Pollution is the contamination of the natural environment with substances that make that environment impure and harmful to its inhabitants. These substances can be chemicals or forms of energy such as light, heat, and noise. Thus, pollutants can either be naturally occurring substances or foreign substances. Forms of pollution include water pollution, soil pollution, thermal pollution, and air pollution. This paper is going to focus on the causes and effects of air pollution.
Pure unpolluted air consists of a compound of the gases nitrogen, oxygen, carbon (IV) Oxide, and inert gases each in a percentage that supports existence and survival of living and non-living things. This mixture of gases forms the atmosphere. Air pollution is, therefore, the contamination of the atmosphere with harmful substances such as chemicals or other particles that disrupt the composition of air.
Industrial emissions into the atmosphere. Civilization and urbanization have led to the spread of factories around the globe. These manufacturing plants release large amounts of carbon (II) oxide, hydrocarbons, and organic compounds into the atmosphere. This disrupts the composition of air making it hazardous to living things.
Use of chemicals during agricultural activities. Spraying pesticides and insecticides to plants release ammonia, which is a very harmful gas, into the atmosphere.
Mining releases dust particles and other chemicals into the atmosphere, polluting the air.
Smoke emitted to the atmosphere from burned petroleum in vehicles contains sulfur (IV) oxide which is very harmful. This is also true with all the fossil fuels such as coal and factory combustibles.
Forest fires release harmful substances such as carbon (II) oxide, Nitrogen(II) oxide and Sulphur (IV) Oxide which disrupt the composition of air in the atmosphere making it hazardous to living and non-living things.
The dispersal of pollen grains into the atmosphere makes air impure and hazardous to living things that breath that air.
Breathing in toxic air causes respiratory complications in human beings and animals. Some of these complications can be lethal.
Dust and pores in the atmosphere are hazardous in that they cause allergic reactions and health conditions such as asthma which can be very dangerous.
The accumulation of toxic gases such as Sulphur (IV) Oxide in the atmosphere leads to the formation of acid rain when those gases and rainwater mix and react. Acid rain is corrosive and destroys iron sheets, kills plants when it mixes with the soil, kills water animals when it mixes with seawater and is harmful to human beings when consumed.
Air pollution leads to an increase in the temperature of the atmosphere. This destroys the ozone layer that protects the earth’s surface from the Ultraviolet rays of the sun in an effect called global warming.
Toxic substances found in the air ruins habitats for wild animals forcing them to migrate in search of more conducive environments to inhabit.
As per the World Health Organization in 2014, an estimated seven million people died as a direct or indirect result of air pollution in the year 2012. Air pollution is therefore hazardous and measures should be taken to reduce its causes and tame its effects.
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