WHAT IS AIR POLLUTION?
Air pollution is when the air becomes too dirty. This happens when gases and fumes that are harmful to humans get into the air. These can damage the natural cycles of the earth. The gases and particles that we add to the air can cause harm to humans. When these harmful gases get into the air they are called air pollution.
CAUSES OF AIR POLLUTION
There are some natural causes of air pollution. These can include volcanic eruptions and large forest fires. But most of the air pollution comes from human activity. The main way that we cause air pollution is burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are coal, oil and natural gas. When we burn these fossil fuels it releases gases into the air which causes air pollution.
The gases and substances that cause air pollution are known as pollutants. Some of the major pollutants include:
- Sulphur dioxide—this is made by burning coal or oil. It is then released into the air. This causes acid rain and can cause breathing related problems such as asthma.
- Carbon monoxide—this is a very dangerous gas. It is given off by cars. Breathing in too much of this at once can kill people
- Carbon dioxide—this is released when we burn fossil fuels. It helps to cause global warming.
IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Air pollution can impact the environment and our health. It can contribute to global warming. This is where the earth heats up because of the gases that we are putting into it. This means that the earth is getting hotter. When the earth heats up animals and crops are more likely to die.
Air pollution can also cause acid rain. This is created when pollutants such as sulphur dioxide get into the atmosphere. The wind can blow these gases for miles and they get washed out of the air when it rains. This acid rain can damage forests and kill fish.
THE OF AIR POLLUTION ON PEOPLE
Air pollution can make people sick. It can make it difficult for people to breathe and can cause diseases that are sometimes deadly. These include lung cancer and heart diseases. 2.4 million people die every year from diseases that are related to air pollution. This will be 6 million people by 2020. It is especially dangerous for children to breathe polluted air.
The impacts can be small like making your eyes itch. But there can also be bigger issues. Inhaling air pollution can take away 1-2 years from a person’s life.
AIR POLLUTION IN AFRICA
Air pollution in Africa can be more deadly than malnutrition and dirty water. It could develop into a health crisis if we do not stop it. It is important that more people get access to energy. But we need to make sure that they get this access in a clean way. This means that getting energy is not harming the health of the people.
The problem of air pollution is too big to ignore. One of the main problems of air pollution is that people do not know about it. This means that they cannot tackle it. With populations growing in Africa and more people using energy the pollution could become very dangerous. Everybody needs to work together now to try and stop air pollution.
HOW YOU CAN HELP TO STOP IT
Any time that you use less energy it can help to stop air pollution. This includes turning lights off after you leave a room. It is important to ensure that we do not waste energy. However we need to make sure that we do not negatively impact ourselves as a result.
Some ways to do this are cutting down on waste. This is because when we make products we have to burn fossil fuels to make them. By consuming too much we are wasting energy. This can lead to air pollution. If we cut down on plastic for example this can help to stop air pollution. It also saves resources for the future. If we all begin to reduce, reuse and recycle then this can help to stop air pollution from harming people.