Air Pollution – Harmful Effects and Control Measures


Air Pollution/Pollution is generally known to be the act or process of contaminating anything or causing such a thing to be in a soiled or dirty state that is considered healthily unfit or unsuitable to be put into use or consumed.

Air pollution n its own niche is the process where a harmful substance that comes in the form of solid, liquid and gas and also nose is released into the environment ins such a way that the air in such an environment becomes harmful to man, animal and other natural resources in the environment.

These substances which when released into the air causes it to get contaminated and unhealthy for breathing known as air pollutants can be broadly grouped into two;

  1. Solid Air Pollutants which constitute of particulate materials, such as dust particles, radioactive rays, smokes, and others
  2. Gaseous Air Pollutants which comprises of substances such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons and other chemicals like hydrogen floride, ammonia, lead oxide, hydrochloric acid etc.

Generally, the breakdown of air pollutants is given below;

  • Carbon Dioxide – 45%
  • Particulate Matter – 15
  • Oxides of Sulphur – 13%
  • Hydrocarbons – 12%
  • Oxides of Nitrogen – 10%
  • Others: H2s. HF, NH3 etc – 5%

Sources of Air Pollution.

Air pollutants are generated in or from various processes and at different places, but majorly, they are created as a result of the following;

Chemical Industries: Many chemical industrial processes that solve things such as the blast furnace, petroleum refineries, coal mining, rubber processing the likes do produce harmful gasses such as carbon oxides (mono and dioxide) hydrocarbons and other chemical substances that pollute the air.

  • Fuel Combustion: Activities that involve the burning of fuel especially non-bio fuels like in cars, electricity generators and other combustion engines do generate gases like sulphur and its oxides.
  • Radioactive Reactions: Activities leading to nuclear fusion or fission to produce radioactive rays, which are high potential air pollutants and are very harmful to living materials that are exposed to them or that come in uncontrolled contact with them.
  • Mechanical Industries: Mechanical processes such as cutting crushing, grinding, spray operations and others do produce particulate materials and even noise that contaminates the air.
  • Domestic Activities: Domestic activities such as inadequate waste disposal, lack of proper toilets or latrines for defecation and so on do constitute substances that pollute the air.

Effects of Air Pollution.

The effects of the release of these harmful substances into the environment are;

  1. Radioactive rays when contacted do cause unhealthy variation of genes in humans, livestock and other animals know as gene mutation. Radioactive substances like Nikel and Beryllium is carcinogenic, and, therefore, causes cancer, cadmium causes cardiovascular disease, kidney, and lungs damage. Manganese when inhaled causes brain and kidney damage. compounds of fluorine affect the bones of the human etc.
  2. Particulate materials that arise from mechanical processes can cause Asthma, lead to Nasal irritation, cause cough, skin irritation, lung cancer, suffocation, nausea, cause chronic bronchitis.

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