How Can We Reduce Air Pollution Essay

Insanely Easy Ways to Prevent Air Pollution Everybody Overlooks

Air pollution, responsible for triggering many health problems, is mostly caused due to burning of fossil fuels. The most effective ways to prevent air pollution are minimizing the use of fuels, servicing vehicle regularly, saving energy, using alternative energy, and recycling materials amongst others.
Air pollution is a change in the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of air that causes adverse effects on humans and other organisms. The ultimate result is a significant alteration in the natural environment and/or ecosystem. Substances that are responsible for causing air pollution are called air pollutants. These air pollutants can be either natural (e.g. wildfires) or synthetic (man-made), and are present in the form of gas, liquid, or solid in the atmosphere.
The air pollutants are classified into two categories, viz. primary and secondary. The former refers to air pollutants that are directly emitted from the source, for example - carbon monoxide gas from automobile exhaust. On the other hand, the secondary air pollutants are the result of interaction of primary pollutants, for example - the ground level ozone, which is formed when sunlight hits fuel exhaust in the atmosphere. It is to be noted that some forms of air pollutants are both primary and secondary.
Causes and Effects of Air Pollution
Air pollutants, either present inside the house (indoor pollutants) or outside (outdoor pollutants), are hazardous to humans. The major pollutants are sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matters. Among the different causes of air pollution, burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and gasoline is found to be the main contributing factor. Fossil fuels are used in all major industries, including the automobiles, jet planes, manufacturing industries, power plants, petroleum refineries, etc.
In the United States, automobile exhaust and power plants are responsible for more than 90 percent of the air pollutants. Carbon dioxide gas, which is required by the plants for photosynthesis, is identified as the major cause of global warming. Thus, increased percentage of this greenhouse gas affects our health and the global climate. Nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, when dissolved in water, can cause acid rain, which in turn leads to water pollution and affects the aquatic life.
The effects of air pollution on the human health are many. To mention a few, it triggers respiratory ailments and irritation of eyes and throat. The common symptoms observed after exposure to a high level air pollution are chest tightness, burning eyes, and cough. Those with certain medical conditions like heart disease and asthma are more susceptible to the hazards of air pollution than others. As expected, the effects are more serious in children; prolonged exposure to air pollution can lead to earache, bronchitis, and asthma.
Different Ways To Prevent Air Pollution
The fact is that human activities contribute the most to any type of pollution. Hence, it is our responsibility to find solutions. And considering the harmful effects of air pollution, it is high time that everyone contributes a bit to prevent release of pollutants. There are certain ways that one can follow for reducing emission of air pollutants in the atmosphere. For clear understanding, refer to the following tips for preventing air pollution.
Car Pool: Forming and implementing a car pool will reduce the number of cars, thereby, preventing air pollution by cutting down the use of fossil fuels. This way, it will help in the sustainable use of fossil fuel and its conservation for the future generations.
Vehicle Care: Timely servicing of the car helps to keep it in a good condition, and also minimizes fuel exhaust. Driving the car at an average speed and turning off in traffic are the thumb rules to save fuel. Make sure to use unleaded petrol and opt for regular pollution checking of your car.
Public Transport: Whenever possible, try to travel by public transports. This helps in two ways; prevents air pollution and increases public income. If you are going to a nearby place, go by walking or use a bicycle, instead of using your vehicle. The objective is to minimize the use of fuels as far as possible.
Alternative Energy Source: Another effective way to prevent air pollution is to use alternative energy sources such as solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and wind energy. Nowadays, sophisticated technologies such as wind turbine, solar water heaters are introduced to generate electricity and other energy forms for household uses.
Saving Energy: Saving energy will, of course, help to prevent air pollution. Switch off the lights, fans, air conditioners, televisions, and other appliances, when not in use. You can also share a room with others when the air conditioner or fan is on, instead of switching them on in every room.
Minimize Air Pollutants: Always try to minimize smoke emission, as it contributes a lot to air pollution. One way is to compost dried leaves and kitchen waste, instead of burning them. Composting will also give you organic fertilizer for your garden. Other tips include replacing old wood stoves or gas furnaces, avoiding solvents, and most importantly, do not smoke in the home.
Recyclable Materials: Recycling is a simple approach to reduce pollution in two ways; save energy which is required for disposing and minimize the pollutants released during manufacturing. The list of recyclable materials include plastic bottles, aluminum cans and utensils, paper, craft papers, cardboard, corrugated boxes, and glass bottles.
Smart Purchasing: Remember to carry paper bags and minimize using plastic bags. While buying the products, always choose air-friendly and recyclable products that will minimize the emission of pollutants. Also, shop for only energy-efficient appliances that use less packaging. Lastly, buy rechargeable batteries for frequently used devices.
Social awareness about air pollution is the most essential step to be taken for the prevention of air pollution. Awareness programs and/or advertisements should be encouraged, so that people understand the potential health hazards of pollution. Improvement of transport facilities and proper use of land for the sake of social benefits are equally important for controlling air pollution.

What is Air Pollution?

Pollution is now a common place term, that our ears are attuned to. We hear about the various forms of pollution and read about it through the mass media. Air pollution is one such form that refers to the contamination of the air, irrespective of indoors or outside. A physical, biological or chemical alteration to the air in the atmosphere can be termed as pollution. It occurs when any harmful gases, dust, smoke enters into the atmosphere and makes it difficult for plants, animals and humans to survive as the air becomes dirty.

Air pollution can further be classified into two sections- Visible air pollution and invisible air pollution. Another way of looking at Air pollution could be any substance that holds the potential to hinder the atmosphere or the well being of the living beings surviving in it. The sustainment of all things living is due to a combination of gases that collectively form the atmosphere; the imbalance caused by the increase or decrease of the percentage of these gases can be harmful for survival.

Read here more about 40 facts of air pollution.

The Ozone layer considered crucial for the existence of the ecosystems on the planet is depleting due to increased pollution. Global warming, a direct result of the increased imbalance of gases in the atmosphere has come to be known as the biggest threat and challenge that the contemporary world has to overcome in a bid for survival.

Types of Pollutants

In order to understand the causes of Air pollution, several divisions can be made. Primarily air pollutants can be caused by primary sources or secondary sources. The pollutants that are a direct result of the process can be called primary pollutants. A classic example of a primary pollutant would be the sulfur-dioxide emitted from factories

Secondary pollutants are the ones that are caused by the inter mingling and reactions of primary pollutants. Smog created by the interactions of several primary pollutants is known to be as secondary pollutant.

Causes of Air pollution

1. Burning of Fossil Fuels: Sulfur dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and other factory combustibles is one the major cause of air pollution. Pollution emitting from vehicles including trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, airplanes cause immense amount of pollution. We rely on them to fulfill our daily basic needs of transportation. But, there overuse is killing our environment as dangerous gases are polluting the environment. Carbon Monooxide caused by improper or incomplete combustion and generally emitted from vehicles is another major pollutant along with Nitrogen Oxides, that is produced from both natural and man made processes.

2. Agricultural activities: Ammonia is a very common by product from agriculture related activities and is one of the most hazardous gases in the atmosphere. Use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities has grown quite a lot. They emit harmful chemicals into the air and can also cause water pollution.

3. Exhaust from factories and industries: Manufacturing industries release large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air thereby depleting the quality of air. Manufacturing industries can be found at every corner of the earth and there is no area that has not been affected by it. Petroleum refineries also release hydrocarbons and various other chemicals that pollute the air and also cause land pollution.

4. Mining operations: Mining is a process wherein minerals below the earth are extracted using large equipments. During the process dust and chemicals are released in the air causing massive air pollution. This is one of the reason which is responsible for the deteriorating health conditions of workers and nearby residents.

5. Indoor air pollution: Household cleaning products, painting supplies emit toxic chemicals in the air and cause air pollution. Have you ever noticed that once you paint walls of your house, it creates some sort of smell which makes it literally impossible for you to breathe.

Suspended particulate matter popular by its acronym SPM, is another cause of pollution. Referring to the particles afloat in the air, SPM is usually caused by dust, combustion etc.

Effects of Air pollution

1. Respiratory and heart problems: The effects of Air pollution are alarming. They are known to create several respiratory and heart conditions along with Cancer, among other threats to the body. Several millions are known to have died due to direct or indirect effects of Air pollution. Children in areas exposed to air pollutants are said to commonly suffer from pneumonia and asthma.

2. Global warming: Another direct effect is the immediate alterations that the world is witnessing due to Global warming. With increased temperatures world wide, increase in sea levels and melting of ice from colder regions and icebergs, displacement and loss of habitat have already signaled an impending disaster if actions for preservation and normalization aren’t undertaken soon.

3. Acid Rain: Harmful gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are released into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels. When it rains, the water droplets combines with these air pollutants, becomes acidic and then falls on the ground in the form of acid rain. Acid rain can cause great damage to human, animals and crops.

4. Eutrophication: Eutrophication is a condition where high amount of nitrogen present in some pollutants gets developed on sea’s surface and turns itself into algae and and adversely affect fish, plants and animal species. The green colored algae that is present on lakes and ponds is due to presence of this chemical only.

5. Effect on Wildlife: Just like humans, animals also face some devastating affects of air pollution. Toxic chemicals present in the air can force wildlife species to move to new place and change their habitat. The toxic pollutants deposit over the surface of the water and can also affect sea animals.

6. Depletion of Ozone layer: Ozone exists in earth’s stratosphere and is responsible for protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Earth’s ozone layer is depleting due to the presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. As ozone layer will go thin, it will emit harmful rays back on earth and can cause skin and eye related problems. UV rays also have the capability to affect crops.

When you try to study the sources of Air pollution, you enlist a series of activities and interactions that create these pollutants. There are two types of sources that we will take a look at: Natural sources and Man-made sources.

Natural sources of pollution include dust carried by the wind from locations with very little or no green cover, gases released from the body processes of living beings (Carbon dioxide from humans during respiration, Methane from cattle during digestion, Oxygen from plants during Photosynthesis). Smoke from the combustion of various inflammable objects, volcanic eruptions etc along with the emission of polluted gases also make it to the list of Natural sources of Pollution.

While looking at the man-made contributions towards air pollution, smoke again features as a prominent component. The smoke emitted from various forms of combustion like in bio mass, factories, vehicles, furnaces etc. Waste used to create landfills generate methane, that is harmful in several ways. The reactions of certain gases and chemicals also form harmful fumes that can be dangerous to the well being of living creatures.

Solutions for Air Pollution

1. Use public mode of transportation: Encourage people to use more and more public modes of transportation to reduce pollution. Also, try to make use of car pooling. If you and your colleagues come from the same locality and have same timings you can explore this option to save energy and money.

2. Conserve energy: Switch off fans and lights when you are going out. Large amount of fossil fuels are burnt to produce electricity. You can save the environment from degradation by reducing the amount of fossil fuels to be burned.

3. Understand the concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Do not throw away items that are of no use to you. In-fact reuse them for some other purpose. For e.g. you can use old jars to store cereals or pulses.

4. Emphasis on clean energy resources:Clean energy technologies like solar, wind and geothermal are on high these days. Governments of various countries have been providing grants to consumers who are interested in installing solar panels for their home. This will go a long way to curb air pollution.

5. Use energy efficient devices: CFL lights consume less electricity as against their counterparts. They live longer, consume less electricity, lower electricity bills and also help you to reduce pollution by consuming less energy.

Several attempts are being made world wide on a personal, industrial and governmental levels to curb the intensity at which Air Pollution is rising and regain a balance as far as the proportions of the foundation gases are concerned. This is a direct attempt at slacking Global warming. We are seeing a series of innovations and experiments aimed at alternate and unconventional options to reduce pollutants. Air Pollution is one of the larger mirrors of man’s follies, and a challenge we need to overcome to see a tomorrow.

References:

Environment Effects

Pollution Overview

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Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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