Air pollution is now a serious problem for those living in big, congested, industrialized cities with heavy vehicular traffic.
Air pollution may be defined as the occurrence of any foreign materials or gases such as oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen in the air beyond prescribed limit, which are harmful for man, vegetation, animals or buildings.
The major gaseous pollutants of air are carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and sulphur, hydrogen sulphide, fumes of acids, paints, smoke etc. Major solid pollutants of air are dust particles, of un-burnt carbon, lead, cement and asbestos.
Causes of air pollution:
The major causes and sources of air pollution are discussed below:
- The major source of air pollution in big cities and industrially advanced countries is the automobiles (cars, motor vehicles).
- The burning of coal or other fossil fuels releases considerable amount of sulfur dioxides into the air. During rain, sulfur dioxide in combination with water and form sulfuric acid which corrodes monuments, green plans etc. The rain is termed as acid rain.
- Bituminous coal used as cooking fuel, charcoal and firewood also causes air pollution by producing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxides, and sulfur dioxides. These gases create a layer over the earth which allows penetration of the sunlight on the earth but hinders radiation from the earth surface and increases hat on the earth surface (Green House effect).
- Certain air pollutants e.g. pollen, spores or cells of fungi and lower plants, volcanic gases and marsh gas are produced naturally.
- Agricultural activities as crop spraying and dusting for pest and weed control are responsible for emitting organic phosphates, arsenic, and lead into the air.
Effects of Air Pollution
- Aggravates respiratory diseases such as asthma.
- Increases the chances of allergies.
- The buildings look dirty.
- Causes various cardiac diseases.
- Hinders the natural process of ecosystem and biodiversity.
Also read: 10 Ways to Reduce and Control Air Pollution