Air pollution refers to the introduction of harmful substances into the atmosphere. Various human activities release pollutants into the air. Some of the major sources of air pollution are:
Vehicles: Many cars, buses, trucks, trains, airplanes and other vehicles operate by burning fossil fuels. They emit pollutants into the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Vehicles account for a large proportion of the pollutants in the air.
Industry: The burning of fossil fuels as well as other industrial processes in power plants, oil refineries and factories releases pollutants into the air.
Agriculture: The production and use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides release pollutants into the atmosphere. Also, the large scale rearing of livestock releases large amounts of ammonia and methane.
Effects of Air Pollution
The presence of pollutants in the atmosphere can affect health. It can lead to respiratory diseases such as emphysema and has even been linked to some birth defects. Air pollution can also worsen existing conditions such as asthma and lung disease.
Some pollutants such as sulphur dioxide mix with water molecules in the air to produce acid rain, which can damage plants even buildings and statues. Air pollution can also affect the health of wildlife. The video below shows some of the effects of air pollution.