Air pollution results from the introduction of foreign particles in the earth’s atmosphere. It denotes the presence of chemicals, biological substances or other foreign particles in the atmosphere that cause discomfort, damage, death, infections or diseases to both flora and fauna. It is vital to note from the onset that the earth atmosphere is crucial to the existence of all living organisms on earth. It is made from a mixture of diverse and dynamic gaseous system that are essential to life systems. However, air pollution and emission of greenhouses gases has become a real threat to the atmosphere and thus a threat to life all living things. Greenhouse gases are those that the earth atmosphere takes in. As a result it emits radiations that are detrimental to the atmospheric system. Therefore, air pollution had been identified, internationally, as a threat to life and should be tackled effectively. This paper will canvas the causes of air pollution. This includes the harmful greenhouses gases that are emitted daily in the atmosphere. It is critical to examine clearly how these gases are emitted into the environment. The paper will analyze how the gases are produced and the effects they have on the environment. The paper will also comprehensively examine the impact of these emissions especially how they put life on earth in danger. This paper will also critically examine implemented solutions to prevent and reduce the impact of these harmful gases. It will also recommend other measures deemed by the author to be critical in saving the earth from destruction by air pollution.
Air pollution is caused by various pollutants. These pollutants can be in various forms such as in a gaseous state, solid state or liquid state. Air pollution is caused mainly by gases. These are the gases emitted within the thermal infrared range that is extremely dangerous. Air pollution is usually associated in most cases with smog. Most people believe that smog is the main cause of air pollution. However, this is not the case. There are numerous gases both visible and invisible that significantly pollute the atmosphere. These contribute to the global warming menace that threats life on earth. In a nut shell, all foreign objects or substances that are harmful to the atmosphere are regarded as air pollutants.
All living things breathe out carbon dioxide. This is the main cause of global warming. It is a greenhouse gas, which when emitted in the earth atmosphere causes undesirable results. Both plants and animals through respiration release carbon dioxide while inhaling oxygen. However, the earth ecosystem has found a way to balance this phenomenon. Plants use this gas to manufacture their own food. They take in carbon dioxide and water as the main ingredients. This process need sunlight and chlorophyll, which is essentially the green coloring matter found on the leaves of plants. These are essential to help plants manufacture sugars. They also release oxygen and water in the process. Nevertheless, with increased industrialization in the world, the level of carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily in the earth atmosphere. Human activities in industries like the combustion of natural gas, fossil fuels and gasoline produced large quantities of carbon dioxide which cannot all be utilized by green plants. The use of cars, machines and planes among others that depend on combustible energy are the main sources of carbon dioxide. For hundreds of years, these emissions have settled on the atmosphere hence they have started causing disastrous effects.
Methane is another significant atmospheric pollutant. This is also a greenhouse gas as it causes similar effects like carbon dioxide. It is mainly produced by livestock and in swampy places where water has been stagnant for a long period. Other sources of methane include aerosol propellants and refrigerants. The government has put up measures to regulate the use of these products. However, there are still several products that contain these gases. This gas weakens the ozone layer thus enabling the earth stratosphere to contain the earth’s radiation; which then causes global warming.
Sulphur dioxide is another greenhouse gas with deteriorating effects on the atmosphere. This is usually a part of smog. However, on its own is not clearly visible. Sulphur dioxide is responsible for acid rain. It is also closely related with gases that cause acid rain. Acid rain causes metals to rust. It has a corrosive nature and interferes with other elements in the atmosphere. It also interferes with paint. Another effect of Sulphur dioxide is that it also interferes with the rays of the sun that bring light on the earth. They reflect beams of light that were kept out of the earth’s atmosphere in order to maintain temperatures. Thus by reflecting these beams into the atmosphere, they increase the temperatures on earth causing serious ramifications. Sulphur dioxide can also be caused by volcanic eruptions. They are released when molten lava is released from the earth crust by an active volcano. In the process, Sulphur dioxide is produced. Human activities have also increased Sulphur dioxide levels.
Nitrogen oxides are also harmful gases that are produced by high temperature burning process. They are produced by an electrical charge when thunderstorms occur. There are several gases with nitrogen oxides formed during this process. They are significant air pollutants. When it is in its pure form, it has reddish-brown color. Ammonia is also another air pollutant greenhouse gas. It is mainly produced as a result of bio-agricultural processes. It has a pungent odor and is used in the manufacture of fertilizers and other foodstuffs. However, if its levels are not monitored and are allowed to increased, it can be hazardous to living things.
All these gases have multiple sources. It is vital to illustrate the activities or factors that are significantly responsible for the production of large amounts of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere. This is extremely vital because if measures are to be put in place to protect and preserve the environment, it would be prudent to eliminate the sources that produce these gases. One of the main categories of sources of greenhouse gases are those sources that are stationary placed. These include power plants, waste incinerators and factories. Burning of biomass is also a significant source of these gases. Mobile sources are those that move from place to place causing air pollution wherever they go. These include motor vehicles, planes and trains among others. Moreover, they are also chemicals that significantly pollute the air.
It is cardinal for the government to ensure that they put up measures to tackle air pollution. Public and private companies also have a social responsibility to ensure that they take care of the environment. The onus of this obligation is even more on companies or factories that cause air pollution. In addition, other companies have also a moral obligation to give back to society. Society at large has also an obligation to ensure it takes care of its environment. There is a moral responsibility on every person to ensure they keep the world a safe place for the sake of humanity and future generations.
Failure to control the effects of greenhouse gases comes with disastrous consequences. Lack of clean air can cause multiples of health problems. Examples of diseases caused by air pollution include respiratory diseases, lung cancer and heart diseases. These are serious ailments that lead to millions of death every year. They can be avoided if tangible and effective measures are put in place to ensure that the air people breathe is not contaminated. Health concerns that are principally caused by air pollution cause sneezing, coughing, asthma, and respiratory difficulties among other cardiac conditions. These problems usually lead a patient to increased medication use, premature death or continuous medical admissions. Therefore, contacting such a disease is extremely unfortunate. It not only destroyed a person’s economic life, but also the social life. One becomes a regular visitor to the hospital thus interfering with his or her normal duties. Air pollution affects two main systems of the human body that are essential for survival. These are the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system. However, intensity, duration and body weaknesses will influence the degree to which a person will be affected.
Industrialized countries have attempted to come up with measures that would avert the effects of greenhouse gases. There have been various means designed to control air pollution. The government has employed the use of technology and land planning to ensure that air is purified in places with several factories. This has been put in place to enhance zoning and transport infrastructural designs that provide solutions to this 21st menace. The government has ensured that it prioritizes land planning. In fact, it has been included as a social policy that should be given priority during implementation. This enables the government and society to ensure that land, as a means of production, is not only used well for the purposes of improving the economic status of a person and the economy of the country, but also that the wider population becomes part of the task force that provides solutions to the problems affecting the environment.
The government has also been handy in trying to reduce air pollution from mobile sources. As mentioned above, mobile sources include cars, trains and planes among others. The most effective and commonly use means of controlling air pollution from mobile sources is regulation. Regulating greenhouse gas emissions ensures that the sources of these gases must meet some regulatory standards in order to be allowed to use. The government has, in recent years, expanded the scope of this legislative framework. Traditionally, these forms of legislation were used to regulate gas emission from factories, company plants, vehicles, trains and planes. However, nowadays farm equipment, transport ships and all other fuels machines that use petroleum fuels are also regulated.
In order to effectively handle air pollution, it is necessary that a variety of measures be taken simultaneously. This needs to start on a personal level with each person being part of the big picture. In order to come up with the requisite plans, it is vital to understand that prevention of air pollution if far much better than controlling it. Therefore, all stakeholders should pull more resources towards preventing air pollution than letting it escalate and then attempt to correct the problems it causes. Green energy is an extremely innovative idea that can ameliorate the situation. Most government of world nations should be urged to fully embrace this technology as it saves a lot from effects of air pollution. By embracing green energy, a government will have to concentrate in harnessing wind energy, geothermal energy and solar energy among others. There also other various form of renewable energy that can be employed. This would, in turn, significantly reduce a county’s need to burn fossil fuel for energy purposes, thus averting air pollution.
It also imperative that governments force organizations and institutions that manufacture products using air polluting substances to be on the forefront at ensuring that they undertake measures to reduce the impact of those effects. In fact, most governments nowadays have put up regulatory measures to put these manufacturing firms on check. They ensure that they comply with the stipulated threshold and are responsible in their manufacturing activities. However, a lot needs to be done in this area. There are thousands of companies around the country and it is almost impossible for a government agency to monitor their daily emissions. Innovation has also come in handy in safeguarding the environment. There are numerous companies that have begun making more energy saving cars than conventional cars. These cars are not only environmentally friendly, but also more efficient and effective than before. Lightning companies make energy saving bulbs. This helps reduce the amount of power utilized per household. In the end, less power would be required to fulfill the needs of each household nationally, thus saving the environment from further pollution.
The government cannot succeed in this aim while working alone. To achieve this objective, it, therefore, trickles down to individual responsibility. The government and society should urge people to drive less and use public transport means whenever possible. Therefore, it is advisable that people from the same family take a single car to work or a bus or train rather than each person driving to work. The less people drive their cars, the less the air around them is polluted. It is also strongly encouraged that people develop a culture of re-using and recycling things. As a result, this will reduce the demand of these items on the market. The pressure to manufacture more of those products will thus be significantly reduced thus saving energy and reducing pollution at the same time. Manufacturing plastic products, bottles, clothing and paper cause a lot of pollution while these are things that can be recycled with little effort. It is also vital that people learn how to use home appliances that use electricity effectively and efficiently. A lot of power will be saved if kettles, washing machines, fringes and boilers were used in a prudent and energy saving manner.
Gurjar, Bhola R and Luisa T Molina. Air Pollution: Health and Environmental Impacts. New York: CRC Press, 2010.
Miller, Tyler G and Scott E Spoolman. Living in the Environment. New York: Cengage Learning, 2011.
Phalen, Robert F. Introduction to Air Pollution Science. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2012.
Theodore, Louis . Air Pollution Control Equipment Calculations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Abhishek, Tiwary . Air Pollution: Measurement, Modelling and Mitigation. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2010.
Jacobson, Mark Z. Air Pollution and Global Warming: History, Science, and Solutions. Cambridge University Press, 2012.