Due to urbanisation and industrialisation, the amount of pollution in the environment has increased to a level that can lead to several adverse consequences in the future. You may not take it seriously now but our future generations are going to suffer if we do not do the needful.
Pollution refers to any unwanted change that takes place in the soil, water, air or environment. Many types of pollution are present in the environment. This article discusses air pollution. Air pollution refers to the contamination of air due to the presence of harmful gases and chemicals. The effects of air pollution are almost fatal. This is the reason why specific control measures for air pollution should be taken into consideration. This is the best way to deal with all the problems related to air pollution.
Definition of air pollution
Air pollution refers to contamination of air due to the presence of chemicals, harmful gases, and other hazardous elements. These include methane, ammonia, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and so on. The physical, chemical and biological properties of air are degraded.
There are two types of sources that cause air pollution. These are natural sources and man-made sources. Natural sources of pollutants include natural calamities, like volcanic activities, that release a lot of harmful gases into the environment. On the other hand, man-made sources of pollutants include fossil fuels, vehicles, industries, and other pollutants that are created by humans.
Causes of air pollution
Air pollution can be caused by many different types of pollutants. Let’s discuss them in detail.
Industries have large machinery that requires coal as fuel. The burning of fossil fuels in industrial areas can lead to the emission of many harmful gases into the environment. This mixes with air and causes air pollution.
A forest fire can start accidentally from a cigarette thrown away callously or due to excessive heat from the sun. This can burn the whole area and result in mass production of harmful gases.
Mining activities also make use of many types of huge machinery. They need fuels to go deep into earth and take the minerals out. These machines emit a lot of harmful gases into the environment.
Cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles make use of petrol or diesel for their operation. The combustion of these fuels helps a vehicle move. However, it leaves behind residual carbon monoxide, which is extremely harmful to the environment and humans.
Occasionally, people burst firecrackers to celebrate festivals and special events like Diwali, marriage or New Year’s eve. This can contribute to air pollution.
The agricultural industry also contributes a great deal to air pollution. Various pesticides and insecticides are used by farmers. The chemicals in pesticides and insecticides emit harmful pollutants into the environment. The main component of them is ammonia, which pollutes air excessively.
Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are a major cause of air pollution. These compounds consist of carbon, fluorine, and chlorine. They are used in refrigerators and air conditioners. However, these can release harmful chemicals that go up into the atmosphere and stay there.
Effects of air pollution
The various effects of air pollution that make the control of air pollution necessary are:
When excessive pollutants are present in the air, it mixes with the water vapour in the air to create smog. Smog refers to the mixing of smoke with fog. It is extremely dangerous to human health.
Due to air pollution, it can become excessively difficult for people to breathe properly in urban areas. This is because the harmful pollutants in the environment can impair the functioning of the lungs and result in infections, sinusitis, lung cancer, emphysema, allergies, and so on.
Due to the increase of CFCs in the atmosphere, the ozone layer is getting depleted. As a result, the harmful UV rays of the sun enter Earth’s surface. They can cause skin cancer.
The increase in the level of greenhouse gases in the environment is causing the polar ice caps to melt. It is also increasing the overall temperature of Earth.
Control measures for air pollution
Due to the ever-increasing traffic emissions and industrial emissions, it is important to take necessary measures to tackle air pollution. If the problem of air pollution is not kept under control now, it will be difficult to tackle the situation in the future. The availability of clean air will be limited. That’s why everyone needs to work on the various aspects of pollution prevention. If not, even clean air will not be available for free.
The various measures that you should follow if you want to control air pollution are:
- Use public transport whenever you can. Also, try to carpool. It will not only save a lot of fossil fuels but also reduce the emissions caused by vehicles.
- Opt for a bicycle when you’re taking a short trip so that you do not contribute to the traffic emissions.
- Use filters in your chimney at home and office. This will prevent any harmful gases from leaking into the atmosphere.
- Try using safe paints and varnishes that do not emit any harmful toxins.
- Whenever you buy any electrical appliances, look for the star rating and opt for the highest possible star rating so that more energy is saved.
- Do not burn dry waste like leaves and plastic that can emit very poisonous gases.
- Do not use wood or timber for burning. It can lead to emission of gases that cause air pollution.
- Do not use equipment that runs on gasoline. It can contribute to ozone depletion.
- Avoid excessive use of air conditioners. It can deteriorate the ozone layer.
In this article, we walked you through the definition of pollution and pollutants, and then classified the various types of pollution. Pollution refers to any unwanted change that occurs in the environment. The various types of pollution are air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, and noise pollution. Pollution is caused by pollutants that are harmful substances.
Air pollution refers to the contamination of air due to the presence of chemicals, harmful gases, and dangerous elements. These include methane, ammonia, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and so on. The effects of air pollution on the environment include depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, an increase in CFCs, skin problems, breathing disorders, and so on. It is time we look for fresh control measures for air pollution. We should try everything, from switching to an electric car to using renewable sources of energy.