In the past, the air we inhaled was pure and clean. But as industrialisation grows and the number of harmful chemicals in the atmosphere increases, the air becomes more and more contaminated. These gases are also the root of several respiratory and other illnesses. Additionally, the main contributor to air pollution is the exponentially growing human activity like the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
This blog page will let you know the causes of air pollution and its harmful effects on human beings. Possible ways of reducing air pollution are also given here. Keep reading to know more.
Air Pollution: Causes & Effects
Following are some of the causes of air pollution that students might know:
Aerosols: Aerosols are particulate matter made up of any airborne particle created by chemical processes in the atmosphere. Burning wood, coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels releases a lot of aerosols into the sky. These particles can originate from various places, including factories, wildfires, and automobile exhaust. While some of the particles and gases directly originate from these sources, others develop due to airborne chemical interactions. Aerosols can originate from other sources as well, such as volcanic ash. Other examples of aerosols include dust, plant pollen, and mould spores.
Gases: Some gases in the atmosphere are known to pollute the air. For instance, ozone gas is a significant contributor to air pollution in urban areas. Ozone is another greenhouse gas with potential benefits and drawbacks for the environment. The major six air pollutants are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone, particle pollution (often referred to as particulate matter), and sulfur oxides.
Wildfires: A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire that breaks out in a wilderness setting like a forest, meadow, or prairie. Wildfires can occur anytime, anywhere, and are frequently brought on by human action or a natural occurrence like lightning. It is unknown how wildfires started in 50% of those that have been recorded. Air pollution is rising along with wildfires as a result of climate change. Burning farm waste and stubble also significantly contribute to wildfires. It increases the amount of PM2.5 in the atmosphere, which interacts with other hazardous elements like chemical gas and pollen to create smog. Smog makes the air cloudy, making it difficult for people to breathe.
Effects of Air Pollution
Some of the harmful effects of air pollution are:
Exposure to air pollution is linked to oxidative stress and inflammation in human cells, which may be a precursor to chronic illnesses and cancer. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer designated air pollution as a human carcinogen in 2013.
The study of how air pollution affects health is always evolving. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, obesity, and abnormalities of the reproductive, nervous, and immune systems are currently among the public health concerns.
Living close to busy roads may raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, according to a significant study involving more than 57,000 women.
Other airborne hazardous chemicals, including methylene chloride, which is used in aerosol goods and paint removers, were discovered by the NIEHS Sister Study to be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.
Workplace exposure to the industrial chemical benzene, which is also a component of gasoline, has been linked to non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s and leukaemia.
Lung cancer incidence was found to be associated with the growing reliance on coal for energy generation in a long-term study conducted from 2000 to 2016.
Ways to Minimise Air Pollution
Some of the ways to reduce air pollution are:
Reduction of smoking and forest fires: A significant contributor to air pollution is the collection of trash and setting it on fire during dry seasons or dry leaves starting fires. Smoking also contributes to air pollution, worsens air quality, and harms people’s health.
Use of fan as opposed to air conditioning: The use of air conditioners uses a lot of energy and produces heat that is terrible for the environment. Compared to fans, air conditioners use much more energy and power to operate.
Use chimney filters: The gas that is released from fireplaces in homes and companies causes serious air pollution and hurts the environment.
Avoid utilising chemical-containing goods: Use less or outside the home when using items like paints or perfumes that contain chemicals or have a strong scent. Utilising goods with low chemical content and organic qualities is another option.
Implement planting of trees: Do not forget to cultivate and plant as many trees as possible. The technique of planting trees brings a lot of benefits to the environment and helps with the release of oxygen.
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