AIR POLLUTION TO FIND OUT THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION
JOHN MAINA MUCHIRI
Pollution is the process of making land, water, air or other parts of the environment dirty and unsafe or unsuitable to use. Pollution is further categorized into many other categories such as air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution and thermal pollution.
Air pollution is the permeation of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful gases into Earth’s atmosphere, causing disease, damage to other living organisms. Air pollution may come from reliable industries or natural sources Air pollution is caused by the injurious smoke emitted by cars, buses, trucks, trains, and factories, namely Sulphur (IV) oxide, carbon (IV) oxide and nitrogen oxides. Even smoke from burning leaves and cigarettes are harmful to the environment causing a lot of damage to man and the atmosphere. Evidence of increasing air pollution is seen in lung cancer, asthma, allergies, and various breathing problems along with severe and irreparable damage to flora and fauna(Diaz, Hurlbert ; Warren; pers comm.)
(Kumar, Kumar ;Joshi; 2005) demonstrated that open burning of crop residue especially rice in rice fields results in the emission of many harmful gasses in the atmosphere like carbon (IV) oxide, Nitrogen Oxides, Sulphur (iv) oxides and methane. This also results in the loss of plant nutrients thus adversely affecting soil properties.
Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1860s, there has been a dramatic increase in the concentration of carbon emissions leading to the greenhouse effect. This is due to increased consumption of fossil fuels which has contributed to 80% of the carbon emissions. These carbon emissions have resulted to global warming which is basically, the increase in the global average temperature by 20 C a change that would cause severe ecological and environmental destruction (Hung Ye, Keli ; Huan Guo; 2013).
a(Huan Yu ; Xian Lin pers comm.) issued a statement report that people living around industries that utilize coal as their main source of energy are more subjected to the effects of air pollution. Burning coal produces dust, Bap, Sulphur dioxides, Carbon (IV) oxide, Nitrogen (IV) oxides and ammonia which are highly toxic. The effects of Bap, a toxic chemical is that it brings mutation by changing the genetic chords of the DNA and eventually leading to cancer and birth defects, the dust makes the cornea and skin mucous membrane to have a negative pathological change.
Air pollution is a mixture of natural and man-made substances in the air we breathe. It is typically separated into two categories: outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution.
Outdoor air pollution involves exposures that take place outside of the built environment. Examples include:
Fine particles produced by the burning of fossil fuels (i.e. the coal and petroleum used in energy production)
Noxious gases (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, chemical vapors, etc.)
Ground-level ozone (a reactive form of oxygen and a primary component of urban smog)
Tobacco SmokeIndoor air pollution involves exposures to particulates, carbon oxides, and other pollutants carried by indoor air or dust. Examples include:
Gases (carbon monoxide, radon, etc.)
Household products and chemicals
Building materials (asbestos, formaldehyde, lead, etc.)
Outdoor indoor allergens (cockroach and mouse dropping, etc.)
Mold and pollen
In some instances, outdoor air pollution can make its way indoors by way of open windows, doors, ventilation, etc. Over the past 30 years, researchers have unearthed a wide array of health effects which are believed to be associated with air pollution exposure. Among them are respiratory diseases (including asthma and changes in lung function), cardiovascular diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes (such as preterm birth), and even death. In 2013, the World Health Organization concluded that outdoor air pollution is a carcinogen to human. Indoor air pollution can be reduced by making sure that a building is well-ventilated and cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of agents like dust and mold. Occupants would also be wise to remove any known pollutants and or irritants (aerosols, stringent cleaning supplies, etc.) whenever possible.
Outdoor air pollution exposures can be reduced by checking one’s Air Quality Index (AQI), avoiding heavy traffic when possible, and avoiding secondhand tobacco smoking. While climate change is a global process, it has very local impacts that can profoundly affect communities, not the least of which is air pollution. Increasing temperatures are directly linked to poor air quality which, in turn, can affect the heart and exacerbate cardiovascular disease. Examples of this may include a rise in pollen, due to increased plant growth, or a rise in molds, due to severe storms — both of which can worsen allergies and other lung diseases, such as asthma ( pers comm.).
Air pollutants have continued to cause changes in tree condition, tree physiology, and biogeochemical cycling; lowered tree resistance to insects and disease; and affected the function of diverse forest types in the world. In Europe for example, critical loads for soils are exceeded, and critical levels for O3 are exceeded at most monitoring plots. Over 22% of trees assessed are still moderately to severely defoliated and acid deposition threatens understory vegetation. Effects have been shown to cascade from gene-expression all the way through to ecosystem. Approaches used to assess forest health must be re-examined if we are to improve detection of future change and elucidation of the roles of natural and anthropogenic stressors (Percy,2008).
Air pollution poses a threat to many forests and vegetation cover due to the effect of acid. This makes the trees to be more susceptible to pest and disease attacks. Initially, pollution affects the leaves, where it arrests the regulation of evapotranspiration and damages the chlorophyll system which is the source of photosynthesis, thus weakening the plant by making it vulnerable to hydric “stress” and reducing its nutrition. This causes damage to the root system, further reducing the nutrition of the organism. In the long term, changes in the composition of the soil made by acid precipitation can release harmful substances. The initial manifestations are reflected by a decrease in annual tree growth(Anon pers comm.).
Air pollution by industries can be minimized by employing a number of control measures that are available. They include cyclone collectors, baghouses, a wide variety of scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators, demisters, agglomerators, tall stacks and glass fiber filters. A well-designed control system must certain requirements where; they must be properly sized for the gas volume, fit in the available factory space, be reliable, durable, constructed of suitable material, be compatible with the basic process and finally it must require to instrumentation to ensure smooth operation and long life (Spenser,2012).
Other mitigation measures issued to curb the CO2 concentration may include reducing the effect of global warming by promoting CO2 through the promotion of plant growth(Schoichivo,2016).
(Briggs et al,2010) shows that there are major improvements in the air quality in many European cities in last 20 years. Levels of SO2 has declined as a result of the industrial restructuring, technological changes, and pollution control but the rapid growth in road traffic has given rise to new pollutants such as Nitrogen oxides.
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