ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Air Pollution

Noise Pollution
Air Pollution
Air pollution can be described as all bad gases in the air that we breathe and that are dangerous for us and can cause health ailments not only to human but also to animal and plants. Some forms of air pollution create global problems, such as upper atmosphere ozone depletion and global warming. Air pollution occurs when the air contains gases, dust, fumes or odour in harmful amounts.
Air Pollution Sources
Fossil Fuels
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Combustion of fossil fuels causes air pollution. The three types of fossil fuels are coal, petroleum and natural gas. Fossil fuels are very essential in daily life. They are used for the production of electricity, for cooking, transportation, in industries and other purposes. The combustion of fossil fuels mainly generates a lot of carbon dioxide and water vapor. The excess level of carbon dioxide is very harmful for the environment and even the excess amount of water vapor leads to the change in atmospheric humidity.
Transport Vehicles
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The transportation vehicles like cars, trucks, bus, air crafts also cause air pollution. The emission of harmful gases from them, like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, lead and other oxides leads to the pollution of air.
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Industries
The emission of gases like sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide from industries and factories also adds to a major cause for air pollution. Carbon monoxide is in a poisonous gas. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides further react with the other gases in the atmosphere which often causes acid rain.
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Harmful Chemicals
Harmful chemicals, dust and controlled burn practices in agriculture and forestry management. Fumes from paint, hair spray, varnish, aerosol sprays and other solvents.
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Waste deposition
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The deposition of waste in landfills generates methane. Methane is not toxic however, it is highly flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air.
Volcanic activity
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A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a pool of molten rock below the surface of the earth. When pressure builds up, eruptions occur. Gases and rock shoot up through the opening and spill over or fill the air with lava fragments. Eruptions can cause lateral blasts, lava flows, hot ash flows, mudslides, avalanches, falling ash and floods.
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Harmful effects
Green house effect and Global warming
Greenhouses are made of glass and are designed to hold heat inside. Our planets atmosphere traps energy just like a greenhouse. Energy from the Sun can enter the Earth&rsquos atmosphere, but not all of it can easily find its way out again. Molecules in our atmosphere called greenhouse gasses absorb the heat.
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Greenhouse gasses include water vapor, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. The greenhouse effect is useful because trapping some energy keeps the temperatures on our planet mild and suitable for living things. Without its atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, the average temperature at the surface of the Earth would be zero degrees Fahrenheit. However, too many greenhouse gases can cause the temperature to increase out of control. This is called global warming.
Acid Rain
Acid rain is the result of industrial pollution, which causes rainwater to carry small quantities of acidic compounds such as sulphuric and nitric acid. Contaminated rainwater can upset the chemical balance rivers and lakes, killing fish and other organisms and also damage plants, trees and buildings. Humans can become seriously ill, and can even die from the effects of acid rain.
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Asthma, along with dry coughs, headaches, and throat irritations can be caused by the sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides from acid rain. Acid rain can be absorbed by both plants (through soil and/or direct contact and animals (from things they eat and/or direct contact. When humans eat these plants or animals, the toxins inside of their meals can affect them. Brain damage, kidney problems, and Alzheimers disease have been linked to people eating toxic animals/plants.
Climate change
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Climate describes the total of all weather occurring over a period of years in a given place. This includes average weather conditions, regular weather sequences (like winter, spring, summer, and fall, and special weather events (like tornadoes and floods. Climate change represents a change in these long-term weather patterns. They can become warmer or colder. Annual amounts of rainfall or snowfall can increase or decrease.
Sea Levels
Higher temperatures will make the water of the seas and oceans expand. Ice melting in the Antarctic and Greenland will flow into the sea. All over the world, sea levels may rise, perhaps by as much as 20 to 40 cm, by the beginning of the next century. Higher sea levels will threaten the low-lying coastal areas of the world. Throughout the world, millions of people and areas of land will be at danger from flooding. Many people will have to leave their homes and large areas of farmland will be ruined because of floods.
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Water
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Everywhere in the world, there is a big demand for water and in many regions, such as the Sahara in Africa there is not enough water for the people. Changes in the weather will bring more rain in some countries, but others will have less rain.
Effect on plants and animals
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As weather and temperature changes, the homes of plants and animals will be affected all over the world. The changes in the weather will affect the types of crops grown in different parts of the world. Some crops, such as wheat and rice grow better in higher temperatures, but other plants, such as maize and sugarcane do not changes in the amount of rainfall will also affect how many plants grow.
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Many animals and plants may not be able to cope with these changes and could die. This could cause the loss of some animal and plant species in certain areas of the world or everywhere on Earth.
What Can You Do?
Use mass transportation or ride a bicycle to go to your school.
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Plant trees. A healthy community has 40% tree coverage on its land.
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Stop dumping rubbish anywhere and everywhere.
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Recycle the things instead of simply throwing them away for example we can reuse glass, metals and plastics. We can cook only what is necessary instead of throwing what we could not eat. Consequently there would be less rubbish dumps and less pollution.
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Grow your own vegetables.
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Use less electricity: Turning off lights when they are not needed and not wasting electricity will reduce the demand for energy. Most energy is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas, which release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Using less energy means less of it needs to be produced. So less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.
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Get active: Talk with your friends, your teachers and your parents on how to reduce air pollution.
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