Air pollution is of utter concern as with each passing day; our air quality is degrading with the future not looking bright. This dire situation makes it even more important to know about the root causes of pollution. So without further delay, let’s delve into the air pollution and climate change.
What causes air pollution?
- Air pollution mainly occurs due to the accumulation of different kinds of gases and particles in the air, originating from various sources like the burning of fossil fuels, gas emissions from factories and vehicles, and aerosols.
- Aerosols can come directly from different sources or result from the chemical reaction between air and air pollutants.
How are aerosols responsible for pollution?
Aerosols can combine with the ozone layer to produce smog, which is nothing but a mix of smoke and fog and is predominant in different metropolitan cities. Areas in basins and surrounded by mountains can also suffer from smog problems. The Indian city of Delhi, for instance, suffers from smog in the winters. The conditions become so worse that it affects visibility and even cause accidents.
There’re various other pollutants effects as aerosols cause smog and scatter and can even absorb solar radiation. They affect the climate severely as scattering aerosols reflect the sun rays and cause a cooling effect. On the other hand, the absorbing aerosols absorb the rays responsible for warming up the Earth’s surface. Air quality forecasters worldwide use NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites to know about the pollutants and the effects.
A detailed discussion about what air pollution causes:
1. Industrial causes
Emissions from factories release different particulate matter such as nitrous oxide and HFCs(hydrofluorocarbons). These released emissions act as potent greenhouse gases and deplete the ozone layer permitting the harmful UV rays to enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Researchers have concluded that replacing high-GWP HFCs with low-GWP HFCs can help in reducing global warming.
2. Vehicles and Transportation
With the growth of urbanisation and modern needs, the transportation sector has also grown. Nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, sulphur dioxide, and other greenhouse gases are emitted daily by thousands of cars, public transport, and other vehicles, deteriorating the air quality and causing various health hazards.
One of the most ignored causes of air pollution is smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoke comprises almost 40 carcinogens, making it fatal for air pollution and can cause second-hand smoking, which is far more dangerous.
4. Combustion of coal and fossil fuels
All these years, fossil fuels have provided most of the energy for our electricity, vehicles, and all other day-to-day activities. But in doing so, the combustion of these fossils is nothing but products of carbon release a lot of particulate matter and harmful gases, which are directly or indirectly responsible for global warming, air pollution, and several hazardous diseases. Today, the world is slowly striving towards renewable energy sources abundant and doesn’t cause any decay.
Wildfires are happening mainly because of climate change and because of burning farm residue. Whatever be the cause, wildfires release tremendous amounts of brown carbon, carbon oxides, and ozone precursors and are also responsible for smog. In the past few months, California has witnessed many wildfires, which indicates that humans need to control pollution.
Related Article: Air Pollution Effects: An Analytical Study
6. Microbial Decaying
Different kinds of bacteria and fungi play an essential role in maintaining the biogeochemical cycles in nature. Microbial decaying produces a lot of methane, which pollutes the surrounding environment.
7. Open-air combustion of wastes
Densely populated metropolitan cities produce much debris that is often burnt openly without further treatment and deteriorates the surrounding air quality.
8. Construction and Deforestation
Because of the people’s urbanisation and growing needs, more trees get slashed, causing air pollution and affecting the underground water level.
9. Chemical products
We never pay heed to indoor air pollution even though it’s equally important. Different synthetic and chemical products release Volatile Organic Compounds that can cause asthma and other health problems.
10. Agricultural activities
Like the usage of pesticides and insecticides also cause different kinds of pollution.
Also Read: Water Pollution- A Global Catastrophe
What’s the solution?
People need to be aware of what causes air pollution and climate change and do their bit to ensure their safety and families. You can install an air purifier to keep your air clean and wear masks when outside. Try to avoid polluted places, especially if someone is suffering from any respiratory problems.