Air pollution is causing irreparable damage to the environment and will eventually lead to destruction of most of the life on earth if nothing is done. The technological advances that have led to a better life for humans have also endangered the survival of all life on earth. Many things that we take for granted contribute to air pollution. If we could all recognize these sources of air pollution we could start to control our usage of these technologies to save the planet and ourselves.
Paint and warmish that we use inside our homes and on our furniture is a source of air pollution. The fumes released by these substances are harmful for humans and can cause many types of diseases such as lung disease, heart disease etc. These fumes also add to the overall air pollution present in the cities and areas of dense population.
Radiation from nuclear sources causes the most dangerous type of air pollution. Release of radioactive material, due to an accident or through improper storage of radioactive waste, results in the dispersant of harmful heavy metals into the air. This radiation leaks into all parts of the atmosphere and is harmful for all life.
Most people only relate smoke to air pollution but as we’ve seen from the above two points, air pollution can be invisible as well. High power lines also cause such invisible air pollution. They ionize the air around the wires and charge it up. When we inhale charged up air, the amount of free radicals in our body increases and it leads to tissue damage, aging and cancer.
Pesticides are used by farmers to increase their yield and protect their crops. But chemical pesticides are very harmful substances that can get dispersed in the air and stored in the soil and water. All these pesticides ultimately find their way to us through the food chain and cause diseases and cancers.
Fertilizer is another source of air pollution in the form the dust that is accumulated by the use of fertilizer and is rich in ammonia and nitrous oxide. These chemicals cause acid rain and global warming when present in the air. They also result in the release of high amounts of methane which is a greenhouse gas and results in global warming.
The activity of mining is synonymous with industrialization and development but mining causes a lot of air pollution. Open air mines release a lot of dust into the air. Other mines use heavy machinery which releases smoke and other chemicals into the air. Gold mines release a lot of harmful mercury into the air which can cause muscle deterioration, respiratory problems, cancer and even death.
Petroleum is the fuel that drives the world today. We depend a lot on petroleum for everything from plastics to clothes to food. Our whole economy is based on petroleum but petroleum is also the biggest source of air pollution. It releases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the air which cause global warming.
Power plants, industries and even some homes use coal or other fossil fuels to generate electricity. This is a very harmful way of generating electricity as it harms the environment in many ways. The smoke created causes air pollution along with the carbon dioxide released which is a greenhouse gas and results in global warming.
The biggest direct source of air pollution is the internal combustion engine. If we trace the history of industrialization, it all started first with the steam engine and then later with the internal combustion engine that is used in all forms of transport today. We can’t imagine our life without cars, trains, buses, planes and ships but the truth is that all this transport is causing a lot of air pollution and leading the world towards an Armageddon.