What is Pollution
- Pollution is described as “the addition or unnecessary addition of such substances to the physical environment (water, air, etc.). it is categorized into Air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, radioactive pollution, e-waste pollution, solid waste pollution, thermal pollution, and plastic pollution.
- In this topic, we will learn something about air pollution, its causes, major pollutants, its effects, and how to control (techniques for controlling it).
Concept of Pollutant
- Pollutants are substances or causes that have a negative impact on the natural nature of some part of the environment of the biosphere.
- Popular contaminants include smoke from industry and vehicles, chemicals from factories, toxic material from nuclear reactors, domestic sewage, and discarded household items.
- Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to the environment and affects everyone: people, animals, crops, cities, forests, aquatic ecosystems.
- Air pollution is being compounded by four major man-made factors which are; increased traffic in the cities, fast economic growth, and industrialization on the other hand it is aggravated by some natural factors such as volcanic eruption, forest fire, etc.
- Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to human health and other factors that damage the weather and objects.
- There are several types of air pollution, including gas (ammonia, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.), granular material (organic and inorganic), and biomolecules.
- Air pollution can cause disease, allergies, or even death. It can also damage other organisms, such as animals and food crops, and can also damage the natural environment (climate change, ozone depletion, habitat pollution, etc.) and the built environment (acidic water, etc.).
- Air pollution is a serious threat to many pollution-related diseases, including respiratory disease, heart disease, COPD, stroke, and lung cancer.
- The health effects of poor air quality are very important, but they also affect the respiratory system and the heart system.
- Personal reactions to air pollution depend on the type of contaminant being exposed to, the degree of exposure, and the individual’s health status and genetics.
- Indoor air pollution and urban air pollution are listed as two of the world’s deadliest pollution problems in the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World’s Damaged Report.
- Outdoor air pollution alone kills 2.1 to 4.21 million people each year.
- Air pollution can be caused by human activity as well as natural processes.
- Air pollution can be defined as a change in air quality that can be characterized by measurements of chemical, biological or physical pollutants in the air.
- Therefore, air pollution means the unwanted presence of impurities or the abnormal increase in the proportion of some constituents of the atmosphere.
- It can be classified into 2 sections: visible and invisible air pollution.
Local– this concerns the quality of ambient air within a radius of a few Kilometers
Regional– pollution like acid rain, photochemical reactions, and degradation of water quality at distances of a few kilometers to a thousand kilometers
Global– depletion of the ozone layer and global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2)
Major Air Pollutants
Major air pollutants are the particles in the existing biosphere which directly or indirectly affect the overall environment of the particular region at the level of micro, meso, and macro. Major air pollutants are given below by their properties;
Co (Carbon Monoxide),
- It is the colorless odorless atmospheric gas
- Produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels such as diesel, wood, and petrol.
Co2 (Carbon Dioxide),
- Main greenhouse gas is emitted as a result of anthropogenic activates for example coal burning, oil, and the use of natural gases.
- The main source of this harmful gas is air-conditioning and refrigeration system.
- Cause of reduction of the ozone layer which protects our planet from the harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun.
- It can be used in gasoline, ethanol, lead batteries, paints, and hair dye goods.
- Lead particularly affects children
- Cause of nervous system damage, in some cases it can be found a main reason of cancer.
- Naturally occurs in the Atmosphere
- Most important gas to protect the earth from ultraviolet rays which come from the Sun
- Ozone on the ground is one of the main Air Pollutants.
- Considered as highly toxic effects on the Overall Environment.
- Cause of acid rain and smog in the Urban Cities
SPM (Suspended Particulate Matter),
- It is made up of solids in the air such as smoke, ashes, and vapor.
- It reduces the visibility
- When we breathe in these smaller particles, they will get lodged in our lungs which causes lung damage and respiratory problems.
So2 (Sulphur Dioxide),
- The main source of this gas in thermal power plants
- Industries like paper, metals are the main producer of So2 gas
- One of the main causes of smog and acid rain and also responsible for lung diseases.
Effect of Air pollution
It is impossible to quantify the extent of the damage and the actual damage caused by all types of air pollution. But here are the main outcomes:
On the Environment
Air pollution has a great influence on the process of plant growth by inhibiting photosynthesis in many cases with serious consequences on the purification of the air we breathe. It also contributes to the formation of acid rain, atmospheric speed in the form of rain, frost, snow, or fog, which is released during the combustion of fossil fuels and is changed by exposure to water vapor in the atmosphere.
In addition, air pollution contributes the most to global warming and climate change. In fact, the abundance of carbon dioxide in the air is one of the causes of the greenhouse effect. Typically, the presence of greenhouse gases should be beneficial to the planet because they absorb infrared radiation produced by the earth’s surface. But the excessive concentration of these gases in the atmosphere is the cause of recent climate change.
On Human Health
Continuous exposure to air pollutants is responsible for the deterioration of human health. Air pollution is a really important risk factor for human health, causing allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as lung damage. Studies have shown that the incidence of asthma and COPD from airway obstruction affects traffic. In addition, air pollution is associated with increased hospital mortality and mortality from asthma and COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes diseases such as bronchitis and chronic emphysema. Air pollution conditions are associated with preterm birth and preterm birth. 2014 WHO global survey of parental health found a significant correlation between low birth weight (LBW) and high levels of PM2.5. Women in the region with a high PM2.5 ratio have a higher risk of miscarriage resulting in lower birth rates despite changes for community-related changes. The effect is thought to be triggered by inflammatory inflammation and increased oxidative stress.
Air pollution costs the global economy $ 5 trillion a year as a result of inefficiencies and declining lives, according to a joint statement by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The loss of life is the result of air pollution. One in ten people died in 2013 from airborne diseases and this worsening problem. This problem is even more prevalent in developing countries. “Children under the age of 5 in low-income countries are more than 60 times more likely to die from air pollution than children in high-income countries.”
The statement said that other economic expenditures from air pollution, including health costs and adverse effects on agriculture and other products, were not included in the report, so the global economic cost is estimated to be higher than $ 5 trillion.
Major Control Measures for Air Pollution
Air pollution prevention There are ways to prevent, control and eventually reduce air pollution:
- Renewable Fuel and Clean Energy Production-
The most basic solution for air pollution is to move away from fossil fuels, replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind, and geothermal.
- Energy Conservation and Efficiency- Producing clean energy is crucial. But equally important is to reduce our consumption of energy by adopting responsible habits and using more efficient devices.
- Eco-Friendly Transportation- Shifting to electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles, and promoting shared mobility (i.e carpooling, and public transports) could reduce air pollution.
- Green Building- From planning to demolition, the green building aims to create environmentally responsible and resource-efficient structures to reduce its carbon footprint.
- modification in the industrial process control or destroying the thermal pollutants.
- convert toxins into less harmful.
- proper monitoring of Air pollution especially in megacities in developing countries like India and China.
- Public Awareness Programs.
- Reduce the dependency on carbon-based fuels.
- Control vehicles exhaust.
- Use lead-free Fuel.
- Promote public transport 13. use modern technologies like remote sensing and gis science for proper monitoring and mapping the air pollution and for preparing the master plan to reduce it.