Since the days of cavemen building fires in poor ventilated caves, the effects of air pollution have been a fact of life. Unfortunately, that fact of life has become a major pollution issue that needs to be dealt with. Increased industrialization, building, and population have caused the levels of air pollution to go soaring. The effects of air pollution are not good and have harmed many species and continue to be the main reason for many diseases and even death.
Reasons for Pollution
Air pollutants stem from many sources and are made up of many types of molecules. A few contributing components include:
• Carbon Dioxide – Burning fossil fuels, such as gasoline
• Nitrogen Dioxide – Burning biomasses and fossil fuels
• Nitrous Oxide – From nitrogen based fertilizers
• Sulfur Dioxide – Combustion of sulfur-based fuels, such as oil
• Chlorofluorocarbons – Or Freon come from refrigerants, aerosol cans, and the burning of plastics
• Smog – A combination of gases that are released with the burning of fuels from industries, transportation devices, and fires
Indoors And Out
There is no escaping the effects air pollution and they are all negative. It is true that those who live in and around cities are increasingly exposed, due to the amount of industry, autos on the roadways, and population.
However, those who live on farms are subjected to exhaust from farm equipment, fertilizers, and animal waste that contain chemicals. Some may think that they are safe if they are in the confines of their own home but that is not true. There are air pollutants inside that are just as dangerous. Poor ventilation of heating and cooling systems, household chemicals, fibers, and more contribute to air pollutants.
What Happens As The Result
The damage done by air pollution touches many organisms and many are not directly exposed. The effects of air pollution can travel in the atmosphere for days, therefore spreading across the miles from its original source. The results can vary, but some examples include:
• Plant life – Plants clean the air of carbon dioxide, but with deforestation comes fewer plants to do so. Plants will also absorb the toxic levels of carbon dioxide, which will lessen their protective waxy coating. This coating is vital for water and food storage, so without this then disease and pests are more likely to attack and the plant will die.
• Health – The lungs need oxygen to survive and that oxygen is carried through the blood stream to the heart and then pumped to the other organs throughout the body. Many illness are linked to air pollution, such as: common cold, croup, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, lung cancer, heart failure, coronary disease, and much more.
The effects of air pollution are not a new problem, but it seems to get worse and not better. The governments have gotten better regulating and fining the big industries, but it is hard to regulate air pollution on the personal level. It is our responsibility to regulate and decrease our use of air pollutants or else we will not live in our world as we have grown accustomed to.