The Health Hazards of Air Pollution

The Health Hazards of Air Pollution

Air Pollution – Types, Causes, Effect & Solution


What is Air Pollution?


Air Pollution refers to the contamination of the air with harmful substances which includes the biological molecules, organic and inorganic particles, and hazardous gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Radon, etc.


Types of Air Pollution:

1. Visible Air Pollution

The visible air pollution is when we can see the pollutants in the air with our naked our eyes such as smog. The combination of smoke and fog. The pollutants get trapped in the warm air and cold air which halts the normal atmospheric circulation and causes visible air pollution.

2. InVisible Air Pollution

The invisible air pollution is caused by the pollutants like Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide which are released from vehicles and burning of fossil fuels. This cannot be seen from the naked eyes but can be felt and causes breathing irritation.

The depletion of the ozone layer and global warming is directly related to air pollution.


Types of Pollutants:


There are two types of pollutants which are the main source of air pollution:

1. Primary Air Pollutants (PAPs)

The pollutants directly mixed with the air and cause pollution. The Sulphur Dioxide emitted from the factories and directly mixes with the air. Volatile organic matter, particulate matter, lead, ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc, are the primary pollutants. They had a direct impact on the environment as well as they are the antecedent of secondary pollutants.


2. Secondary Air Pollutants

The pollutants which are being created by the intermingling and reaction of primary pollutants with the atmosphere. The acid rain is the secondary pollutants which form when sulphur oxide or nitrogen dioxide reacts with water. Nitrogen dioxide forms when nitrogen oxides come in contact with air. Smog is one such prominent secondary pollutant which forms when smoke mixes with the fog.


What are the causes of Air Pollution?

1. Combustion of fossil fuels

The sulphur dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuel is one of the major causes of air pollution. The vehicles which run on coal and petroleum emits a large amount of pollution and these gases are becoming a threat to the environment. Carbon monoxide generates from the improper combustion is the major cause of the pollution along with the nitrogen oxide which is being produced from the natural as well as man-made processes.


2. Emission from factories and industries

The manufacturing industries which can be found in every nook and corner of the globe releases a large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air. Petroleum refineries release hydrocarbons which not only causes air pollution but it is also one of the major reasons of land pollution.


3. Agricultural activities

The use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers have increased in the agriculture which causes the release of ammonia in the atmosphere. These are one of the hazardous gases which cause air pollution as well as water pollution.


4. Due to household works

The household cleaning products and paints emit the suspended particulate matter which is famously known by the name of the SPM is another cause of air pollution. SPM is usually caused by dust, combustion, etc.


What are the effects of Air Pollution?


Air pollution affects badly on human health even the healthy person feels problem while breathing in the polluted air. It is the foremost reason for several lung problems such as pulmonary diseases, lung cancer, and emphysema. The air pollution triggers the cases of bronchial asthma and worsens the previously existing respiratory illness.

Air pollution is one of the major causes of death and disease in the modern time. As the world is moving towards the modernisation, the more of our dependence on the vehicles, industries, and many more things cause air pollution. The vehicles emit harmful gases such as Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Oxide which we breathe and moving towards various diseases. The disastrous effects of air pollution are:

1. Respiratory and heart problem

It is estimated that 4.5 million premature deaths globally are due to the air pollution which causes heart stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infection. The consequences of air pollution are frightening. Children and old-age people are usually suffering from pneumonia and asthma. Exposure to polluted air can lead to less lung function.


2. Global Warming

With the air pollution, the temperature of the planet is increasing which leads to the melting of the glaciers and it rises the sea level. It results in the loss of habitat and this increase in the temperature is the main reason for global warming.


3. Depletion of Ozone Layer

The ozone layer helps in blocking the sun radiations and protects from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The air pollution causes the depletion of the ozone layer and the major reason is due to the presence of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon in the air. The UV rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere due to the diminution of the ozone layer can cause skin and eye-related problem. It also tends to affect the crops.


4. Eutrophication

The excessive amount of nitrogen present in the pollutant get developed on the sea surface and results in the generation of the algae which adversely affects the flora, fauna, and avifauna.


Solution for Air Pollution:

1. Conserve Energy

A large number of fossil fuels are burnt to meet the need of electricity demands. Don’t waste electricity and use it wisely so the burning of fossil fuel decreases and air pollution reduces.


2. Clean energy resources

The use of solar energy, wind energy, and geothermal energy are high these days. These are the clean energy resources which do not cause pollution. So try to use them.


3. Use energy-efficient devices

Use the devices which consume less electricity such as CFL. It helps in the reduction of the energy demands and the burning of fossil fuels reduces which will help in the drop of the pollution level


4. Use the public mode of transport

By the usage of public transport helps in the reduction of the emission of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.

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