What Is Air Pollution?
The air we breathe has a very exact chemical composition; 99 percent of it is made up of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour and inert gases. Air pollution occurs when there is the presence in or the introduction into the air, of a substance which has harmful or poisonous effects. Most air pollution comes from energy use and production, gases and chemicals released into the air, and other factors.
A common type of air pollution happens when people release particles into the air from burning fuels using kerosene or coal sources of fuel in cooking. This pollution looks like soot which contains millions of tiny particles, floating in the air.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Air Pollution, which is the world’s largest environmental health risk, causes the death of about 7 million people a year. This accounts for a vast majority of fatalities from cardiovascular diseases: stroke, lung cancer and heart disease. Of these, 3.3 million deaths were linked to indoor air pollution.
1. Climate change: Air pollution doesn’t come only from the obvious human sources, such as cars and factories. Other sources, such as naturally occurring burning forests, also contribute to air pollution, and these factors are also related to climate change.
2. The burning of fossil fuels: These cause the emission of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide
Sulphur dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and other factory combustibles is one the major cause of air pollution. Pollution emitting from vehicles including trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, airplanes cause an immense amount of pollution. We rely on them to fulfil our daily basic needs of transportation. But, their overuse is killing our environment as dangerous gases are polluting the environment.
Carbon Monoxide caused by improper or incomplete combustion and generally emitted from vehicles is another major pollutant along with Nitrogen Oxides that is produced from both natural and man-made processes.
3. Agricultural activities: Use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers in agricultural activities has grown quite a lot. They emit harmful chemicals into the air and can also cause water pollution. Ammonia is a very common by-product from agriculture-related activities and is one of the most hazardous gases in the atmosphere.
4. Exhaust from factories and industries: Manufacturing industries release a large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air thereby depleting the quality of air. Manufacturing industries can be found at every corner of the earth and there is no area that has not been affected by it. Petroleum refineries also release hydrocarbons and various other chemicals that pollute the air and also cause land pollution.
5. Mining operations: Mining is a process wherein minerals below the earth are extracted using large equipment. During the process dust and chemicals are released in the air causing massive air pollution. This is one of the reasons which is responsible for the deteriorating health conditions of workers and nearby residents.
6. Indoor air pollution: Household cleaning products, painting supplies emit toxic chemicals in the air and cause air pollution. Have you ever noticed that once you paint the walls of your house, it creates some sort of smell which makes it literally impossible for you to breathe?
7. Suspended particulate matter popular by its acronym SPM: This refers to the particles afloat in the air, is usually caused by dust, combustion, etc.
Denying the risks from air pollution is dangerous. Air pollution kills. Now is not the time to undermine efforts to clean air – it is time to strengthen them.