In this changing scenario of urbanization and technological advancement, different types of pollution have come into the picture. One of these is air pollution. Air pollution refers to the diffusion of dust, chemicals, car emissions, harmful gases, pollen grains in the air. Tropospheric Ozone is also one of the major causes of air pollution. When this gas mixes with the air, it leads to smog.
Smog has become a major concern in most urban cities all over the world. It is defined as the mixing of liquid and smoke particles with fog. The main causes of smog are car emissions, burning of fossil fuels and climate change.
What is Smog?
Smog refers to the mixture of solid and liquid fog with smoke particles. Smog is usually blackish or yellowish. It is freely suspended in the atmosphere or gives an appearance of a ceiling in the air. Due to urbanization, smog has taken over most of the urban areas across the globe. It is one of the major constituents of air pollution. This condition takes place when fumes, car emissions and harmful gases like Nitrogen and Sulphur oxides react with each other in the presence of sunlight. The result is ground level Ozone.
The gaseous emissions from cars and other vehicles are the main causes of smog. These elements react with the ultraviolet light of the sun and form harmful organic compounds and particulate matter that suspend in the air. The densely populated urban areas have more ideal conditions for developing smog due to excessive traffic, huge industries and the burning of fossil fuels.
Causes of Smog
The main causes of smog are mentioned below:
- Burning of fossil fuels: Whenever coal is used as a fuel for burning or powering factories, it releases high concentrations of harmful gases like Sulphur oxide in the atmosphere in the form of smoke. When this smoke gets mixed with suspended particulate matter in the air, it generates smog.
- Vehicular Emissions: The emission from cars, buses, motorbikes and trucks contribute greatly to smog formation. The majority of smog formed in the urban areas is due to traffic emissions.
- Industrial Emissions: Most industries use a large number of fossil fuels for their day-to-day operations. Hence, they emit harmful gases into the atmosphere which leads to smog.
- Overpopulation: The rapid growth of the world population leads to excessive consumption of resources causing more emissions into the atmosphere. This contributes to the formation of smog.
- Fireworks: Fireworks lead to the suspension of harmful gases into the environment. For instance, fireworks that are common on Diwali and new year’s eve often produce a thick layer of smog in the atmosphere.
- Natural causes: Smog can also form as a result of natural calamities like volcanic eruptions that release a high concentration of sulphur dioxide and other particulate matter in the environment.
Effects of smog
There are many terrible effects that smog has on humans, plants and animals. The four effects of smog are mentioned below:
On human health
Smog can lead to various health complications like allergies, sinuses, asthma, emphysema, lung infections, and even cancer. The major effects of smog on human health are:
- Increase in allergies, coughing, and severe irritation of eyes, nose, and throat.
- Increase in the chance of developing birth defects.
- Exaggerated effects on asthma patients.
- Increase in breathing problems and lung infections.
- Deaths are due to lung cancer.
- Increase risk of developing rickets.
Smog can also cause severe damage to plant life. It inhibits plant life and shortens its life span. It also causes stunted growth and degrades the quality of crops. This affects the yield of the crops, degrades their ability to fight various infections and weakens them. This makes the plants highly vulnerable to diseases, thus, shortening their life span. With more smog in the environment, the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface is comparatively lower. This means that plants have less sunlight for photosynthesis. This stunts their growth. The environmental impact of smog can be fatal.
Smog can interfere with the natural habitat of animals making it difficult for them to survive extreme weather conditions. Due to this, the death rate of animals may increase. They fall prey to various diseases which may lead to the extinction of species.
On the environment
The environmental impact of smog is no less. Smog can cause severe damage to the environment in the form of acid rain. Acid rain is caused when sulphur dioxide particles suspended in the air due to air pollution mingle with the water droplets.
In this article, we learnt about the various types of air pollution that prevail in the environment. Air pollution is defined as the diffusion of dust, chemicals, car emissions, harmful gases, pollen grains in the air. Ozone is also one of the major causes of air pollution. When this gas mixes with the air in the troposphere, it leads to smog. Smog is an important factor in air pollution. The majority of air pollution involves the formation of smog. Smog refers to the mixture of solid and liquid fog with smoke particles. Smog is usually blackish or yellowish. The various causes of smog include the burning of fossil fuels, industrialization, overpopulation, fireworks, and natural calamities.