Causes of Air Pollution

There are various factors causing air pollution; natural and anthropogenic, which contribute to the introduction of particulates and gases into the atmosphere.

Air pollution is the mixing of unwanted and harmful substances such as chemicals, dust, auto emissions, suspended particles, gases among others in our atmosphere. It can be of two types; indoor and outdoor air pollution. It is a serious threat to the health of living beings and the different ecosystems found in our environment. According to WHO, it was the cause of death of approximately 7 million people around the world in 2014.

Needless to say, there are several human activities which have been consistently polluting the air we breathe. These activities include:

1. Discharges from manufacturing industries and factories

The emissions from manufacturing industries are one of the major causes of air pollution. Harmful particulate matter and gases enter the atmosphere from this source. Major pollutants such as oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and other chemical wastes are deteriorating the quality of the air everywhere.

2. Exhaust from vehicles

Pollution from automobiles is clearly visible in every city of the world. Vehicles run on fossil fuels such as petroleum and gasoline that emit soot and harmful gases such as CO and NOwhich are among the major air pollutants in the environment.

3. Burning of fossil fuels in power plants

Power plants burn a massive amount of fossil fuels such as gas and coal to produce electricity and as a result results in the mass production of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide among others.

4. Mining activities

Mining involves different operations such as drilling, extracting, blasting and transportation. Air pollution from mining is caused because of release of gases such as methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide etc. and other dust and particulate matter during various stages of mining.

5. Agriculture

Ammonia-based fertilizers, which is abundantly released during agriculture, is one of the harmful air pollutants. Also, the increased practice of using fertilizers and pesticides by farmers also releases other unwanted chemicals in the atmosphere.

6. Indoor pollution

Substances causing indoor pollution are chemicals used in cleaning, paints containing lead and suspended particulate matter.

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