Air pollution refers to a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. These particles may be suspended due to emissions from automobiles, factory chemicals, dust, pollen, and mould spores. Ozone is a key contributor to urban air pollution. The air pollution that occurs due to ozone is called smog.
Of all the contaminants in the air, some can be very toxic. Inhaling them can increase the risk of health problems. Pollution in the air is dangerous for people with heart or lung problems, the elderly, and children. It is not just a problem that takes place outside our houses. It can also be a problem within buildings, hence affecting our health.
Air Pollution Definition
Air pollution is the contamination of air caused by the presence of compounds in the atmosphere that are hazardous to human and other living beings’ health, as well as to the environment and materials.
Causes of Air Pollution
There are several causes of air pollution. Some of them are as follows:
Fossil Fuels and Their Burning
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gasoline to generate energy for power or transportation is responsible for the majority of air pollution. Carbon monoxide emissions at high levels reflect how much fossil fuel is burned. Other harmful contaminants are also released into the atmosphere as a result of this. Inhaling polluted air caused by the combustion of natural gas and fossil fuels impairs the heart’s capacity to pump enough oxygen, resulting in respiratory disease.
Climate change is causing not only an increase in wildfires but also an increase in air pollution. Wildfire is also fueled by the burning of stubble and farm leftovers. Increased PM2.5 levels in the air combine with other dangerous chemicals such as chemical gas and pollen, resulting in smog. Smog makes the air cloudy, making it difficult for people to breathe.
Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution can be caused by harmful materials, also known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), insufficient ventilation, uneven temperature, and humidity levels, whether you are at work, school, or at home. Household air pollution can occur as a result of careless actions such as smoking tobacco in a room or failing to clean a mould-infested wall. The use of a wood fire or space heater can raise humidity levels, which can have a direct impact on a person’s health in a short period of time.
Vehicle pollution is undeniably the most significant source of air pollution, particularly in urban areas. When an automobile consumes gasoline, contaminants are released into the air that are as dangerous as smoking ten cigarettes per day. Carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter are all released by your vehicle. When car pollution levels are high in the atmosphere, it causes a hole in the ozone layer, resulting in smog and a variety of health problems.
Agriculture has had a significant impact on the deterioration of air quality. To begin with, pesticides and fertilisers are the primary sources of air pollution. Pesticides and fertilisers are now being blended with new invasive species that are not found in nature in order to speed up the growth of crops and plants. The pesticides’ odour and effect are left in the air after they’ve been sprayed. Some combine with water, while others seep into the earth, destroying crops while also causing a slew of health problems.
Effects of Air Pollution
Heart and Respiratory Issues
The consequences of air pollution are serious. They have been linked to a variety of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as cancer. Several million people are thought to have died as a result of air pollution, either directly or indirectly.
Another direct result of global warming is the current changes that the planet is experiencing.
Increased global temperatures, rising sea levels due to melting ice from colder places and icebergs, relocation, and habitat loss have already foreshadowed an oncoming crisis if preservation and normalisation measures are not done quickly.
Impact on Wildlife
Animals, like humans, are subjected to the harmful effects of air pollution. Toxic substances in the air can compel wildlife species to relocate and modify their environment. Toxic contaminants settle on the water’s surface, posing a threat to sea life.
Ozone Layer Depletion
Ozone is found in the stratosphere of the Earth and protects humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The presence of chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere is degrading the ozone layer on Earth.
As the ozone layer thins, damaging rays are emitted back to Earth, potentially causing skin and eye problems. UV rays have the power to harm crops as well.
Problems with Children’s Health
Even before you take your first breath, air pollution is harmful to your health. Premature delivery, autism, asthma, and spectrum disorder in early childhood are all caused by exposure to high amounts of air pollution during pregnancy.
It also has the potential to harm a child’s early brain development and cause pneumonia, which kills almost a million children under the age of five. In regions where air pollution are present, children are more likely to develop short-term respiratory infections and pulmonary illnesses.
Our ears have become accustomed to the term “pollution.” Every day, we hear about different types of pollution and read about them in the news. Air pollution is one of these types, and it refers to the contamination of the air, whether indoors or outside.
Pollution is defined as a physical, biological, or chemical change to the air in the atmosphere. When toxic gases, dust, or smoke enter the atmosphere, the air becomes polluted, making it difficult for plants, animals, and humans to thrive.