Environmental effects of air pollution are numerous. When large quantities of air pollutants are transported into the atmosphere, they neutralize the protective ozone layer and reduce the brightness of the earth’s surface. Air pollution has also significantly contributed to global warming. Acid rain is primarily precipitation which contains harmful quantities of nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide.
The main reason why acid rain and global warming occur is because of the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases can react with the natural causes of air pollution such as the emission of carbon dioxide from power plants to the atmosphere. The sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxide released from the atmosphere as a result of burning fossil fuel also form these chemicals.
On top of the two major causes mentioned above, another significant factor that contributes to air pollution is human activity. Human activities are known to alter the atmospheric chemistry of the planet. For instance, the widespread use of agricultural fertilizers and herbicides increase the emissions of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. These chemicals are released into the atmosphere as a byproduct of the digestion of food. Other substances that are released include carbon dioxide and methane. Other human activities that have a direct impact on the quality of the Earth’s atmosphere are global warming and animal grazing.
On top of these environmental factors, human health is also affected. One of the most obvious and common human health effects of air pollution is lung cancer. As air pollution increases, the air quality becomes less healthy for humans. People with a greater risk of developing respiratory diseases are those who are exposed to more pollutants in the air. Those living in areas with high concentration of air pollution are at a higher risk of contracting respiratory illnesses.
Pollution And How It Increases The Risk Of Diseases
Another of the environmental effects of air pollution is acid deposition. Acid deposition is caused by the emissions of sulfur dioxide, which is made by industries. Sulfur dioxide is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. Acid deposition results from the absorption of this gas in the bodies of people and animals. It can result in many health problems, such as: cardiovascular disease, asthma, and headaches.
As mentioned previously, one of the major environmental effects of air pollution is acidification. When too much of it is breathed in, the body becomes prone to having respiratory tract infections. These infections increase in severity and frequency, if there are high levels of airborne particles in the surrounding area.
Yet another of the effects of air pollution is the release of radioactive radiation into the atmosphere. Radioactive particles are released into the air when natural sources of electricity malfunction, such as when power plants release large amounts of carbon dioxide. When these particles collide with the upper atmosphere, they give off radioactivity. The radioactivity increases as the number of collisions increases and eventually reach a level that is harmful to humans.
While most of the major causes of air pollution are due to natural sources, there are some occurrences that are due to man-made activities. For example, factories may release toxic substances into the air during manufacturing. Manufacturers need to take protective measures to prevent this from happening. In addition, many sources of indoor air pollution are the result of the increased use of computers in offices and homes. Manufacturers who produce electronics need to make sure that their devices, like laptops, do not contain any residual pollutants.
The winter smog is also a significant air pollution contributor. When the concentration of these pollutants in the atmosphere increases, it becomes difficult to breathe and it also affects the body’s normal metabolism. This may trigger asthma attacks, lead to serious skin diseases, and increase the risk of gum diseases.