What are the harmful Effects of Air Pollution?

In the earlier article we had discussed on main causes of air pollution, today we will discuss about the harmful effects of air solution on human health and on environment in general.

Air Pollution & it’s Effects

Air pollution can either be visible or invisible. Air pollution can be understood as anything that is omnipotent to hinder the atmosphere or the well being of living organisms to exist and survive on those circumstances. The imbalance caused by the increase or decrease of percentage of any of the constituent elements from their original amount can disturb the normal functioning. Living and non living things sustain themselves on this balance and thus it is important to preserve it and restore it so that it doesn’t hamper the normal functioning of the system.

An average American breathes 3400 gallons of air each day; and air pollution can snatch away 1 – 2 years of human life causing problems ranging from burning of eyes, itchy throat, breathing problems to even death.One of the most harmful pollutants is the various types of air pollutants. A new disease Beijing cough is due to the rising air pollution in Beijing. Production of heavy crude oil increases air pollution by 40%. Waiting in traffic jam has led to increased death rate due to air pollution causing Heart attacks.

The rate of death tolls in Asia has increased the most. It’s not just humans suffering the brunt of pollution; dolphins also suffer from black lung diseases due to air pollution. There have been cases of 5000 premature deaths in Southern California due to diesel truck pollution. Due to air pollution the visibility up to 1000 miles is hampered in Grand Canyon region. As number speaks outdoor air pollution is among top 10 killers. As much as 65% deaths in Asia and 25% in India are because of air pollution. About 50000 Americans, 750000 Chinese, 13000 British people die due to air pollution. 80% of lung cancer is due to this itself. Indoor air pollution is 2 – 5 times worse than outdoor scenario.

Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health and Environment

  • Respiratory and Heart Problems : With the increased rate of air pollution there has been a trend of rising problems and various health issues pertaining to respiratory diseases and heart problems. These have had a serious impact and also a noticeable increase in the death toll for this reason. The effects have been pretty alarming. There have been instances where several respiratory and heart conditions have developed. Children are observed to contract pneumonia and asthma due to increased exposure to pollutants.
  • Depletion of Ozone Layer : Air pollutants are solely responsible for the depletion and degenerating situations of the ozone layer. There have been emissions of ozone depleting substances which have taken their toll on the Ozone layer which is an ultimate necessity for survival of life on Earth. Ozone is present in the stratosphere and protects humans from dreadful Ultraviolet Rays. This layer has been depleting due to Chlorofluorocarbons and hydro Chlorofluorocarbons in the air. Due to this thinning of the ozone layer, there is a risk of harmful rays getting through and causing skin and eye related issues as well as affect crops and agriculture.
  • Acid Rain : the pollutants causing air pollution which are from the burning of fossil fuels tends to remain in the atmosphere for a very long time. These suspended particles and gases like nitrous oxides and sulphur oxides giving rise to harmful solutions like nitric acid or even sulphuric acid. These acids come down in the form of rain and causes large scale harm as they affect the living as well as the non living substances. It erodes buildings and materials like marble and also kill plants and destroy forests affecting both the flora and fauna of the area.
  • Eutrophication : It is a condition which is caused when there is existence of high amount of nitrogen present in pollutants enters the water bodies and leads to the development of algae. The development of algae hampers the conditions where fishes can live leading to the death of marine plants and also the various animal species existing in these water bodies. The presence of the algae is a sign of low oxygen level in the water as the algae uses pretty much all of the available oxygen in the water body. The algae develop in the waters due to chemicals that are present in the water body giving and providing them with necessary nutrients.
  • Effects on Wildlife : Not just human beings but animals also are among the penalty bearers of air pollution. Toxic chemicals that prevail in the atmosphere force the wildlife to migrate to new places and search for more adaptable habitats. Pollutants that deposit in the water bodies and seas adversely affect the marine and aquatic animals as well.
  • Global Warming : Increased air pollution is directly related to the cause of global warming which is increasing the temperature worldwide. The rising sea levels, thermal expansion of sea water, melting ice bergs, displacement of living beings from their habitats and even loss of habitats with serious signals of impending disasters. These things can only be mitigated if proper actions are undertaken.

Read More:
Global Dimming: What are the causes of Global Dimming?
Social effects of Global Warming
Geographic Information System and Natural Resource Management

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