air becomes dirty.


Any additional gas, particles or odors that are introduced into the air (either by nature or human activity) to distort this natural balance and cause harm to living things can be called air pollution.


There are basically two type of pollutants:-

1. Primary pollutants

2. Secondary pollutants


Primary pollutants: primary pollutants are those pollutants which are inserted into the air to make it unclean. They include carbon monoxide from automobiles and sulfur dioxide from the combustion of coals.


Secondary Pollutants: Secondary pollutants are the pollutants which mix with chemical reactions and inserted into the air and they form dangerous chemicals and harms the environment.


What causes air pollution?


Air pollution can result from both human and natural actions. Natural events that pollute the air include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds and natural radioactivity. Pollution from natural occurrences is not very often.


Air pollution is caused mainly by Transportation, fuel combustion in stationary sources, burning of fossil fuels like coal, wood, dry grass, and construction activity. Motor vehicles produce high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Hydrocarbons (HC) and Nitrogen Oxides (NO). Construction activities, bad roads and burning of fossil fuels are responsible for Dust (particulate matter) Pollution. Residential and Commercial activities also contribute to Air Pollution.

Human activities that result in air pollution include:


1. Emissions from industries and manufacturing activities:




Waste incinerators, manufacturing industries and power plants emit high levels of carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air. This happens almost everywhere that people live. Petroleum refineries also release lots of hydrocarbons into the air.


2. Burning Fossil Fuels


Cars and heavy duty trucks, trains, shipping vessels and airplanes all burn lots of fossil fuels to work. Emissions from automobile engines contain both primary and secondary pollutants. This is a major cause of pollution and one that is very difficult to manage. This is because humans rely heavily on vehicles and engines for transporting people, good and services.



3. Household and Farming Chemicals


Crop dusting, fumigating homes, household cleaning products or painting supplies, over the counter insect/pest killers, fertilizer dust emit harmful chemicals into the air and cause pollution. In many cases, when we use these chemicals at home or offices with no or little ventilation, we may fall ill if we breathe them.




What are the effects of air pollution?


1. Respiratory and heart problems: The effects of Air pollution are very dangerous. They are known to create several respiratory and heart related problems  along with Cancer,  among other threats to the body. Many human beings are  died due to direct or indirect effects of Air pollution. Children in areas exposed to air pollutants are said to commonly suffer from pneumonia and asthma.


2. Global warming: Another direct effect on our environment due to Global warming. With increased temperatures world wide, increase in sea levels and melting of ice from colder regions and icebergs.


3. Acid Rain: Harmful gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are released into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels. When it rains, the water droplets combines with these air pollutants, becomes acidic and then falls on the ground in the form of acid rain. Acid rain can cause great damage to human, animals and crops.


4. Eutrophication: Eutrophication is a condition where high amount of nitrogen present in some pollutants gets developed on sea’s surface and turns itself into algae and and adversely affect fish, plants and animal species. The green colored algae that is present on lakes and ponds is due to presence of this chemical only.


5. Effect on Wildlife: Just like humans, animals also face some devastating affects of air pollution. Toxic chemicals present in the air can force wildlife species to move to new place and change their habitat. The toxic pollutants deposit over the surface of the water and can also affect sea animals.


6. Depletion of Ozone layer: Ozone exists in earth’s stratosphere and is responsible for protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Earth’s ozone layer is depleting due to the presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. As ozone layer will go thin, it will emit harmful rays back on earth and can cause skin and eye related problems. UV rays also have the capability to affect crops.


Air pollution prevention, monitoring and solution.


1. Encourage your family to use the bus, train or bike when commuting. If we all do this, there will be fewer cars on the road and less fumes produced.


2.Use energy (light, water, boiler, kettle and fire woods) wisely. This is because lots of fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity, and so if we can cut down the use, we will also cut down the amount of pollution we create.


3.Recycle and re-use things. This will minimize the dependence of producing new things. Remember manufacturing industries create a lot of pollution, so if we can re-use things like shopping plastic bags, clothing, paper and bottles, it can help.

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