Air pollution and the environment
Air pollution refers to the emission of harmful gases to the environment (Harrison, & Royal Society of Chemistry, 1990). Study shows that in a single day, an average person inhales about 20,000 liters of air which contain some content of poisonous gases to the human body (Gurjar, Molina & Ojha, 2010). This means that every time a person inhales the chance of inhaling toxic gases are relatively high following the high contamination in the environment. The everyday burning of fossils, vehicle exhausts, and industrial emissions are the key sources for air pollution, and environmental degradation (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). The rapid emission of poisonous gases to the atmosphere is a real problem facing the world, and this problem need urgent attention before environmental crises escalate. Air pollution can be into two forms namely the gases, and particle in the atmosphere. The most common scenario of air pollution in the cities is the smog that forms on the cities as a result of industries and vehicle emissions (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). However, this does not mean that all air pollutions are in the form of smoke or visible forms. There are various forms of air pollution and which are invisible and extremely harmful to human, animals, and plant development. Air pollution has been a key area of concern following the global warming, and the escalating form of the ozone layer (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008).
Types of air pollution
Industrial air pollution:
Industrial air pollution results from thermal power plants, chemical factories, and other related industries. Industrial air pollution causes mass production of carbon monoxides in the manufacturing, and processing. Industrial air pollution is the largest contributor of air pollution because thermal power plants and factories release significantly large amount of harmful gases; these gases include sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen among others. The application of green house technology is a driving factor in the air pollution phenomenon. Green house technology involves the emission of carbon, and methane gases which in large quantity are harmful to human beings (Gonzalez, 2005). Green house technology and thermo power plant are increasingly causing atmospheric imbalances. This is in the mass production of gases that do not support human life; these gases cause an adverse effect to the planet, and people. Sulfur dioxide is another common gas residue emitted to the atmosphere from manufacturing, and thermal power plants. The combination of these gases results to ozone deprivation and this expose the universe to harmful (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008).
Accidental air pollution:
This air pollution emanates from accidental forest fires which causes mass carbon emission, and destruction of the environment. For centuries, forest fires have continued to occur now and then, and the burning of the forest alters the energy cycle. This means that once forests burn the carbon level increases. This is because there is more carbon level in the atmosphere, yet there is a reduced plantation that can intake the carbon (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). Accidents from petroleum transport vehicles also falls into the accident air pollution. Industrial leakage and blast cause air pollution and in some case environmental degradation, and various hazards (Harrison, & Royal Society of Chemistry, 1990).
Transport air pollution:
Vehicles are primary contributors of carbon emission in the environment following to the use of petroleum products. Today, the number of vehicles on the roads is increasing, and this means that there will be more carbon emission to the atmosphere. Terrestrial, urban, and other modes of transport use petroleum products as fuel and this result to carbon exhaust to the atmosphere thus; the release of hydro carbonated products (Harrison, & Royal Society of Chemistry, 1990).
Dwelling air pollution:
It is essential to note that although most air pollution emanates from outdoor factors, indoor or dwelling related pollution a common environmental crisis. People use aerosols on a daily basis, and these products contain harmful gases that contribute to air pollution. Waste disposal is arguably a rising crisis because people do not employ effective waste disposal techniques (Gonzalez, 2005). For instance, as technology advance, there are many products that people create such as nuclear power plants and electronics. Research shows that the poor waste disposable from technology causes risk of environmental contamination. The use of waste disposal systems that are not effective may cause air pollution, and hazardous effects to the environment (Gonzalez, 2005). More so, high density of the population is a factor that promotes air pollution. This is following the urban thick population that promotes to dwelling related air pollution (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008).
Effects of air pollution
Health issues: For ages, air pollution has been an area of concern following the numerous adverse effects to people, plants, animals, and the ecosystem. This means that as a person or an animal inhales air, the inhaled air may contain harmful particles and gases. The presence of harmful gases such as nitrogen and carbon monoxides causes health problem to animals and the human population. This means that air pollution can cause short term and long term ailment. Skin irritation is the most common scenario of air pollution to man; a person can experience throat, eyes or nose irritation (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). This results from respiratory infarction as the person inhale harmful gases; pneumonia and bronchitis are the common diseases that results from air pollution. World Health Organization (WHO) statistics shows that approximately 2.4 million people die every year from diseases related to air pollution. Air pollution may also cause mass deaths to animals and infections diseases that people may acquire from eating infectious animal products (Gurjar, Molina & Ojha, 2010).
Ozone depletion: Emission of harmful gases in the atmosphere causes gradual destruction of the ozone layer. This leads to the release of energy rays that do not support animal and plant survival. The gradual degradation of the ozone layer causes an imbalance on the ecosystem, and this influences nature and its content. For instance, the depletion of the ozone layer entails the facilitation of harmful gases to the atmosphere. This is because hydro carbonate products in the atmosphere destroy the ozone layer, and harmful gases and sun rays enters the earth surface. This is evidence in the numerous cases of high radiation effect that cause nature imbalance and in death many species (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008).
Acidic rain: Sulfur and nitrogen gases forms acidic rain that is harmful to plants and animals. The acidic rains cause the withering effect to plants following the chemical effect on the plants. Acid rains cause the greatest environmental crisis because the acidic rains affect the entire ecosystems. Water is a common factor to plants, humans, and animals this means that the acid rains will contaminate the water bodies. The water may cause death to plants, aquatics, and wild animals, as well as, the human population. This is because when sulfur and nitrogen dissolves in water, these gases form acidic rains (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008).
Eutrophication: This is a condition that promotes high concentration of nutrients and stimulates algae bloom. Algae bloom causes oxygen depletion in the water, and the aquatic lives die from lack of oxygen. Algae bloom is a natural process in aging water bodies, but human activities in the air pollution promote the condition for algae to multiply. This is following the air emission nitrogen gases from cars, power plant, and other nitrogen related sources. The nitrogen in the air form nitric rain; the acid rain has compounds that promote nutrient intake. Thus, encouraging algae recreation, and this cause the death of aquatic lives (Harrison, & Royal Society of Chemistry, 1990).
Haze: Power plant, automobile, industrial facilities, and construction activities releases particles which comes into contact with the sunlight and form haze. This means that people cannot see the real texture and color of substances because the haze causing particles influence the visual. Sulfur and nitrogen oxide are key gases that cause the environmental haze and this cause visual challenges in aviation causing numerous crashes (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008).
Vegetation damage: Air pollution damages both small and large plants following the acidic rain effect, as well as, the ozone depletion. The gases emitted to the atmosphere cause agricultural decline this is evident with the current global food shortage. Circumstances that promote agriculture are not present due to the ultraviolent rays, and acidic rains that destroy plantation (Gurjar, Molina & Ojha, 2010).
Global warming: The release of carbon gas to the atmosphere affect the natural balance of the universe atmosphere. Some green house gases in the atmosphere traps the sun energy too close to the earth surface. This is causing drying up of water bodies and alterations of seasons (Gurjar, Molina & Ojha, 2010). Although research shows that green house technology keeps the temperature stable, there is evidence that some of the green house gases are responsible for the gradual heating of the universe (Gonzalez, 2005).
Causes of air pollution
There are various chemicals that contribute to air pollution and these chemicals come from different sources. Carbon monoxides, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxide and other organic compounds have evaporating features and enter into the atmosphere (Gonzalez, 2005). Since theses compounds are active, they fuse with natural energy, and particles to form compounds that are harmful to the environment. Volcanic eruptions also cause air pollution because the ash released cause haze; volcanic ash forms a fog making visibility extremely hard. On the other hand, magna burns forests and vegetation causing forest fires (Harrison, & Royal Society of Chemistry, 1990). Wind erosion is another source of air pollution that cause lighter particles to move from place to place (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). It is essential to note that natural air pollution is not so dominant, and it is human activities that contribute to massive air pollution (Gonzalez, 2005). This means that human beings are the primary cause for air pollution through their daily engagements such as driving, and use or sprays. Another cause of air pollution is the ozone volatile compounds; the depletion of ozone means that harmful gases blocked from reaching the earth surface now enters the earth causing air pollution (Gonzalez, 2005).
Air pollution is an adverse environmental concern that people need to address quickly before the problem escalates further. It is time governments and environmental related organizations establish a way to cut down carbon and other organic emissions that deplete the ozone layer. One possible way that people can avert the air pollution is to employ the input control (Gonzalez, 2005). Input control entails preventing a problem before it occurs. Additionally, this approach urges people to limit the activities that might promote air pollution. Restriction of population growth is a key input control approach to reduce population density. The use of less energy will also ensure there are low indoor and outdoor carbon emissions. Reduction of waste is a key concept that will ensures that compounds that promote algae bloom are not present in the environment (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). People can also improve energy deficiency to quit using woods, and charcoal that promote indoor air pollution; the use of recyclable solutions will ensure energy efficiency. Lastly, the reduced use of automobiles will ensure decline in carbon emission to the atmosphere (Gonzalez, 2005). The other form of air pollution remedy is outdoor control. Outdoor control approach seeks to fix the air pollution problem by cleaning up affected area to eliminate the possible air pollution crisis (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2008). However, despite the effectiveness of outdoor control the approach is expensive thus; governments and other stakeholders do no use this approach.
In conclusion, air pollution is indeed a pressing matter affecting the entire world. This is because what happens in one place affects other regions. Air pollution is the cause of many respiratory infections, and this shows the magnitude of air pollution to human health. Global warming effects signify that the ecosystem is experiencing imbalances, and this is a global security subject; all members involved in environmental preservation should participate and try to reduce their carbon emissions. For instance, it is high time people observe population growth to reduce population density. This is because high population increases is a negative impact to environmental conservation.
Gurjar, B. R., Molina, L. T., & Ojha, C. S. P. (2010). Air pollution: Health and environmental impacts. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Harrison, R. M., & Royal Society of Chemistry (Great Britain). (1990). Pollution: Causes, effects, and control. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.
Raven, P. H., Berg, L. R., & Hassenzahl, D. M. (2008). Environment. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Gonzalez, G. A. (2005). The politics of air pollution: Urban growth, ecological modernization, and symbolic inclusion. Albany: State University of New York Press.