Air is an indispensable element of all the living organisms present on Earth. Survival without breathing is unimaginable for every living species. Air is thus invisible yet an inevitable part of our lives. Sad as it may be but the truth of twenty-first century is that we have created such an atmosphere for ourselves where the air we breathe in is very highly polluted and is in many ways the cause of many health problems.
Air pollution which means the polluting of air by pollutants like sulfur oxides, carbon mono-oxides, ammonia, radioactive wastes, chlorofluorocarbons, dirt, dust, smoke and many such substances. Unlike land and water pollution, air pollution isn’t visible but yet it is as dangerous as others. The threat of air pollution has entangled humans, flora and fauna and all living forms present on Earth.
The sources of Air pollution are mainly the results of the ruthless selfish behavior of man. The factories and industries emit smoke into the air through chimneys and this is one of the chief causes of pollution. The air in the industrial areas is so dense with smoke that even the buildings and the near-by environment is blackened due to smoke. Another major cause of air pollution is the vehicles that run on petrol or diesel and emit harmful residual gases which are poisonous. Apart from these, the other causes of air pollution include fuel-burning, fumes from paints or sprays, waste deposition in open lands, volcanic activity, smoke and carbon monoxide from forest fires, respiration of living organisms and the like. All such sources of pollution are continuous and are affecting and degrading the air-quality since many decades. Now the situation is getting worse day by day.
The hole in the ozone layer caused by the air pollutants like chlorofluorocarbons and this in turn is leading to cancer and other skin related diseases caused by exposure to UV rays of the sun. Not just this, but the air pollution is cause of many such menaces. Many people suffer from bronchitis and asthma and all such breathing problems are aggravated by the poor air quality especially in densely populated cities. The pollution and acidification of air has also led to pouring of acid rains which are deteriorating soil, buildings and living organisms’ health as well.
Some astonishing facts about the extent and result of Air pollution over the globe are:
- By inhaling polluted air, an average human reduces his/her life span by one to two years.
- The effects of air pollution may vary from redness in eyes, itching in eyes to lung and throat cancers.
- Pollutants released into the air are many times more harmful than the pollutants of water and land.
- In Beijing, due to air pollution, there has occurred a new disease popularly known as the Beijing cough.
- We know that air pollution is not a new phenomenon, and the proof of it is that in 1952, the Great Smog of London killed 800 people.
- In China, 70% of the air pollution is caused by the tail-pipes.
- Children are the most vulnerable to the air pollution because their lungs are yet not strong and capable enough.
- Air pollution causes around 161 billion deaths.
- The outdoor pollution ranks amongst the top ten killers.
- An estimate of 750,000 people dies every year due to air pollution.
- The number of people die every year due to air pollution in America is believed to be around 50,000.
- There is an estimate research which predicts that by year 2050; around 6 billion people will die annually due to air pollution.
- Indoor air pollution is as dangerous as outdoor air pollution.
Though the given statistics are hard to believe in this is the actual truth.
The air pollution has led to so many disastrous effects. Air pollution not only pollutes the air but also lead to increase in temperature which in turn leads to global warming. Global warming is a very serious issue for our generation because we are the one who are facing the odd climatic changes and this change in weather patterns is affecting the life of people and animals worldwide.
In big cities like London, Beijing, New Delhi, which are all densely populated and are hubs of big industries, they are also hubs of polluted environment. Due to traffic, population, waste and industrial run-offs these cities are becoming very difficult to breathe in. Also, according to many surveys done by the health departments of these areas, it is very evident that people living in such cities and towns suffer from air-borne diseases and breathing ailments. Especially the old age and the infants are affected by the polluted air at most because of their bodies’ inability to adapt and filtrate the polluted air.
In India, the problem of air pollution isn’t limited to the cities. Yes, the cities are polluted to great extent in comparison to the small cities and villages but one cannot dismiss the pollution in villages. In villages, where the CNG/LPG facilities are not yet available, the villagers use firewood as their fuel and the smoke, caused by this is a major source of pollution. Women who spend their lives in smoking and choking chullahs in kitchens often end up having serious breathing problems. Also, there is a routine of burning the left-over crops to increase soil fertility and this as well adds up to the air pollution. Also, in India during the festival of Deepawali, people celebrate by burning crackers and because this is a very important festival celebrated by almost everyone in India, and thus the amount of air pollution during Diwali increases 20-60%.
Effects of Air-Pollution
So, by knowing about all the effects of air pollution we need to make a strong decision to reduce the air pollution worldwide. This is a problem which cannot be effaced in one go and thus requires a lot of work to be done and that too on behalf of every individual. Governments and state administrations are responsible to start campaigns and develop more and more awareness about the air pollution but at an individual level we all have to work together in reducing pollution.