Types of Air Pollution – Origin And Impacts

Types of Air Pollution – Origin And Impacts

Amidst all the abnormalities, the most tension causing and pressure invoking environmental issues of modern India is undoubtedly pollution. 

Be it any day, the importance of curing pollution’s adverse effects gains the highest priority. And among the different types of pollution the major concern drawing event would certainly be air pollution because of it’s not ignorable importance.

Air, the fume for life, rather better be called the bearer, that nurtures life on mother earth, is very important for a healthy life.  But sadly there are many kinds of pollutants causing varied forms of air pollution that invokes various challenges and hurdles rising from human health issues and falling down to climatic changes.

Air pollution however can be divided into various types. By keeping in mind its origin and core cause, air pollution can be broadly divided into sections. Being aware about types of air pollution is equally important just because to stop the entire harmful eruption it should be cut down from the root.

In the types of air pollution, each type is very different from other in respect to its origin, causes,effects, and prevention.

The types of air pollution can broadly be divided into following types:-

1. Ozone

The reason of referring it as the first one is just because it is the most prominent form of air pollution. The American Lung Association has referred ozone as the most prevalent air pollutant. Ozone however is not a result of direct emission from industries, chemical plants or vehicles. It is a chemical production which occurs as a result of reaction between sunlight and gases like nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and carbon monoxide. These gases are emitted from combustion of carbon based or fossil fuels.

The ozone that is found in stratosphere to protect earth from harmful ultraviolet radiations is called as ‘good ozone’ but these ozone found in troposphere are harmful and is termed as ‘bad ozone’.  This type of pollution varies throughout the year and is not constant, the highest being in the sunniest months of year, starting in May and ending in October.

1.1 Effects on Overall Health

  • This causes short term skin issues due to exposure like irritation or inflammation.
  • Causes respiratory and lungs disorders like bronchitis, asthma etc.
  • Extended exposure can also lead to pulmonary disease.

1.2 Environmental Impact

  • Tropospheric ozone or the ‘bad ozone’ damages the ecosystem and growth of plants.
  • Affects the health of wildlife creatures as well.
  • The productivity and quality of crops are also degraded.

2. Particle Pollution

This type of pollution tops the list when compared to its other competitors and secures the title of being the most widespread throughout the geographic environment and dangerous to human health.

This air pollution comprises of solids and liquid particles constituted of ash, soot, various forms of exhaust, chemicals, and metals. The particles in particle pollution is originated from two major sources-primary or secondary, as explained by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Primary sources cause particle pollution on its own entirely as in case of forest fires or wood stoves. Secondary Sources are mainly emitted gases that eventually form particles as power plants or coal fires. There are some intermediate sources that act as both primary and secondary like factories, cars, and trucks.

The major matter in pollution includes water, black carbon, sodium chloride, ammonia, nitrates, sulphate, and mineral dust. The concentration or quantity of these particles really doesn’t matter, they can equally harm life leading to mortality even if the concentration is low.

2.1 Effects on Overall Health

  • The particulate matter present can lead to respiratory or lungs disorders
  • These particles can enter the bloodstream on exposure can cause major issues of mortality or even heart attacks

2.2 Environmental Effect

  • The presence of particulate matter makes the environment impure causing other forms    of pollution like land and water pollution.
  • It can disrupt the entire balance of the ecosystem.

3. Other Air Pollutants

3.1 Carbon Mono Oxide

Incomplete combustion of fossil fuel in vehicles, home and industrial establishment leads to the production of carbon monoxide. Characterised by its property of being colourless and odourless it seems to be the least harmful. But however it is the most poisonous to life be it humans or animals, when inhaled.

Effects on Overall Health

  • It can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, vomiting, chest pain, and    weakness.
  • Can cause death when inhaled by people when sleeping or drunk.

3.2 Sulphur Dioxide

Burning of sulphur which has portions of fuels like oil and coal produces sulphur dioxide.

Effects on Overall Health

  • Causes problems in respiration triggering asthma.
  • Triggers and intensifies the symptoms people suffering from any form of allergy.

Effects on Environment

  • Causes acid rain thus destroying the vast areas of forests present.
  • Effects growth of trees and make them prone to winter injury, insect infestation, and  droughts.
  • Reduces survival of aquatic life too.

3.3 Nitrogen Oxide

This pollutant is a result of combustion and its entire associated procedure in land automobiles and ships related to power, heat, and running engines.

Effects on Overall Health

  • This gas also cause respiratory issues and are result of increased emergency   conditions in hospitals.

Effects on Environment

  • Contributes to smog and acid rain and causes its associated effects of harming   forests, plants and wildlife

3.4 Lead

This is eliminated in the air by vehicles and industries and by waste burning procedures. Other sources might include manufacture of lead batteries and its recycling, processing of metals, iron and steel, glass, copper, cement and other boilers installed and used in industries.

Effects on Overall Health

  • When inhaled by people it acts as a neurotoxin when present in body in high concentration.
  • It can cause immunity issues, kidney diseases, cardiovascular problems, reproductive problems.
  • It settles on the top layer of soil thus causing harm to plants.
  • Deposition is water components makes survival of water species difficult.

3.5 Dioxin

It is present in plastics, and emitted as end product produced during its manufacture.

Effects on Overall Health

  • It can cause skin lesions, and affects liver, degrades immune system, endocrine, reproductive and nervous system.

3.6 Benzene

It occurs when products containing petroleum, like plastics are used or during the procedure of some industrial processes. Another cause is Tobacco exposure.

Effects on Overall Health

  • It has the capability to cause cancer.
  • In some cases exposure to benzene lead to Anaemia.

The proper understanding of types of air pollution and its impact is important for protecting ourselves and for doing something for the cause.

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