Effect of air pollution on environmentThe increase in the concentration of Carbon Dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases like methane, nitrogen oxide, chlorofluorocarbons and water vapour are responsible for increasing temperature on the earth. These gases trap the earth's heat and cause Global Warming, which will have different effects on the environment.
Causes of air pollutionThe main causes of air pollution are as follows:
(a) Exhaust from Automobiles: Most of the automobiles use fossil fuels. Burning of fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas even at low concentrations.
(b) Exhaust from Factories and Power Plants: Coal is the main fuel being used in factories. Burning of coal produces carbon dioxide and oxides of sulphur. Oxides of sulphur and nitrogen form acid rain when they mix with rainwater. Acid rain is harmful for living beings and also for buildings and monuments.
(c) Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): These are compounds of carbon and halogens and are used as refrigerant. These are also used in pressurized cans. Excess level of CFCs in the atmosphere damages the ozone layer. Ozone layer works like a shield and prevents the harmful ultraviolet radiations from reaching up to the living beings. Any damage in the ozone layer can be very harmful.
(d) Suspended Particulate Matters (SPMs): Some fine particles remain suspended in the air. These are called suspended particulate matters. Stone quarries and various other factories contribute to SPMs.
Effect of air pollution on human healthThe effects of air pollution are:
(i) Irritation in the eyes, nose and throat
(ii) Respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
(iii) Chronic respiratory disease
(iv) Lung cancer, etc.
Air pollutantsA contaminant that affects human life, plant life, animal life and property or a contaminant which interferes with the enjoyment of life and property could be termed as an air pollutant.
Effects of air pollutionRespiratory and heart problems, global warming, acid rain and depletion of ozone layer.
Natural sources of air pollutionNatural sources of sulphur dioxide include release from volcanoes, biological decay and forest fires. Natural sources of nitrogen oxides include volcanoes, oceans, biological decay and lightning strikes. Ozone is a secondary photochemical pollutant formed near ground level as a result of chemical reactions taking place in sunlight.
Man-made sources of air pollutionMan is responsible for most of the world's air pollution, both indoors and outdoors. Everything from smoking a cigarette to burning fossil fuels tarnishes the air we breathe and potentially causes health problems as minor as a headache to as harmful as respiratory, lung and heart disease.
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