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The Condition of Air with Smog and Other Air Pollutants



The atmosphere and air around us is very important. We require air in order to survive. The air is composed of many gases which include oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, as well as various other gases. Oxygen is needed in order to breathe. Carbon Dioxide is needed by plants for photosynthesis. This is why the air that surrounds us needs to be clean. When it is polluted, it can have negative effects on not only plant life, but animals and humans as well. Air pollution is something you should become familiar with. Continue reading to learn more about what air pollution is, what causes it, and what actions you can take in order to help keep your air clean.

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution (pronounced: po-loo-shun) takes place when dust particles, gases, smoke (or fumes), or odor is emitted into the atmosphere in such a way that the air is harmful to plants, animals, and humans. It becomes harmful because the air has become contaminated. An air blanket (containing various gases) surrounds the Earth which is referred to as the atmosphere. It's protection for the Earth and is what allows life to be present. Without this, intense heat from the daylight sun would burn us or we would be frozen by nighttime low temperatures. Pollutants are anything that pollutes the air and there are two types: primary and secondary.

Causes of Air Pollution

Both natural and human actions can cause air pollution. Forest fires, pollen dispersal, volcanic eruptions, natural radioactivity, organic compounds being evaporated, and wind erosion are examples of natural events and pollution from these events do not happen often. Human actions causing air pollution include manufacturing and industries, the burning of fossil fuels, and farming and household chemicals are far more common. Painting supplies, cleaning products, the fumigation of homes, and insecticides are examples of household chemicals and when chemicals are used in offices or at home with little or no ventilation, it can cause us to become sick.

Common Air Pollutants

There are six air pollutants that are the most common. These include Carbon Monoxide, Ground-level Ozone, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate Matter, and Sulfur Dioxide. Carbon Monoxide (CO) includes the combustion of fuel from engines and vehicles. It can limit oxygen from reaching tissues and organs in the body as well as aggravate heart disease, causing chest pains. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is formed from fuel combustion, unpaved roads, farming, and chemical reactions. This pollutant can cause lung or heart disease to become worse if exposed to it for a short time and being exposed to the pollutant for longer periods can cause lung or heart disease and possibly death. As you can see, these pollutants can have very serious consequences. To learn more about the six most common air pollutants, visit the following resources:

Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution has many negative effects. Acidic compounds can be created by air pollutant chemical reactions and this can cause damage to buildings and vegetation. Nitrogen can be carried and deposited into soils and rivers by rain. Gas ozone affects the health of people and damages vegetation and animal life. Particulate matter can be hazardous to a person's health. It can cause eye irritation, respiratory infections, headaches, and allergic reactions. Being continuously exposed to a polluted atmosphere negatively affects children's lungs and can aggravate any medical conditions the elderly may have.

Preventions/Solutions

Learning how to prevent polluted air can help in keeping it under control. There are various prevention methods. Various government agencies have taken action investing in solar, wind, and other renewable energy to help limit fossil fuel burning. Families can take action by walking, biking, or taking a bus instead of a personal vehicle. Limit the amount of water and electricity you use. Re-use and recycle things as well.

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