Air pollution refers to any physical, chemical or biological change in the air. It is the contamination of air by harmful gases, dust and smoke which affects the plants, animals, and humans drastically. There is a certain percentage of gases present in the atmosphere which lead to pollution. An increase or decrease in the composition of these gases is harmful for survival. This imbalance in the gaseous composition has resulted in an increase in earth’s temperature which is known as global warming. Air pollution takes place when a large quantity of dust, soot, and other harmful gases get into the air and is considered the most harmful form of pollution. There are four principal sources of air pollution. The first cause is mobile sources such as cars, buses, trucks, and trains. Secondly, the stationary sources such as power plants, oil refineries, industrial facilities, and factories. Third are area sources such as cities, agricultural areas, and wood burning fireplaces. The last main causes of air pollution are the natural sources such as wind-blown dust, forest fires, and volcanoes.
The hazardous effects of air pollution on the environment include: Diseases, global warming, acid rain, ozone layer depletion and animal plant effect. Air pollution has resulted in several respiratory disorders and heart diseases among humans. The cases of lung cancer have increased in the last few decades. Children living near polluted areas are more prone to pneumonia and asthma. Many people die every year due to the direct or indirect effects of air pollution.
Due to the emission of greenhouse gases, there is an imbalance in the gaseous composition of the air. This has led to an increase in the temperature of the earth. This increase in earth’s temperature is known as global warming. This has resulted in the melting of glaciers and an increase in sea levels. Many areas are submerged under water. The burning of fossil fuels releases harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides in the air. The water droplets combine with these pollutants, become acidic, and fall as acid rain which damages human, animal and plant life.
The air pollutants suspend on the water bodies and affect the aquatic life. Pollution also compels the animals to leave their habitat and shift to a new place. This renders them stray and has also led to the extinction of a large number of animals species. The release of chlorofluorocarbons, halons, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere is the major cause of depletion of ozone layer. The depleting ozone layer does not prevent the harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the sun and causes skin diseases and eye problems among individuals. On an individual level, we can reduce our contribution to the pollution problem by carpooling or using public transportation. Additionally, buying energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances or otherwise reducing our electricity use will reduce the pollutants released in the production of electricity, which creates the majority of air pollution. These effects of air pollutants on human health and their mechanism of action are briefly discussed.