Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air. Substances, including gases, particulates, and biological molecules, which are introduced into the atmosphere, and are detrimental to human health and the environment is considered air pollution.
Air pollutants are substances which can be solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases that have adverse effects on humans and the ecosystem. Pollutants are classified as primary or secondary. The former is usually produced from a process, such as the sulfur dioxide released from factories, or the carbon monoxide gas from the motor vehicles. The latter, on the other hand, are not emitted directly but rather formed when primary pollutants react or interact. Smog is a prominent example of a secondary pollutant.
Prevalent Types of Air Pollution
Smog and soot are the most prevalent types of air pollution. Smog is also known as the ground-level ozone. It is the most familiar and obvious form of air pollution. It occurs when emissions from combustion of fossil fuels react with sunlight. Soot, also known as particulate matter, is made up of tiny particles of chemicals, dust, soil, smoke, or allergens, in the form of gas or solids. Smog and soot both come from power plants, vehicles, factories, or anything that combusts fossil fuels such as coal, gas, or natural gas.
Causes of Air Pollution
Air pollution is usually concentrated in densely populated metropolitan areas. It is more prevalent in developing countries where environmental regulations are relatively lax or nonexistent. Air Pollution can be attributed to both human activity and natural processes. The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline to produce electricity causes the air pollution.
The Carbon dioxide which comes from the combustion of fossil fuels, along with other greenhouse gases like methane chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the main pollutants that are warming the Earth. In addition, Sulfur dioxide which is a component of smog is known to cause acid rain.
CNN news is often breaking stories about air pollution in popular cities, especially in China, when local or international organizations release solutions statistics. You can watch CNN and other top international news shows on Satellite television, make sure that your DSTV Installation Sea Point is up to date in your area.
Effects of Air Pollution
Air pollution is one of the leading causes of global warming. In fact, air pollution does not only contribute to climate change but also exacerbates it. In addition to global warming, another alarming effect of air pollution is the hazard it causes to public health. The effect of air pollution depends on many factors such as the level of pollution and kind of pollutant. Air pollution principally affects the body’s respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. It is considered a significant risk factor for a number of diseases and health conditions including respiratory infections, heart disease, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke and even lung cancer to non-smokers. The health effects caused by air pollution may also include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, allergies, coughing, asthma and may even result in death. Air pollution may also cause harm to other living organisms such as animals and crops.
Studies have shown that air pollution exposure from traffic reduces lung function and development in children. Exposure to emissions of lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, ozone-forming nitrogen dioxides and other pollutants are really detrimental to public health.
What can be done?
Solving the air pollution problem requires joint effort and different effective approaches. Because a large fraction of air pollution is caused by combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, the reduction of these fuels can reduce air pollution drastically. Switching to clean power sources such as wind power, solar power, or hydro-power which does not cause air pollution is also a very sound solution. Developed countries have also created various air pollution control technologies and strategies to reduce air pollution. Some national and state or international policies can also be used to control air pollution. Effective implementation of competent Legislation and regulations will help curb the effects of air pollution on the planet. Individually, we can contribute to reducing the air pollution through recycling, conserving energy, and decreasing our carbon footprint.