Air pollution is the contamination of the air that we breathe. When impure and harmful substances are released in the atmospheric air, the air becomes unhealthy .
Air becomes impure and unhealthy when it contains pollutants. Air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur, CFCs, smog, etc., get mixed with the air. Polluted air is unhealthy and causes severe ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, and stress.
1. Rapid pace of Motorization: Motors and vehicles runs on energy. For producing the energy, motor vehicles rely on oils such as petroleum. These vehicles emit massive quantity of toxic gases carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, greenhouse gases and particulate matters. All these gases causes the air to pollute.
2. Large scale factories: The demand for factory made goods have increased manifold times during the last century. The energy needs for running these factories primarily comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, and natural gases. They release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide besides metal particles.
3. Using woods as cooking fuel: In underdeveloped countries, particularly in rural areas, wood is used as fuel for cooking food. Smoke comes out of burning wood and get mixed with the air. These smoke contains particulate matters and poisonous gases such as hydrocarbons, benzene, and formaldehyde. The unburned portion of wood contains carbon monoxide.
4. Urbanization: The world is moving from villages to urban cities. Since, these large cities are densely populated, there is a constant surge in demand for industrial products. Many of the urban cities and industrial areas are not far away from each other. The quality of air near industries is low.
5. Ultra mega thermal power plants: The ultra mega thermal power plants generally burns coal or natural gases. The emit massive amount of greenhouse gases and pollutes the air.
6. Agricultural pesticides: The spraying of agricultural pesticides causes air pollution. The agricultural chemicals and pesticides gets settled on the ground. These pesticides then evaporates and mixes with air. This air gets contaminated. Such polluted air is not good for human and animal health.
7. Metal processing: Metal processing involves various processes such as smelting, casting, hammering, cutting, rubbing, etc. Tiny metal particles mixes with the air and makes it unhealthy.
8. Natural causes: Natural causes for air pollution includes wind erosion, volcanic eruptions, natural reactions, evaporation of natural chemicals, etc.
1. Health Problems: Air pollution causes respiratory, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, cardio-vascular diseases, hypertension, and other health problems. Black carbon, a form of pure carbon, produced due to the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels is among the most fatal air pollutants.
2. Modern smog: The two common forms of fog includes sulfuric smog and photo-chemical smog.
- Sulfuric smog: The particulate matter in the air combines with sulfur oxides and causes sulfurous fog. This mainly happens during foggy climate in industrial regions.
- Photo-chemical fog: The combustion engine of motor vehicles produces nitrogen oxides. The photo-chemical reaction between nitrogen oxide gas, hydrocarbons, and sunlight produces ozone – a toxic gas. The smog is called photo-chemical smog.
Besides health issues, these smogs form thick layers like clouds and cloudy reduces the visibility.
3. Global warming and climate change: The air pollutants such as greenhouse gases traps the solar heat. And, as a result, the earth becomes warmer – a phenomenon is called global warming. The surge in earth’s temperature disrupts the climatic patterns.
4. Acidification of agricultural land: Polluted air contains many toxic chemicals. These chemicals often mixes with clouds and fall on agricultural lands as acid rains. The soil becomes acidic and the fertility decreases. Further, when air pollutants react with each other and produces ozone near the ground level, the air quality is deteriorated.
Also read: 10 Ways to Reduce and Control Air Pollution