It is the hidden desire of any person to know about the most dangerous pollution that is happening around. Don’t you feel like knowing it? Then please peep into this article to know about it and its effect. Even we have learned so much about pollution, we still wonder which one is most dangerous as we feel each one to be dangerous in its own way. While coming across the most dangerous one, we will also learn the most common pollutants and its source too.
All types of pollution are harmful to man and the environment. There occurs an imbalance in the natural workings of the ecosystems. Air pollution, water and soil pollution, radiation pollution, noise pollution, plastic pollution, thermal pollution – these are various types which are mostly connected to each other. They may have a point source or a non-point source of pollution. Some are localised such as radiation pollution or noise pollution. Others are spread over larger areas even as much as over cities. Soil pollution is linked with air and water pollution, while noise or light pollution is mostly stand-alone types.
The one type of pollution that is all pervasive and affects us continuously everyday throughout the years is air pollution. It affects the most number of people and countries. There is severe air pollution in every metropolitan city. The pollutants don’t always remain stationary over a place. They can be carried by the wind and affect places far away from their point of origin. Air pollution can be indoor or outdoor.
The most common pollutants of the air are
- Carbon dioxide
- Sulphur oxides especially sulphur dioxide
- Nitrogen oxides
- Carbon monoxides
- Volatile organic compounds such has methane, benzene, toluene and xylene
- Particulate matter and aerosols
- Persistent free radicals
- Toxic metals such as lead and mercury
- Chlorofluoro carbons
- Radioactive pollutants
- Dioxins and furans are two compounds created when plastic is burnt in the open.
The main sources of the pollutants are
- Power plants, manufacturing facilities, waste incinerators, furnaces and other fuel burning heating devices.
- Burning wood, crop waste and dung.
- Exhaust fumes from motor vehicles, marine vessels and aircraft.
- Controlled burn practices such as in forest management, farming, prairie restoration
- Fumes from paint, hair spray, varnish, aerosol sprays and other solvents.
- Landfills generating methane.
- Military activity with weapons such as nuclear weapons, toxic gases, biological warfare and rocketry
- Methane released as natural digestive process of cattle
- Radon gas from radioactive decay within the earth’ s crust.
- Volcanic activity produces sulphur, chlorine and ash .
Indoor air quality is compromised by
- Radon released from the earth’s surface and trapped inside homes.
- Formaldehyde given out by carpeting and plywood.
- Volatile organic compounds given out by drying paint and solvents.
- Degenerating lead paint crumbling into dust.
- Air fresheners, incense and other scented items.
- Burning stoves and fireplaces adding particulate matter
- Pesticides and chemical sprays used for indoor pests.
- Burning charcoal in confined spaces such as tents.
- Dry cleaned clothes emit tetrachloroethylene and other cleaning fluids.
- Asbestos used in industries and domestic purposes
- Dander produced by pets, flaking of human skin and hair produce dust.
- Dust mites in bedding furniture and carpeting produce micrometre size faecal droppings.
- Mould forms in damp spaces like walls and corners and release mycotoxins and spores
- House plants produce pollen, dust, and mould.
- Air conditioning without proper ventilation.
Effects of Air Pollution
The effects of air pollution are so diverse from affecting development of the brain to agricultural effects of cutting crop yield by half. Some of these are as follows:
- Air pollution has increased the incidence of respiratory disorders and aggravates cardiovascular diseases. There is difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing , asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This leads to increased medication use, increased doctor and emergency room visits, hospital admissions and premature death.
- Children below the age of 5 years living in developing countries are at high risk and according to studies have very low life span.
- Diesel exhaust, a major contributor of particulate matter is linked to acute vascular dysfunction and thrombus formation ie formation of blood clots within the body. This causes strokes and associated atherosclerosis or blocking of major blood vessels.
- Cystic fibrosis, a disease in which excess mucous secretion occurs causing decreased lung function is also on the rise in urban centres.
- Air pollutants are brought to land in the form of acid rain. Acid rain occurs when sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere reacts with the water vapour and other pollutants to form minute droplets of dilute sulphuric acid. This acid combines with the rain drops and falls during precipitation. Crop yields have reduced drastically when compared to 20 years ago. Acidity of the soil reduces it fertility and stunts the growth of the plants and trees.
- Economic effects are also seen as it is very costly to clean up the air, health costs are on the rise.
As mentioned earlier air pollution is all pervasive and hence the most dangerous one. Air pollution; be it indoor or outdoor is very dangerous. It being so common brings it to the top alarmed one. All living things require air to survive and thus exposed to air pollution too. Together we try the corrective measures to control air pollution; it can be eradicated to a very great extent. Hence it is attitude that matters. Live and let live is the best suited motto.