Air pollutants can potentially harm human and animal health, damage or hinder vegetation growth, and can make the living conditions in the environment unbearable. In most regions of the world, air pollution has adversely affected people and the environment in various aspects.
1. Hazardous to Human Health
Air pollution threatens the human health in various ways. It causes lung disease and other respiratory problems. On numerous occasions, there is a proven huge connection between human health and air pollution, especially about premature deaths in many developing countries and even the developed world. According to World Health Organization (WHO) report in 2013, it postulates that air pollution causes about two million premature deaths annually.
2. Acid Rain
When the particles, chemicals, and pollutant gasses present in the atmosphere chemically react with water molecules and oxygen, they form acidic compounds. These acid compounds cause damage to vegetations, buildings, and the environment in general. In most cases, the air pollutants such as Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) reacts to create mild nitric and sulfuric acidic respectively. These acidic chemical compounds then combine with various forms of precipitation such as snow, fog, rain, or sleet to form “acid rain.”
Eutrophication refers to the process whereby a water body acquires excessive concentrations of nutrients, particularly owing to runoff deposits of nitrates and phosphates. As a result, it usually encourages the dense growth of plant life and algae. When the plant life and algae die and decompose, the resultant organic matter quickly depletes the available oxygen in the water causing the death of animal life such as fish.
4. Ground-level Ozone
Ground-level ozone, unlike the commonly known good protective ozone layer in the atmosphere, refers to a harmful ozone layer created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) catalyzed by the presence of heat and sunlight. Oxides of nitrogen and VOCs are emitted on a daily basis through air pollution.
5. Other Effects
Apart from the widespread effects of human and animal health as well as the damaging impacts to the environment and vegetations, air pollution also affects our surrounding in several ways. At times when one takes a keen look at the streets of big cities, it is easy to spot how blackened some of the buildings look. The trend is widespread and evident even in places where power plants or factories do not exist.