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Top Causes of Air Pollution You Need to Take Seriously

If you love walking, running, or just being outside, you likely know one of the best things about it is how much fresh air there is. But what you might not know is how harmful some of the most common causes of air pollution are to our breathing and overall health. If you don’t think it’s an issue that pertains to you, think again!

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The Causes of Air Pollution Are Many

In the developing world air pollution is a major issue. The causes of air pollution are many, and often a combination of several factors. These include a lack of industrial regulation, growing population and financial incentives to produce energy.

Some factors are also human made, while others happen naturally. The most well-known man-made cause is industrial emissions. This includes greenhouse gasses that are released from factories or cars.

Another cause is deforestation. Trees are an important part of the environmental ecosystem because they absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. When trees are cut down for development or firewood, it harms the environment.

Another type of air pollution is smog, which is created by vehicle emissions or burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Smog can also be caused naturally by volcanic activity or forest fires.

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Also, air pollution occurs when gases such as sulphur dioxide or nitrogen oxide combine with atmospheric water vapor. This can create acid rain that pollutes water sources and harms vegetation and wildlife.

Air pollution can have short-term effects on human health as well as long term ones. Including an increased risk for heart disease or stroke due to long exposure over time to polluted air particles such as ozone (O3).

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, air pollution kills more than four million people a year.

Air pollution can cause inflammation of the lung tissue, which reduces the body’s ability to resist infection. It also increases the risk of pneumonia and lung cancer.

Air Pollutants Can Be Both Natural and Man-Made

The presence of one or more air contaminants that may harm the environment, human health, and/or property is referred to as air pollution. There are two kinds of air pollutants: natural and man-made. Both types can be either gaseous or particulate in their nature.

Natural Air Pollutants:

Volcanic eruptions release sulphur dioxide (SO2) and other gases into the atmosphere which causes acid rain.

Dust storms caused by strong winds that pick up sand and dust particles from dry regions is another natural agent of pollution especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

Radioactive substances are naturally present in the environment as they occur in some minerals, rocks, and soil. However, these radioactive substances when released into the atmosphere through volcanic eruptions or nuclear accidents can cause harmful health effects especially to infants, young children, pregnant women, and women during their menopause period.

Man-made air pollutants are those that were introduced into the atmosphere by human activities. Common types of man-made air pollutants include:

  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as benzene and formaldehyde
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Suspended particulate matter (SPM), including fine particles (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM10)

Man-made air pollutants are released into the air by people. They can be small or microscopic in size and can be produced by the burning of coal and oil, road traffic, cigarette smoke, industry, and other activities.

Warming of the Atmosphere Causes More Smog

Smog is a naturally occurring phenomenon which has adverse and detrimental effects on humans’ respiratory system. In fact, smog is one of the visible signs of air pollution where oxygen meets nitrogen oxides and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

Smog is a type of severe air pollution. In the early 1900s, the term “smog” was fashioned as a combination of the words smoke and fog to describe smoky fog, its opaqueness, and odour.

The term was originally intended to describe to what was known as pea soup fog, a common and major phenomenon in London from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.

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This type of visible air pollution includes nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, ozone, smoke, and particles and less visible pollutants including CFCs, radioactive sources, and carbon monoxide.

Coal emissions, automotive emissions, industrial emissions, forest and agricultural fires, and light response to these emissions all contribute to man-made smog.

Smog can be seen as a pale haze which covers the sky of urban areas. It is a combination of different chemicals which are harmful to humans. In fact, long-term exposure to smog can cause health problems such as asthma.

The effects of smog on humans are many, but they may be particularly harmful to children. Respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath can be aggravated by smog.

Hazardous Chemicals Lead to Air Pollution

Did you know that air pollution is dangerous to your health? It’s true. Air pollution is caused by hazardous chemicals which are released into the air. When this happens, it can hurt humans and animals. We need to do more to stop these harmful substances from entering the air.

Air pollution is a hazardous pollutant that harms both the environment and people’s health. The air we breathe is full of contaminants. These include carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons and nitrogen oxides.

These substances can cause many problems. They can irritate eyes, cause coughing, or even cause cancer.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas. It comes from car exhaust fumes, burning wood or natural gas. Carbon monoxide stops the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body. This can lead to death in high concentrations.

Sulphur dioxide is a gas that comes from power plants and factories that burn coal or oil. It is also found near volcanoes that erupt and release it into the air.

Sulphur dioxide causes respiratory problems for people with asthma and other lung problems.

Chlorofluorocarbons are chemical compounds used in refrigerants and aerosol sprays. They are extremely harmful to the environment because they eat away at the ozone layer in Earth’s atmosphere.

The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, which can cause skin cancer.

Nitrogen oxides come from car exhaust fumes, power plants and factories that burn fossil fuels like coal or oil.

Factories Emit Pollutants Like Carbon Monoxide

Factories emit pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These are man-made gases that are harmful to the environment.

These poisonous gases pollute the air which can cause harm to animals and humans as well. But emission of carbon dioxide is also linked with global warming.

Factories also produce a huge amount of waste products. The factories release toxic pollutants in our oceans and seas through the drains connected to them.

Factories may also dump toxic waste in landfills and other places which ultimately pollute our water resources. The polluted water when used for drinking purposes causes various types of diseases like diarrhoea, hepatitis etc., which can be life threatening at times.

One more serious threat faced by us due to factory pollution is acid rain. It is produced when sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are emitted into the atmosphere along with moisture in the air.

These gases combine with moisture in the air to form acid rain, which can destroy plants and crops as well as damage buildings, monuments, and even human skin.

When there is an increase in temperature due to global warming, it can lead to heat stroke, dehydration or even heart attacks.

The Biggest Culprit Is Vehicle Emissions

One of the biggest issues is that vehicles are responsible for releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This chemical is vital to life on Earth.

Without it, plants would not be able to grow, and we would not be able to survive. However, carbon dioxide can also be converted into carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas.

Vehicles are also major contributors to nitrous oxide emissions. This is another chemical that can be converted into a poisonous gas.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has been proven to cause or aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as lung damage and heart disease when at high levels.

Particulate matter from vehicle emissions can also be one of the main causes of air pollution in urban areas.

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These are small pieces of dust and dirt that are released from the exhaust pipe into the atmosphere. They can get lodged in our lungs and cause long-term health problems when inhaled at elevated levels.

As well as particulate matter, vehicles also release other chemicals into the atmosphere including hydrocarbons (HC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and lead (Pb).

The combination of these chemicals together with carbon dioxide can have detrimental effects on our planet’s climate.

Vehicle emissions are so detrimental to our planet because of the type of gases they release. In combination with other factors, they can be toxic at very high levels to humans and animals.

Health and Beauty Products Can Cause Air Pollution

The most common products that can be harmful are air fresheners. Not only do they contain chemicals that can be harmful to our health, but they also release pollutants into the atmosphere.

The pollutants, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are released over a period of time and, although they may not have an immediate effect, over a longer period of time they can cause serious health problems.

Another big problem is aerosols. Most aerosol sprays are made using CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons which can be extremely damaging to the environment, so it’s best to avoid them where possible.

There are many other products that could potentially be doing more harm than good for our environment.

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One of the biggest culprits is bleach, which is used in many cleaning products and beauty products such as face wash and mouthwash. Bleach causes water pollution and releases chlorine into the air when it is used or disposed of incorrectly.

The health and beauty industry are one of the fastest growing industries in the world. People are spending more money than ever on products to clean the house, fragrance the home and make them look good.

Many of us don’t consider what goes into these products, how they are made and where they end up after we’ve used them.

However, it turns out that the products we use to enhance our home and improve our health are causing more harm than good for the environment.

Air Pollution Can Irritate Skin, Eyes and Throat

The air we breathe can contain pollutants that can irritate the eyes, skin, and throat. These pollutants can cause coughing and wheezing and make asthma symptoms worse.

Repeated exposure to some of these pollutants may also lead to the development of respiratory diseases.

Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases that are present in the atmosphere. Particles can contain chemicals from car emissions, factories, dust, pollen, and mould spores. Ozone, a gas, contributes significantly to urban air pollution.

When you breathe in these particles and gases, they can have harmful effects on your health. The size of particles is closely related to their ability to cause health concerns.

Small particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.

Air pollution is the presentation of chemicals, particulate matter or biological substances that cause harm or distress to humans or other living beings or damages the natural ecosystem and the atmosphere.

Pollutants are classified as either primary or secondary. Primary pollutants are usually produced from a process, such as ash from a volcanic eruption.

Other instances include carbon monoxide from motor vehicle exhausts or sulphur dioxide that’s released from factories.

Secondary pollutants are not released directly. Instead, they are generated in the air as a result of interactions or reactions between main contaminants.

Ground level ozone is an essential instance of a secondary pollutant, and it’s one of several secondary pollutants that contribute to photochemical smog.

When it comes to air pollution, the more you know, the better. This list of top air-pollution causes is a great place to start.

Getting rid of the biggest problem sources can make a huge difference in the levels of pollution in your town and city. And, ultimately, the health of you and all those in your community.

There are many causes of air pollution, but here are our top picks for the most devastating effects on your health and the environment.


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