Air pollution is one of the most prominent types of pollution affecting life on earth. The Causes of air pollution include
- Vehicle exhaust
- Industrial exhaust
- Dust pollution
- Agricultural use of pesticides
- Chemical fumes
- By nature.
It is the leading cause of several life-threatening disorders. It causes complications like lung cancer, skin infections, paralysis, brain dysfunction, memory loss, etc.
Besides, in many cases, the pollution effects exaggerate the existing disease conditions.
Diseases like COPD, asthma, tuberculosis, eye problems & other infections, require the patient to stay away from air pollution to regain better health.
As per The World Health Organization reports, approximately 2.7 million people die each year from air pollution.
Air is the natural resource supporting life on Earth. It has a composition of various gasses with nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%) and the remaining by other gasses like Carbon-dioxide (CO2), hydrogen and noble gasses with a ratio of less than 1% for each.
The rise in air pollution can drastically change this gaseous ratio leading to health hazards. The contamination of air with dust particles and other substances further adds to the risk due to air pollution.
Causes of Air Pollution
1. Automobile Pollution (By vehicles)
Automobile pollution is one of the major contributors to air pollution as well as global warming. In times of lockdowns, you might have noticed that air has become more breathable than before. This mainly due to a decrease in the use of automobiles including flights.
Increased automobile use is one of the main Air pollution causes in the modern world. If you have noticed well, you will realize that this pollution has increased drastically in recent decades. This is mainly due to the increase in the use of personal automobiles and giving up public transport.
Automobile with internal combustion engines is the main contributor to air pollution. The exhaust from these vehicles releases carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other harmful gasses due to which the air gets contaminated on a daily basis.
Also, there is an enormous growth in sales of these vehicles worldwide. Hence, there is a chance of a further rise in air pollution due to this. So, relying on hydrogen fuel based on battery-driven or other means of fuel is being pursued by many nations.
Countries like the Netherlands have already passed laws to stop the use of vehicles operating based on petroleum and other fossil fuels.
2. Industrial exhaust
Have you noticed, pungent smell while passing through industries located beside roads?
Many industries are the major contributors to air pollution. These include thermal power plants, chemicals, plants, metallurgical plants involved in extracting and making metals, etc.
These industrial exhausts contain harmful chemicals, dust, soot in their exhaust leading to air pollution. Hence, industrious have to be laid away from the city and also have high chimneys to release the exhaust into the upper layers of air to minimize the impact on humans.
3. Black carbon soot
This is pollution arising due to the burning of wood and other plant material. It is a trend from the past wherein, the farmers burn the remnants of the previous crops. This burning leads to a spread of fine carbon soot into the air.
It is also sometimes released from industrial exhausts. This soot causes irritation to the respiratory system when the contaminated air is breathed. Sometimes, this soot travels from one region to another and causes problems there too.
Since pollution has fine carbon soot particles, it can darken the skies and reduce vision on the roads, especially during winters.
Both of these are sources of outdoor pollution. Staying inside the home can minimize exposure to such pollution.
4. Pollution due to smoking
This may seem weird but smoking causes pollution, and it troubles many around the person smoking cigars, etc. The pollution can be observed mostly in closed environments like in restaurants, buses, etc.
Besides the smoker, the others around are also affected. Since the smoke is consumed in heavy concentrations, there is faster damage to body organs like lungs and throat.
5. Dust pollution
This is another particulate pollution arising due to the release of dust particles into the air. It mostly occurs due to construction work, unclean roads, and also by severe winds carrying upper layers of soil.
Even, the pollen from plants, during pollination is released into the air for cross-fertilization. In such a case, the little pollen acts as pollution causing problems like asthma and respiratory insufficiency.
6. Chemical fume pollution
Chemical pollution results are due to the release of harmful chemical fumes into the air. This is seen in industries and also in science college during practicals. Many times it is unavoidable, but one can take measures to minimize exposure to the people around.
This chemical fumes can also result in acid rains.
Industries are the major contributors of chemical air pollution.
7. Pesticide Pollution
These pesticides are sprayed as fine gas particles that can be easily carried into the air. Also, since the diseases easily spread from one farm to another, there is a large-scale application of these pesticides leading to heavy pesticide pollution, especially during the crop season.
Pesticides are some of the most harmful chemicals and reduction in their use and exploration of alternatives is the best way to minimize this air pollution.
8. Air pollution by nature
This is rare and also not frequent. Air pollution by nature occurs due to the volcanoes from mountains that emit harmful gases into the air for over a prolonged period.
Even the release of toxic gases by nature is common. Methane is one of the harmful gases released by nature from forests, wetlands, oceans, etc. Nature accounts for 36% of methane gas released into the atmosphere.