Nowadays, air pollution is one of the biggest threats for the environment and affects everyone. Air pollution makes negative impacts on humans in the form of allergies, diseases or even death. It also adversely affects plants, animals, and the entire ecosystem.
What do you know about air pollution?
Many people have heard about various forms of pollution and read many articles through the mass media. But, air pollution is a form that refers to air pollution, regardless of internal and external. A chemical or biological alteration to the air in the atmosphere can be named as pollution. It happens when harmful things enter into the atmosphere and make difficulties for planets, animals and humans.
There are many reasons for air pollution that may be visible air pollution or invisible. Some types of air pollution are listed below:
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Carbon dioxide
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Sulfur oxides
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen oxides
- Toxic metals
- Radioactive material
The Cause for Air Pollution
Animals produce methane in their digestion process. Methane emission causes air pollution and contributes to the global warming issue. While a large part of methane emissions can be attributed to livestock from livestock farming, some of it also occurs from wild animals that emit methane in their daily habit.
Wildfires sometimes occur in areas with a dry climate. They are often caused by human behavior such as cigarette misalignment. There are some instances where wildfires are also started intentionally.
For example, it is very common for farmers in the Amazon Rainforest to burn huge areas of forest to get more space for farming. Wildfires can cause carbon monoxide and smoke. Large concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems and even death.
Aircraft is a major cause of air pollution. Airplanes emit nitrogen-dioxide and carbon dioxide, which in turn contribute to global warming. Especially in the last decades, the number of aircraft has increased significantly and many people are traveling to foreign countries for business purposes and so on. So, the amount of global aircraft and therefore the level of air pollution from aircraft has increased substantially in the last decades.
The use of all types of vehicles is another great cause of air pollution. Emissions from cars and other vehicles increase the level of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thus accelerating the global warming process. In our culture, it is quite common that almost every one of us owns at least one car. So, the emissions from cars and other vehicles increase at a steady rate, which leads to an increase in air pollution and contributes to the global warming problem.
Waste deposition in landfills
Waste accumulation in landfills produces methane that has a much greater global warming potential than CO2 and is therefore characterized as one of the most harmful greenhouse gases. However, the amount of total methane emitted in our atmosphere is relatively less than the amount of CO2. Thus, CO2 is still the most harmful greenhouse gas in absolute terms.
The combustion of fossil fuels is a major source of air pollution. Fossil fuels are used in energy production, and vehicles such as cars, ships, trains, and aircraft are dependent on fossil fuels.
Burning fossil fuels creates a hugely adverse effect on air pollution. When fossil fuels are burned, they release nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and contribute to the atmosphere, which in turn leads to acid rain, smoking, etc.
Industries and power plants produce large amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and various chemicals. Since the industrial revolution period, air pollution from industries has become a serious issue. The increase in production leads to an increase in air pollution and generally to all other types of pollution.
The Effects of Air Pollution
Air pollution can cause lung disease, cardiovascular disease and many more. Particularly people who are exposed to dust or other harmful substances in the air are at higher risk of getting infected with lung disease. Exposure to polluted air also increases the chances of lung cancer.
The consequences of global warming are catastrophic and one of the causes of global warming is air pollution. Global warming adversely affects all organisms. It contributes to the melting of ice among others and thus to rising sea levels and rising temperatures.
Depletion of the ozone layer
Through air pollution, the ozone layer is eventually reduced which can lead to skin cancer or eye-related problems. Through industrial processes or the emission of harmful gases from vehicles, bromine and chlorine-related substances are emitted into the air. These substances are known to contribute to reducing ozone levels. So, air pollution is a cause of ozone depletion problems.
According to a survey, a team said that the cost of global air pollution is $ 5 trillion annually worldwide. These include loss of productivity and loss of quality of life through polluted air. The problem of air pollution is especially severe in developing countries.
Solutions to the air pollution problem
Reuse and recycle
Instead of throwing away things you no longer use, try looking for another purpose for them. If you’re sure you don’t want to use them anymore, find someone who still wants to use your item. This method can reduce waste and included air pollution problems.
Change in energy consumption behavior
To reduce air pollution problems, it is very important to reduce our energy demand as energy production is a cause of air pollution. It can be done in various forms. For example, people can turn off their lights or other electronic devices when not using them.
Avoid the use of cars
Using public transportation instead of a car can be an effective step to prevent the earth from air pollution. It would be nice to switch to a bicycle. However, in rural areas, switching from cars to public transport is quite impossible because public transport infrastructure can often be quite bad.
However, for people living in good public transport infrastructure, switching from car to public transport should not be a big deal at all.
Use of energy-efficient devices
Switching to more energy-efficient household appliances will further reduce energy use and reduce air pollution. Energy-efficient devices are generally not more expensive than energy-consuming devices. So, almost everyone should be able to afford energy-efficient household devices.
All of the above-mentioned measures can reduce air pollution problems. We can all contribute a small part in reducing energy consumption and thus lower air pollution.
However, not only does our behavior make a difference, we also have to encourage other people that it is worthwhile to reduce their energy demand.
If everyone convinces enough people, every single person can make a significant direct and indirect contribution to reducing the air pollution problem.
Air pollution kills millions of people every year. Children are generally more affected than older ones because their respiratory organs have not yet fully developed. Climate change makes the problem worse. Air pollution can cause various health problems and diseases like cancer. It also contributes to the global warming issue.
To reduce air pollution problems and reduce global inequality, we need to change our daily behavior. This means switching from vehicle use to public transport and saving energy when we don’t have an emergency. We can all contribute our share in low air pollution and raise the awareness of others in this regard. Thus, future air pollution problems can be dramatically reduced.