Pollution and smog unveil a spectra of dreaded diseases wreaking havoc on our health. Prolonged exposure to toxic pollutants from various sources affects the normal functioning of life. Growing levels of nitrogen dioxide and other corrosive gases have caused a multiplication of the incidence, including allergic diseases like nausea, vomiting, and chronic skin and eye irritations. The toxic elements in the atmosphere are responsible for asthma, bronchitis, and related respiratory disorders. That’s why you can see the number of the major effect of Air Pollution for everyone.
Major Effect of Air Pollution on this Planet
Nearly 80 percent of cancer cases reflect from environmental pollution with toxic and hazardous chemicals. Organic lead emitted from automobiles gets absorbed in the brain, liver, kidney, and blood, causing convulsions, muscular paralysis, brain damage, and even death. Radon gas introduced into the atmosphere from Uranium-containing soil can result in lung cancer after long exposure. More and more people fall prey to digestive ailments, weakening the body’s immune system. The victims of airborne pollutants are mostly infants and children.
1. Effects on Human Health, Animals, and Plants
Some environmental poisons can immediately cause acute illness and even death. The rest of the environmental poisons may be harmful and helps to enhance disease over the years. The main effect of air pollution is on the respiratory system. There is mortality rate is very higher in urban areas. Also, due to exposure to polluted air many chronic diseases develop like Bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and lung cancer.
There are many air pollutant that lives in the environment but Sulphur dioxide is the most serious and widespread air pollutant. Its lower concentration is air pollution cause of spasms in the smooth muscle of bronchioles, and its higher concentration induces increased mucus production. Sulphur dioxide is also considered to cause cough, shortness of breath, spasm of the larynx, and acute irritation to the eyes’ membranes. So, also acts as an allergenic agent. When it reacts with some compounds, sulphuric acid is formed, which may damage the lungs.
Carbon monoxide is very crucial to maintain the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. On the other hand, Nitric oxide helps to be a pulmonary irritant, and concentration may cause pulmonary hemorrhage. Hydrogen sulphide is also the toxic and major effect of Air Pollution. Lead emitted from automobile exhausts is a cumulative poison that is dangerous to children and may cause brain damage.
Among the metallic contaminants, arsenic, lead, and molybdenum are important. Fluoride is another pollutant which causes fluorosis among animals. Many livestock has been poisoned by fluorides and arsenic in North America. It is the effect of air pollution. Lesions in animals occur due to excessive fluoride. Air pollution has caused widespread damage to trees, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and vegetation as a whole. Fluorides are responsible for various types of injuries to plants.
The apple, apricot, peach, and prune leaves are more susceptible to airborne fluorides. Fluorides interfere with the photosynthesis and respiration of plants. Also, Smog causes injury to plants. Similar impact of ozone can be seen in the lesions of plants. Chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, etc., also harm vegetation.
2. Global Warming
The earth’s surface temperature is very important to maintain due to the balance between the sun’s rays that meet the planet and the heat that is radiated back into space. Some heat is absorbed and retained by the earth or objects on the surface. Much of this is the carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere, which adds that they do not pass through the air envelope to outer space but are absorbed by the present heat.
Thus, carbon dioxide acts like the glass of a greenhouse and, on a global scale, tends to warm the air in the low levels d the atmosphere. That means is the greenhouse effect. Also, this effect is responsible for the enhance the temperature over the earth’s surface. Global warming happens due to the effect of air pollution. On the other hand, Volcanic eruptions play a crucial role to enhance carbon dioxide. Global Warming is major effect of Air Pollution.
The earth’s mean surface temperature has been rising at a much faster rate in recent years. According to Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the mean surface air temperature has increased by about 0.3-0 degrees Celsius. The unprecedented temperature rise in the last twenty years is only due to changes in the prevailing climate.
The average rate of warming is the highest seen in the recent past. Between 1960 and 1980, the world generated more greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), etc., than was done in its entirety of earlier history.
In the world scenario, India is placed sixth in carbon dioxide production. Sea level is also anticipated to increase by 15-95 centimeters by the beginning of the 21st century, with disastrous consequences for islands like Maldives and low-level coastal areas like Bangladesh. It is the main effect of air pollution. The dreadful truth is that anticipated global warming could produce permanent climatic changes during monsoon rains, affecting agriculture adversely. Hence all the forms of the animal and vegetation will be affected.
3. Depleting Ozonosphere
Ozone is normally present in the atmosphere at about 0.05 ppm at sea level. It is produced naturally in the atmosphere by electric discharges on oxygen. Until 1974 atmosphere scientists were researching the possible impacts of nitrogen oxide jet engine exhausts on the ozone layer. But later, it was found that a new threat to the ozone layer had emerged from synthetic chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons.
Recent scientific studies indicate that if chlorofluorocarbon production continues to grow at the present rate, the compound will enter the stratosphere in quantities capable of seriously depleting the ozone layer, normally termed ‘holes’ in the ozone layer. Depleting ozonosphere is the effect of air pollution.
The use of chloro-fluorocarbon is increasing because of the demand d ‘personal care products such as deodorants, hair sprays, shaving creams, and countless other consumer cosmetic products, as well as refrigeration. Effect of air pollution, continuously the ozone layer has been depleting.
The ozone layer shields the troposphere and earth to surface from most of the ultraviolet radiation in the sun’s rays. These ultraviolet rays reach the earth’s surface at full intensity, and all exposed bacteria are destroyed; plants and animal tissues are severely damaged. In this protective role, the presence of the ozone layer is an essential factor in man’s environment.
4. Acid Rain
Pronounced as the most dreaded effect of air pollution, acid rain, as the name suggests, refers to the precipitation of carbon sulphuric, sulfurous and nitric acids during rainfall. Acid rain causes due to the effect of air pollution. Acidic fumes of s dioxide and trioxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide emitted from industrial establishments combine with rainwater and snow in the atmosphere to form corresponding acids, which come down as rain. Analyzing rainwater in polluted regions would confirm acidic character with a pH value of less than 7.
Acid rain pollutes the drinking water sources, like wells, ponds, and lakes. It causes fertile lands to grow barren since excessive acidity prevents plant growth. Acid rain is highly corrosive and causes blisters and burns if it comes in contact with the skin. The Taj Mahal at Agra was prone to corrosion due to sulphuric acid rain.
Smog’ is the name given to ‘smoke fog. The most irritating and Injurious components of smog are the products of reactions between oxygen, ozone, and emission pollutants. Smog caused due to the effect of air pollution. The mixture of these products is called photochemical smog. These are reactions in the atmosphere in which oxygen, ozone, nitrogen, and hydrocarbons produce those compounds which are toxic and irritating.
The constituents of smog are quite toxic and are responsible for respiratory and cardiac difficulties. Eye irritation is the most common symptom and it is the effect of air pollution. It is also harmful to animals and plants and is one of the main causes of environmental degradation.
6. Photochemical Smog
The classic example of a secondary pollutant, photochemical smog, is formed in traffic-congested metropolitan cities where warm conditions and intense solar radiations are present. Photochemical smog NO is composed mainly of ozone (03) and peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), and It is often called brown air where solar radiation and smog formation are incomplete. The air is referred to as grey air. Automobile exhaust contains HC and NO, which play an important role in (03) and PAN formation in the urban environment.
Ozone, an effective oxidant, corrodes heritage building surfaces and damages marble statues and other cultural assets. Smog ozone may damage the plant as well as animal life. In plants, the major damage occurs in the leaf. It is the major effect of air pollution.
Also, ozone aggravates lung diseases in humans. Several plant species are also very susceptible to PAN in smog. PAN damages chloroplasts, and thus, plants’ photosynthetic efficiency and growth are reduced. It also inhibits the electron transport system and interferes with enzyme systems that play an important role in cellular metabolism. In humans, PAN causes acute irritation of the eyes and it is the effect of air pollution.