Air pollution is among the world’s leading killers. It’s responsible for 1 in every nine deaths (about 6.4 million deaths annually). This is approximately three times higher than the deaths associated with tuberculosis, AIDS, and Malaria combined. According to WHO, 2 billion children stay in areas where the outdoor air pollution exceeds the set international limits. WHO also believes that about 300 million children also live in regions where air pollution exceeds six times the set international limits.
Here are the impacts of air pollution
When chemicals, particles, and poisonous gases are present in the atmosphere, they react with rainwater and oxygen gas to form acidic compounds. In most cases, toxic gases such as Nitrogen Oxides and Sulphur Dioxide react to form weak nitric acid and sulfuric acid. These compounds then combine with different forms of precipitation such as rain, sleet, snow or fog to form acid rain.
Acid rain is associated with many negative effects on the environment. For instance, it damages leaves of plants, and in worst cases, it can kill the plants. Acid rain also interferes with the PH of water in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. This change in water PH can kill fish and other aquatic animals.
Hazardous to human health
One of the main reasons we should control air pollution is that it’s dangerous to our health. Air pollution is the leading cause of lung disease and other related respiratory issues. There is a proven connection between air pollution and human health. According to a report released by WHO in 2013, air pollution the number of deaths associated with air pollution is higher in developing countries than in developed nations.
The health effects associated with air pollution depends on the duration of exposure, the concentration, and type of chemicals or particles you are exposed to. The immediate impacts include upper respiratory infections like bronchitis, irritation of eyes and nasal cavity, and pneumonia. Long-term health effects include heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, lung cancer, and other health challenges such as serious harm to the kidneys, brain, liver, and nerves.
This is the process whereby waterbodies acquire large amounts of nutrients, owing to runoff deposits of phosphates and nitrates. These nutrients promote the dense growth of algae and other plants that grow on water. When these plants die and decompose, the resulting organic matter tends to deplete oxygen in water very fast, killing aquatic animals such as fish.
Unlike the known protective ozone layer in the atmosphere, the ground-level ozone refers to a harmful layer created by a series of chemical reactions between volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. The reaction is catalyzed by sunlight.
The so-called ground-level ozone is the leading cause of global warming and climate change. Inhaling the gases associated with this layer can result in a broad range of health disorders for children and even adults.
In addition to the widespread health effects, damage to the environment, and the creation of ground-level ozone, air pollution also affects the surroundings in many other ways. If you check buildings near various factories and power plants, you will be surprised how some of these buildings have blackened.