Nowadays, problems on the environment arise mainly on air pollution. Contamination of the air by harmful materials causes air pollution. Over the years worsening of air pollution is caused by rapid industrialization and modernization. Industries and vehicles emit a great deal of pollutants in the air causing health problems and other environmental problems such as global warming and deterioration of the ozone layer.
Sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons are the primary air pollutants found in most urban areas. These pollutants are dispersed throughout the atmospheres in concentrations high enough to gradually cause serious health and environmental problems. Sources of air pollution are mainly from transportation and fuel burning from industrialized factories such as commercial and residential power plants (Socha, 2007).
Not all air pollution is within our control. Dessert storms and forest smokes due to grass fire adds up to the chemical and particle pollutions in the atmosphere. The source of the pollution maybe in one country but the effect can be dispersed somewhere else. Pesticides that were discovered and used in Antarctica proposed that since pollution involves the air around us, the polluted can be dispersed from one place to another. A volcanic eruption causes natural air pollution, its toxic smoke and ashes add up to climate changes we experience. The world is more and more polluted nowadays and increasing air pollutions contributes more to deterioration of our environment where we are the ones suffering the consequences of our action (Socha, 2007).
This research paper will analyze the effects of major air pollutants to our environment and how harmful it is. It will focus on the components of air pollution and its effect towards our environment especially toward the destruction of our atmosphere. It will also study ways in minimizing and preventing air pollution, how are we to contribute for the betterment of our world.
Data Analysis and Discussion
One of the major gas emitted in the air is Carbon Dioxide. CO2 is the main gas emitted from fuel combustion, use of coal and other natural gasses which contributes to the greenhouse effect. The concentration of CO2 in the air has increased over the years. Research showed that about 65% of industrialized countries contribute to CO2 emission with 50% of which is accounted to countries like United States and Soviet Union. According to studies with 80% of the population in less developed country, 35% of CO2 is given off by these countries, but about 50% increase of these may contribute in the years to come. Carbon dioxide produces a greenhouse effect that helps avoid extreme cold at night. With an increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, this effect is reinforced and as a result causes global warming. Thus, currently 57% of CO2 emission contributes to global warming.
When carbon based fuels like woods and petroleum gases are burned it produces a gas known as Carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. It can be a product of burning of natural and synthetic materials as seen in cigarettes. It is responsible for lowering the amount of oxygen that goes to our blood. Once inhaled in the body, too much of this causes lethargy and delayed reflexes. CO in the body can lead to toxicity, which although is rare can lead to death.
Our refrigerator and air-conditioning contributes to air pollution. It is responsible for producing a gas called Chlorofluorocarbons or CFC as known to many. CFC rises to the atmosphere when released in the air, thus when in contact with other gases causes a reduction of our ozone layer. With this at place the earth losses its protection from ultraviolet rays causing harm to us. An accumulated UV ray of the sun contributes to global warming and other climate changes.
Our atmosphere naturally contains an ozone layer. This is an important gas as it helps protect the earth from harmful UV rays. However, when this gas reaches the ground level it can pollute the earth surface and cause highly toxic effects. Ground level ozone emission are mainly caused by vehicles and other industrialized factors. This contributes to global warming which reduces our resentence to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.
Nitrogen oxide is another natural gas in the atmosphere. It is an important factor in forming acid precipitation (acid rain) and ozone layer. Burning fuels such as coal, diesel and petroleum produces Nitrogen oxide. Too much of which can be harmful not only in the environment but also to children as this can make them vulnerable to respiratory diseases.
Another air pollutant is from suspended particulate matter. This consists of solids found in the air in the form of smokes, dust and even vapor. These particles can be in the air for a long period of time causing smog. These fine particles when inhaled can stay inside the lungs and cause damage and respiratory problems.
Another component of air pollution is Sulfur dioxide (SO2). SO2 is a gas produced mainly from power plants using thermal and coal as their energy source. It is also produced in industrialized process through the production of paper and smelting of metals .It is one of the leading causes of lung disease. These gases and particles that makes up air pollution are harmful not only to our health but to our environment as well.
Researchers confirm that an average person inhales about 20, 000 liters of air. Every time we breathe, we inhale dangerous chemicals that put us to great risk. Air pollutions include all contaminants found in the air that can be harmful to us. These harmful materials in the air can be in the form of gas or particles. There are indoors and outdoor pollution. Trapped contaminants that have accumulated in the building for a long period of time cause indoor pollution. The sources of air pollution can be natural or man made. Most of the polluted air nowadays resulted from pollution that we humans make. As a result the amount of air pollution has increased over time. Even in the ancient times people complained of polluted air. It has been one of the many challenges faced in our history.
There are far too many different harmful effects gained from air contamination. Consequences of which accounts peoples health and it severely affects the natural resources of our environment. Air pollution is a global problem as it is dispersed in our atmosphere, thus many areas suffers because of this. Places with large numbers of vehicles and industrialized factories are affected the most with the problem of air pollution causing constraints in the environment such as increased global warming and deterioration of the ozone layer.
We can help reduce this global air pollution and other climate change by taking frequent walks instead of driving a car when it is necessary. We can recycle and plant more trees. We can help by saving energy and supporting stricter clean air way policies. We can help reduce air pollution by avoiding plastic products and those that contain CFC.
Earth is our home and nobody wants to suffer the consequences of neglecting to care for our home. That is why today let us act to make it a cleaner, healthier and safer place to live.
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Socha, T. (2007). Air Pollution Causes and Effects. Retrieved May 10, 2008, from http://healthandenergy.com/air_pollution_causes.htm
Think Quest (1999). Air Pollution. Retrieved May 10, 2008, from http://library.thinkquest.org/26026/Environmental_Problems/air_pollution.html