university of technology sydney

Air Pollution


Pollution is a very common term today. It is a major problem and is talked about by all the stakeholders. The international bodies together with nongovernmental organizations are actively involved in educating people about pollution, its effects and ways of curbing pollution. Air pollution is in simple terms contaminating the air. This is by adding compositions to the air that make it difficult for plants, animals and human beings to survive. Air pollution may be physical, biological or chemical. In the case of physical air pollution, it will be easy for you to see. You may not however be able to see all the pollutants, but most of the physical air pollutants can be seen. The most common air pollutants are dust, smoke and gases. These three may combine to form a blanket layer in the atmosphere. This leads the latest global concern of global warming. It leads to a slow but steady increase in temperature because of the blanket. The other primary concern is the destruction of the ozone layer. This is contributed by the gases that react with ozone and leading to the creation of holes in the ozone. Human and volcanic activities are the primary activities that lead to air pollution.

Causes of Air Pollution

Burning of fossil fuels is one the leading cause of air pollution. Burning coal and petroleum releases sulfur dioxide. Lack of proper combustion of these fuels releases carbon monoxide which is a very poisonous gas. Agricultural activities also contribute a significant percentage to air pollution. The use of pesticides, fertilizers and insecticides pollutes the air. During mining, a lot of dust is released into the atmosphere. Families living close to mining quarries suffer from respiratory diseases because of the dust from the quarries. At times, chemicals are used so as to make accessible the mining process. This leads to air pollution. Factories also emit a lot of gases into the atmosphere. All the above are as a result of human activities. Some natural occurring things like volcanoes also release a lot of smoke and dust to the environment.

Effects of Air Pollution

Health problems are the first major effect of air pollution. There is a significant risk from respiratory diseases and heart conditions due to air pollution. Children that live in much-polluted areas may suffer from asthma and pneumonia. There is also the effect of global warming that leads to increasing in temperatures around the world. This leads to rising in water levels because the ice in cold areas is melting. There is the issue of acid rain. As rain falls, water combines with sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere and forms acid.