Issues of Air Pollution in Human Life and Global Environment

What causes air pollution? Air pollution occurs when wastes dirts make the air dirty. People produce most of the waste that cause air pollution. Such waste can be in the form of gases or be particulates (particles of solid or liquid manner). These substance results chiefly from burning fuel to power motor vehicles and to heat buildings. industrial processes and the burning of garbage also contribute to air pollution. Natural pollutants include pollen, soil particulates, dust, and naturally occuring gases. Also more causes of air pollution are forms of transportation such as automobiles, airplanes, ships, and trains.

The primary air pollutants found in most urban areas are carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, lead, and particulate matter (both solid and liquid). These pollutants are dispersed throughout the world's atmosphere in concentrations high enough to gradually cause serious health problems.

The light-headed or nauseous feeling one may get when in an enclosed parking garage or a tunnel, may be the effects of carbon monoxide (CO). This odorless, colorless, but poisonous gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, like gasoline or diesel fuel. Carbon Monoxide comes from cars, trucks, gas furnaces and stoves, and some industrial processes. CO is also a toxin in cigarettes. Carbon Monoxide combines with hemoglobin in the red blood cells, so body cells and tissues cannot get the oxygen they need. Carbon Monoxide attacks the immune system, especially affecting anyone with heart disease, anemia, and emphysema and other lung diseases. Even when at low concentrations CO affects mental function, vision, and alertness.

Nitrogen Oxide is another pollutant that has been nicknamed a jet-age pollutant because it is only apparent in highly advanced countries. Sources of this are fuel plants, cars, and trucks. At lower concentrations nitrogen oxide is a light brown gas. At high concentrations it is a major source of haze and smog. They also combine with other compounds to help form ozone. Nitrogen Oxides cause eye and lung irritation, and lowers the resistance to respiratory illness, such as chest colds, bronchitis, and influenza. For children and people with asthma, this gas can cause death. Nitrogen Oxide may be the most dangerous of these pollutants because it also makes nitric acid, when combine with water in rain, snow, fog, or mist. This then becomes the harmful acid rain.

Sulfur Dioxide is a heavy, smelly, colorless gas which comes from industrial plants, petroleum refineries, paper mills, and chemical plants. When combined with water it becomes sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid dissolves marble, turns plants yellow, and eats away at iron and steel. One can just imagine the possible damage to human tissue. Its effect on people with asthma, heart disease, and emphysema is devastating. It is also a major contributor to acid rain.

When observed near the ground, ozone may be described as a colourless, gaseous pollutant. It is formed by chemical reactions between reactive organic gases and oxides of nitrogen in the presence of sunlight. Ozone is strongly oxidizing and can irritate the eyes and the respiratory tract. It also damages plants. This form of pollutant should not be confused with the formation of ozone in the upper levels of the atmosphere or 'stratosphere'. This formation results from a different process. Ozone at this level is not regarded as a pollutant because it is produced naturally. It is important in absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation and preventing it from reaching the earth.

Undisputedly, the major source of lead in the air is leaded fuel used in motor vehicles. With the introduction of unleaded fuel in 1985 we have seen a substantial decrease in the concentration of lead in the air.

Lead is a heavy metal and when present in the body, can impair brain function, especially in children.