Air Pollution: An Invisible Killer

Air Pollution An Invisible Killer
General
January 29, 2023

What is air? Air is what we breathe. It is the reason for the survival of all living beings, the reason for life. Air pollution is the presence of harmful particles in the air. It is a silent but deadly threat. It remains one of the biggest environmental problems today and is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Air pollution is a significant risk and can lead to respiratory illness and other health problems. When gases, particles, or liquids are released into the air, air pollution irritates human health, causes respiratory problems and premature death, and damages the environment. These pollutants come from petrol, diesel, coal, oil, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, etc. One interesting fact about air pollution is that contaminants come from small sources like homes and neighborhoods; things like Lawn movers, vehicles, backyard fires, construction and equipment, and drycleaners are located near to our life and workspace. The emission caused by these widespread small sources is remarkably more significant than that caused by all the industries combined.So, the Air pollution definition states that it is the presence of toxic pollutants in the air; making its quality poor.

Types of air pollution:

We can make several divisions to understand the cause of air pollution. Let's classify it into two sections:

Visible air pollutionis visual like smog.

Invisible air pollutionis negligible to notice with naked eyes but more dangerous than carbon monoxides, sulfur-di-oxide, etc. They can be further classified as primary air pollutants and secondary air pollutants.

Primary air pollutants:The reason behind this pollutant is either primary or secondary sources. Primary pollutants are a direct result of the process. Let's explain some of these:

  • Particulate Matter or PM:These are the most dangerous pollutants. They are composed of a variety of contaminated gases.
  • Carbon-di-oxide:This gas can potentially elevate the environmental temperature, known as Global warming, which is the reason for melting polar icecaps, extreme changes in weather, or rise of sea level. The combustion of coal, gas, and oil is the primary source of it.
  • Carbon-mono-oxide(CO):It is the most dangerous gas, failing many organs if living beings inhale it for a few hours. It is clearly stated in the class 12 physics CO emission is caused by human activities like deforestation, power plants, land clearing, exhaust pipes, etc.
  • Ozone:Ozone word makes us think about the protecting layer that protects us from harmful sun rays. What protects one is stratospheric ozone. On the other hand, Tropospheric ozone is harmful to plants, humans, and animals. When nitrogen oxide and organic compounds come in contact with sunlight, it forms. Smog and less visibility are caused by it.
  • Nitrogen-di-oxide:It produces due to the burning of fossil fuels, gas stoves, cigarettes, etc. It upsets biomass chemistry and soil quality and leads to respiratory problems in humans.
  • Sulfur-di-oxide:When coal, fuel oil, and petroleum coke are burnt, sulfur-di-oxide produces, which causes acidic rainfall.

Secondary air pollutants:When primary pollutant interacts chemically or physically either with themselves or other atmospheric components, they are called secondary pollutants; secondary particulate and photochemical oxidants are significant examples.

  • Photochemical oxidants:When acids, sulfur-di-oxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, or volatile organic compounds react with sunlight, it results. They cause asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema.
  • Secondary Particulate matter:when primary particles chemically react with gases, condensation of gases happens; resulting in secondary PM.

Causes of air pollution:

There are various factors responsible for air pollution. Some of the sources of air pollution are summarized here.

  • Fossil fuel combustion: In power plants or factories, fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are burnt, producing sulfur-di-oxide. The use of vehicles is another primary source of air pollution.
  • Agricultural activities: Insecticides, fertilizers, pesticides, and burning of old crops are the activities that cause it.
  • Waste in landfills: Methane is generated from buried waste and causes air pollution.
  • Exhaust from factories and industries: Many organic compounds, chemicals, and hydrocarbons are released from industries and factories, resulting in the depletion of air quality.
  • Mining operations: Mining is the extraction of minerals below the earth. Dust and chemicals let out during the process cause air pollution.
  • Indoor air pollution: Household cleaning products and painting supplies are the sources of indoor air pollution.
  • Natural events: Some nature-born events like volcanos, dust storms, and forest fires are the causes of air pollution.

Devastating effects of air pollution:

Air pollution is affecting living beings badly. Depletion of the ozone layer, change in place and habitat of wildlife species, Global warming, etc., are caused due to air pollution where the Ozone layer is responsible for balance in the ecosystem. Other effects are:

Respiratory and cardiovascular problems:The increased rate of heart and respiratory system disease is alarming. Asthma, chronic bronchitis, cancer, heart attacks, etc., are the reason for the death of several million people.

  • Health problems in kids:Exposure to polluted air for a pregnant lady is hazardous as it can cause premature birth, autism, and spectrum disorder in the child.
  • Global warming:All class 12 biology students understand environmental changes are visible now. The rise in temperature, sea levels, and loss of habitat are the effects of air pollution.
  • Eutrophication:When a high quantity of nitrogen gets settled on sea surfaces and becomes algae, it affects the animal species, fish, plants, etc., badly.
  • Acid rain:When fossil fuel burns, harmful gases like nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide are released into the atmosphere. During rain, these suspended particles combine with water droplets and become acid, known as acid rain. All these points are covered in the class 11 biology course outline.

Ideas to control the air pollution:

  • Prefer carpool, bus, telecommute, bike, and electric vehicles and minimize the use of cars to reduce air pollution.
  • Check car health regularly. Oxygen sensor problems, tire pressure, and exhaust should be fixed and checked regularly.
  • Just turn off the engine when you are on signal and waiting for the light to be green.
  • Garbage should not burn.
  • Campfires in cities should be stopped for the prevention of air pollution.
  • Plant more and more trees and take care of them to prevent social and living beings from air pollution.
  • To reduce air pollution, you should focus on clean energy sources, i.e., renewable energy sources.
  • It would help if you switched to electric or hand-powered Leaf or snow blowers and lawnmowers instead of gas-powered.
  • Heating systems and appliances should be chosen wisely.
  • Recycled product consumption should be increased to prevent air pollution.
  • The presence of radon should be tested regularly.
  • Indoor humidity should be below.

You should not take air quality lightly. You may disregard your health when you are busy with other vital chores of daily life, but don't ignore the fact that throughout one day, about 10,000 liters of air enter your body to become part of metabolic processes. Some air pollutants are hazardous. Inhaling them may enhance the chances of acquiring health issues. If you want to explore the world of science, we provide Online tutoring services for class 10 science and other classes to save your energy and time by allocating proper mentors to you according to your pace and learning capacity.

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