What causes air pollution?
Air pollution can result from both human and natural actions. Natural events that pollute the air include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of organic compounds and natural radioactivity. Pollution from natural occurrences are not very often.
Human activities that result in air pollution include:
1. Emissions from industries and manufacturing activities
Consider a typical manufacturing plant: You will notice that there are long tubes (called chimneys) erected high into the air, with lots of smoke and fumes coming out of it. Waste incinerators, manufacturing industries and power plants emit high levels of carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air. This happens almost everywhere that people live. Petroleum refineries also release lots of hydrocarbons into the air.
2. Burning Fossil Fuels
After the industrial age, transportation has become a key part of our lives. Cars and heavy duty trucks, trains, shipping vessels and airplanes all burn lots of fossil fuels to work. Emissions from automobile engines contain both primary and secondary pollutants. This is a major cause of pollution, and one that is very difficult to manage. This is because humans rely heavily on vehicles and engines for transporting people, good and services.
Fumes from car exhauts contain dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons and particulates. On their own, they cause great harm to people who breath them. Additionally, they react with environmental gases to create further toxic gases. Click here to see the effects
3. Household and Farming Chemicals
Crop dusting, fumigating homes, household cleaning products or painting supplies, over the counter insect/pest killers, fertilizer dust emit harmful chemicals into the air and cause pollution. In many case, when we use these chemicals at home or offices with no or little ventilation, we may fall ill if we breathe them.
|Air pollution prevention, monitoring and solution.
Solution efforts on pollution is always a big problem. This is why prevention interventions are always a better way of controlling air pollution. These prevention methods can either come from government (laws) or by individual actions. In many big cities, monitoring equipment have been installed at many points in the city. Authorities read them regularly to check the quality of air. Let’s see more below:
Government (or community) level prevention
Governments are also forcing companies to be more responsible with their manufacturing activities, so that even though they still cause pollution, they are a lot controlled.
Car manufacturing companies are also building more energy efficient cars, which pollute less than before.
Individual Level Prevention
Use energy (light, water, boiler, kettle and fire woods) wisely. This is because lots of fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity, and so if we can cut down the use, we will also cut down the amount of pollution we create.
Recycle and re-use things. This will minimize the dependence of producing new things. Remember manufacturing industries create a lot of pollution, so if we can re-use things like shopping plastic bags, clothing, paper and bottles, it can help.
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