What is Air Pollution?
Air pollution is actually the addition of any harmful substances to the atmosphere, which causes the damaging of the environment, human health and the quality of life. With the development in industry, came along the increase in air pollution, which occurs inside homes, schools, offices even in the countryside. Consequently there has been an increase in the death rates resulting from various diseases caused by air pollution varying from breathing problem to lung cancer. Air pollution does not only affect people but it also damages the whole ecological system in which plants and animals are harmed as well. Air pollution has reached such a critical ...view middle of the document...
Although the use of catalytic converters has reduced smog-producing compounds in motor vehicle exhaust emissions, studies have shown that in so doing the converters produce nitrous oxide, which contributes substantially to global warming.
In cities, air may be severely polluted not only by transportation but also by the burning of fossil fuels (oil and coal) in generating stations, factories, office buildings, and homes and by the incineration of garbage. The massive combustion produces tons of ash, soot, and other particulates responsible for the gray smog of cities like New York and Chicago, along with enormous quantities of sulfur oxides (which also may be result from burning coal and oil). These oxides rust iron, damage building stone, decompose nylon, tarnish silver, and kill plants. Air pollution from cities also affects rural areas for many miles downwind.
Every industrial process exhibits its own pattern of air pollution. Petroleum refineries are responsible for extensive hydrocarbon and particulate pollution. Iron and steel mills, metal smelters, pulp and paper mills, chemical plants, cement and asphalt plants—all discharge vast amounts of various particulates. Uninsulated high-voltage power lines ionize the adjacent air, forming ozone and other hazardous pollutants. Airborne pollutants from other sources include insecticides, herbicides, radioactive fallout, and dust from fertilizers, mining operations, and livestock feedlots.
Effects on Health and Environment
Like photochemical pollutants, sulfur oxides contribute to the incidence of respiratory diseases. Acid rain, a form of precipitation that contains high levels of sulfuric or nitric acids, can contaminate drinking water and vegetation, damage aquatic life, and erode buildings. When a weather condition known as a temperature inversion prevents dispersal of smog, inhabitants of the area, especially children and the elderly and chronically ill, are warned to stay indoors and avoid physical stress. The...