The Modern world is going through a tough time as pollution is increasing day-by-day exponentially. The word ‘pollution’ means ‘presence of the harmful and poisonous substance in the environment.’ Our surroundings where we live is our environment. If some external and unwanted material contaminates this, then it is called to be polluted. Air, water, and soil are part of our environment. Hence pollution can be categorized as Air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution and there are several other types of pollution such as sound pollution, light pollution, etc.
Air comprises of nitrogen (78%), oxygen(21%), carbon dioxide(0.6), and rest other gases. Air is said to be polluted if the above composition gets disturbed. Since air constitutes oxygen, which is essential for sustaining life, any contamination in the air creates a threat to human life, when we breathe pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc., inhaled through the air, which consequently causes various health hazards and respiratory diseases.
In India, cities like Delhi and Mumbai are the most affected cities, where air pollution is at an alarming level. Every year more than 10 most polluted cities out of 15, are Indian cities. Air pollution is measured in ‘pm’ that is particulate matter.’ Polluted air containing more proportion of pm2.5 (particulate matter of 2.5 micrometer) poses a more significant threat to health due to its tiny size, low visibility, and inhalable property.
Cause of air pollution
There are various reasons for air pollution, but the major contributor to air pollution is the unchecked release of gases/smoke from factories and automobiles. Factories allow smokes to release into the atmosphere without proper treatment. Smoke from automobiles is also a significant source of air pollution. Air can be polluted due to the use of woods as a fuel resource in the houses. Excessive use of petroleum is also a common cause of air pollution. Burning of plastics, rubber, and other toxics material releases poisonous gases into the environment and causes air pollution. Volcanic eruption and forest fire also cause air pollution.
Now a –days a new type of problem has arisen in India that is burning of surplus crops, this practice is a significant cause of pollution in the neighboring states. For example, residual crop burning practice in Haryana causes massive air pollution in Delhi. Improper waste disposal practice at Nuclear Power Plants and Chemical Factory also a significant cause of air pollution.
Adverse Effects of air pollution
Since air is sine-qua-non for every human being as it provides us oxygen, thus pollution or contamination in the air affects everybody adversely, especially older adults and small children are more vulnerable to it, due to their weak immunity. Pollutants through the air reach to our lungs and damage it. Due to this, poisonous and harmful gases are running into our blood through the air, and degrade our health gradually.
Now- a -days respiratory problems have been prevalent in big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata due to the increment of particulate matter in the air. It can cause severe diseases like cancer, asthma, lung disease, etc. It also irritates the eyes and other dermatological problems. Air pollution has been a prime carrier of airborne diseases and other non-communicable diseases, which can consequently result in death. Air pollution decreases the visibility through the air, which is responsible for often road accidents in the cities. It not only cause the problem to human beings but disturbs the entire ecosystem. Due to the presence of pollutants in the atmosphere, it traps sunlight and causes global warming. Global warming is responsible for increasing sea level and melting of glaciers, due to global warming climate pattern of the world has also been disturbed. It also leads to ozone layer depletion.
Way to Control Air Pollution
As this very problem is a threat to the entire human race, it must be treated with utmost priorities and care. First of all, we must try to minimize the use of fossil fuel and encourage the use of LPG gas in households and CNG in automobiles. The use of coal and other material in the furnaces of the factory must be prohibited. If used, proper purification of the smoke gases must be ensured with prime importance. Burning of plastics, medical waste, and other toxic material must be stopped. Medical wastages and other laboratory chemical wastages must be treated before disposal.
We should minimize the use of home appliances, which produces harmful gases like CFC and SO2; instead of using these appliances, we should try to use the natural options available to us. Instead of using AC all the time we should spend our time in open areas, where we can get fresh air. We should minimize the use of electricity to consume energy, as energy consumption is directly related to the burning of coal in the power plants to generate that energy, we should move towards an alternate source of energy like solar energy.
Govt. must take strict measures to check and monitor air pollution. They should bring specific laws that would facilitate pollution-free energy and prohibit pollution from spreading sources. There should be strict rules for factories and industries to comply with energy laws and pollution control laws.
As we trace our existence from the environment and it has a very delicate balance, so we must not interfere with it just for satisfying our material needs. We must respect our mother’s nature’ and vowed to protect it. We should apply our efforts to check air pollution and make our surroundings a better place for living. While doing any infrastructure development work, we must keep the points of sustainable development in our minds and try to comply with that.
Humans create air pollution because we use automobiles, which release various gases that pollute the environment. Therefore it is our sole responsibility to use renewable sources of energy and make use of vehicles and equipment that do not cause pollution.