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Air pollution

Air pollution

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Published by: khadijah_assabirah on Feb 02, 2011
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Air pollution
Definition Of Air Pollution
Air pollution occurs when the air contains gases, dust, fumes or odour in harmfulamounts. That is, amounts which could be harmful to the health or comfort of humansand animals or which could cause damage to plants and materials.The substances thatcause air pollution are called pollutants. Pollutants that are pumped into our atmosphere and directly pollute the air are called primary pollutants. Primary pollutantexamples include carbon monoxide from car exhausts and sulfur dioxide from thecombustion of coal.Further pollution can arise if primary pollutants in the atmosphereundergo chemical reactions. The resulting compounds are called secondary pollutants.Photochemical smog is an example of this.
Historical Explanation
In the days before the proliferation of large cities and industry, nature's own systemskept the air fairly clean. Wind mixed and dispersed the gases, rain washed the dust andother easily dissolved substances to the ground and plants absorbed carbon dioxide andreplaced it with oxygen.With increasing urbanisation and industrialisation, humansstarted to release more wastes into the atmosphere than nature could cope with.Since then, more pollution has been added to the air by industrial, commercial anddomestic sources. As these sources are usually found in major cities, the gases that are produced are usually concentrated in the air around them. The adverse effects of air  pollution were graphically illustrated in London in 1952 when, in just a few days, anestimated 4000 people died from effects of fine particle pollution.It is when theseconcentrated gases exceed safe limits that we have a pollution problem. Nature can nolonger manage air pollution without our help.
More About Pollutants
Air pollutants mainly occur as a result of gaseous discharges from industry and motor vehicles. There are also natural sources such as wind-blown dust and smoke fromfires.Some forms of air pollution create global problems, such as upper atmosphereozone depletion and global warming. These problems are very complex, and requireinternational cooperative efforts to find solutions.
Air pollution is something that we cannot really ignore now-a-days. This is evident fromthe moment we step out of our house and are greeted with black colored smog that hits usdirectly reminding us that breathing clean air is more of a distant dream. It is so easy for us to endlessly rant and rave about the causes of air pollution and its ill effects, but littledo we realize that each person is responsible for all the causes of air pollution and thesituation that we face today. Take a look around you at the dismal state of affairs. Thethick smog that is seen in the morning hours is not really due to somebody else but rather due to each and every one of us. Here is a look at the causes of air pollution and how itcan affect us if the matter is not taken care of at this stage itself.
Causes of Air Pollution:
Carbon dioxide is one the main pollutants that causes air pollution. This is because,although living beings do exhale carbon dioxide, this gas is harmful when emitted fromother sources, which are caused due to human activity. An additional release of carbondioxide happens due to various such activities. Carbon dioxide gas is used in variousindustries such as the oil industry and the chemical industry. The manufacturing processof most products would require the use of this gas. There are various human activitiesthat add to the increased proportions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thecombustion of fossil fuels and the harmful effects of deforestation have all contributedtowards the same. show that amongst the various gasses emitted during a volcaniceruption, carbon dioxide remains to be at least 40% of the emission. Scientists have nowtherefore identified carbon dioxide as one of those elements that have contributed toglobal warming.Causes of air pollution are not limited to this. The combustion of fuels in automobiles, jet planes etc all cause the release of several primary pollutants into the air. The burning of fossil fuels in big cities which is seen at most factories, offices and even a large number of homes, it is no wonder that air pollution is increasing at an alarming rate. The releaseof other harmful gases all adds to the state that we see today. Although carbon dioxide plays an important role in various other processes like photosynthesis, breathing anexcess of the same also causes harmful effects towards one’s health.The various causes of air pollution that releases harmful gases into the atmosphere arecaused due to the increasing number of power plants and manufacturing units or industries that mostly have activities related to the burning of fuels. Besides, asmentioned earlier, most automobiles, marine vessels, activities that involve the burning of wood, fumes that are released from aerosol sprays, military activities that involve the useof nuclear weapons, all are the numerous causes of air pollution.
Carbon monoxide is another such gas which, although was present in the atmosphereearlier, is now considered to be a major pollutant. An excess of the same has a harmfuleffect on our system. There are many reasons why carbon monoxide can be released intothe atmosphere as a result of human activities. This is also produced due to any fuel burning appliance and appliances such as gas water heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves, gasstoves, gas dryers, yard equipments as well as automobiles, which add to the increased proportion of this gas into the atmosphere.Sulfur dioxide is yet another harmful pollutant that causes air pollution. Sulfur dioxide isemitted largely to the excessive burning of fossil fuels, petroleum refineries, chemicaland coal burning power plants etc. Nitrogen dioxide when combined with sulfur dioxidecan even cause a harmful reaction in the atmosphere that can cause acid rain. Nitrogen dioxide is one more gas that is emitted into the atmosphere as a result of varioushuman activities. An excess of nitrogen dioxide mainly happens due to most power plantsseen in major cities, the burning of fuels due to various motor vehicles and other suchsources, whether industrial or commercial that cause the increase in the levels of nitrogendioxide.These and a number of other hazardous air pollutants are emitted with the variousnumbers of activities that we carry out during the day which are the main causes of air  pollution.
How you can help to prevent Air Pollution:
Carpool- This will help to reduce the number of vehicles on the already congestedroads.
Always keep your car tuned properly so that it remains in a good condition.
Save energy- Try to use minimum amounts of natural gas and even electricity.Whenever possible, avoid the use of air conditioner and use a fan instead.
Always buy recycled products.
Reuse things such as paper and plastic bags, paper etc. This will contribute a lottowards reducing the effects of air pollution and global warming.
Avoid the use of firecrackers. You don’t really need it to express your feeling of happiness.
Go in for water-based paints instead of varnishes.
If you really cannot avoid using your car, plan your work systematically to reduceair pollution.The causes of air pollution can be many to name if one really scrutinizes this subjectclosely. With a little effort from our side, we can help to reduce the harmful effects of air  pollution so that we can breathe in a clean and healthy environment

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