Air pollution is defined as any contamination of the atmosphere that disturbs the natural composition and chemistry of the air.
Types of air pollution
- Particulate matter such as dust.
- Harmful gases -, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other vapours that cannot be effectively removed through natural cycles, such as the carbon or nitrogen cycle.
Sources of air pollution
- Exhaust fumes from vehicles.
- The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, or gas.
- Harmful off-gasing from things such as paint, plastic production, and so on.
- Radiation spills or nuclear accidents.
- Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, dry soil erosion, and other natural sources.
- Building construction or demolition.
Effects of air pollution
Depending on the concentration of air pollutants, several effects can be noticed.
- Increased incidences of smog.
- Higher rain acidity.
- Crop depletion from inadequate oxygen.
- Higher rates of asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases.
Union Carbide Toxic Gas Release in Bhopal, India
On the night of December 2nd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal.
Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure.
Image: International Business Times