What is Air Pollution?
This sentence has been used as a warning for all, “Air Pollution: A Major Threat to Earth’s Inhabitants”. But what is it? Presence of substances hazardous for human health or living things or climate is known to be Air Pollution.These substance often include toxic chemicals such as Sulfur dioxide and such other chemicals which are major pollutants.
Deaths caused by Air Pollution per year:
According to a survey,in 2017 average deaths due to air pollution in India amounted to be 1241 thousands. Which was more than those in the previous year which were 1223 thousands.
Another survey found that in Russia from 1990 to 2017 peak amounts of death due to air pollution were recorded in the year 2005 which were 150600. After 2005, gradual decrease in deaths due to air pollution was observed. In 2017 deaths due to air pollution were 100000 for the very first time.
Causes of Air Pollution:
1-Smoke from vehicles:
Millions of vehicles are moving all around the world emitting smoke in air. The smoke emitted from vehicles contain a very dangerous chemical carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide if inhaled by a human being, directly causes harmful effects on lungs. If inhaled in excess amount, ultimately leads to the death of the inhaler.
Some of the household activities also play apart in air pollution. For example bleach without proper ventilation can pollute the air inside the house. It may be harmful for the house members. Similarly smoke of cigarettes and cigar contains thousands of harmful chemicals. They pollute the indoor environment which may cause several harmful diseases to the residents. So we can not neglect this factor while talking about air pollution.
In this modern era, industrialization is rapidly increasing as per demands of the products. These industries emit a large quantity of smoke in the air on daily basis contaminating the environment. Smoke of industries is full of hazardous chemicals which may cause deadly diseases.
4-Pesticides and Fertilizers:
Pesticides and fertilizers sprayed over the vegetable fields have direct impact on the health of the consumers. Moreover, production and synthesis of these fertilizers and pesticides itself is a major cause of air pollution. By products like ammonia produced during the synthesis of these products are quite harmful for the environment.
Power plants often burn fossil fuels for the production of energy. Burning of fossil fuels produces sulfur dioxide which is a major air pollutant. It reacts with the water vapors in the atmosphere and forms sulfuric acid. Causing acid rain which is very dangerous for the environment.
Cutting of the trees of forests for commercial purposes like furniture making and such kinds of other human needs is termed as deforestation. Plants produce oxygen which is a guarantee to hygienic environment and has several other benefits. As a result of deforestation, less oxygen in environment causes harmful effects on human health.
Effects of Air Pollution:
Air pollution has effects on the human health, animals as well as on climate of the Earth. Here are some major effects of air pollution.
1-Ozone Layer Depletion:
Ozone layer is a protective layer around the Earth. It protects the Earth from harmful radiations of sun. It works as a filter by allowing the passage of only those rays which are not harmful. Air pollutants react with this layer causing its depletion. As a result harmful radiations of sun affect the human life badly by causing several diseases like skin cancer, eye diseases and so on.
As a result of ozone layer depletion, temperature of the Earth is rising gradually resulting in global warming, melting of ice caps and glaciers. Floods result from this melting of glaciers affecting human drastically.
Toxic chemicals of air pollutants cause diseases e.g irritation of lungs, nose, throat and eyes. These chemicals radically affect the working of lungs resulting in asthma and even emphysema. Similarly these chemicals affect the blood vessels supplying blood to heart causing cardiovascular diseases and even cause heart attack.
Air pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide after reacting with water, produce sulfuric acid and nitric acid respectively. Production of these acids is actually the cause of acid rain. Acid rain is dangerous for plants and marine life as well.
Acid rain which results from air pollution causes endangerment of animals, marine life and fishes. Chemicals of acid rain falling on water are lethal for the the animals in water.
How to Prevent and Minimize Air Pollution?
There are several ways we can adopt to reduce the air pollution some of which are mentioned below:
1-Less Industrialization near human population:
If we try to reduce industrialization it can be helpful in reducing air pollution. If we construct industries far from human population or cities, it can be helpful in reduction of diseases caused by air pollution.
Plants play a vital role in keeping the environment clean and pollution free. So we can overcome the menace of air pollution by planting more and more plants. In this way forestation helps in reducing the air pollution on one hand and avoiding global warming on the other.
3-Restricted use of automobiles:
We can reduce air pollution by restricting the use of automobiles. In this way less smoke will be emitted in the environment resulting in less air pollution. Similarly by using environment friendly fuel instead of fossil fuel can also be helpful in reduction of air pollution.
4-Energy Conservation can also help:
We can overcome the issue of air pollution by saving energy for example ,by turning off all devices when not in use. Use of energy consuming devices only at the time of need can help reducing the smoke emission from power plants.
5-Substitutes of Power plants:
Instead of using power plants, if we rely on some renewable energy such as include solar panels,windmills and geothermal plants. It can be greatly helpful in air pollution reduction.
6-Recycling of used material:
Burning of garbage and trash contributes in air pollution through heavy smoke emission. So if we recycle the used or trash material instead of dumping it on the ground, it may be helpful in reduction of pollution in environment.
Air Pollution: a major threat to Earth’s inhabitants. If not tackled properly, it may lead to huge destruction in the form of wastage of millions of human lives in the future. We can avoid by taking precautionary measures mentioned above. As we know that “A stitch in time saves nine.”