Air pollution sources, consequences and solutions, protection

Today, the most significant global problem can be considered atmospheric pollution of the planet, t.e. air pollution. Moreover, the main danger of this problem is not only in the shortage of clean air, but rather even in the direct impact of such pollution on global climate change.

First of all, atmospheric air is the main and most important vital element of the space surrounding a person: as a standard, a person inhales about 15 m3 during the day, and in return emits almost 600 liters of carbon dioxide.

Air pollution problem

As of today, about 90% of all people living on the planet breathe air with a high level of pollution that exceeds the established permissible values. And the UN has long recognized the issue of air pollution as the main threat to the health of not only mankind, but the entire planet.

It is air pollution that kills millions of people every year and causes harm to the entire surrounding space. Recently, this problem has given way to pandemic issues, but this has not lost its relevance.

Many invisible particles from the atmosphere penetrate the lungs and blood of a person, and they cause almost a third of deaths that come from stroke, respiratory and cancer (lung cancer) diseases. In the interaction of a variety of polluting factors, sunlight and the resulting squat ozone are able to cause many respiratory problems asthma and the like, which costs at least a trillion dollars annually.

The studies conducted recently make it possible to argue that at least seven million people die from the consequences of such atmospheric pollution annually.

Air pollution has long turned into a threat not only to the health of the planet’s population, but also to the surrounding space, since due to it the content of oxygen in the atmosphere is reduced, biodiversity is reduced and climatic conditions are changed.

Not so long ago, under the auspices of the UN, the first global assessment of national laws relating to air pollution was carried out in almost two hundred countries and states of the European Union, as a result of which it was concluded that in almost a third of the countries studied there is no regulatory framework for acts defining standards level and quality of the atmosphere.

Sources and types of air pollution

Atmospheric air is one of the main and essential factors of the surrounding space that affect the health of mankind, because without air you can live no more than a few minutes.

Air pollution occurs in two ways:

  • Natural, when pollution is associated with natural processes and exists constantly (for example, dust resulting from the influence of wind on the ground).
  • Basically, this process is closely related to the flow in the territory where there is no or almost no vegetation: steppe or desert, since the wind easily blows soil particles into the atmosphere.

    Natural pollutants include volcanoes (their eruptions are accompanied by the release of millions of tons of ash), or natural fires, as well as sea salt fumes, cosmic dust, animal emissions and other factors.

  • Anthropogenic, when atmospheric pollution is directly related and caused by human activities.
  • These sources of pollution include:

  • Transport (various emissions from operating transport: trains, ships, cars, and it is this source that is the main pollutant in industrial states).
  • Metallurgy enterprises (emissions of solid particles, oxides and harmful substances manganese, lead, during the smelting of non-ferrous or ferrous metals).
  • Power plants of various types (thermal, nuclear), emissions (smoke) from the combustion process of fuel, both liquid and solid. This releases carbon dioxide, various vapors and particulate matter.
  • Waste dumps, including garbage and products of its processing, and other substances that are formed during the combustion of fuel.
  • Animal and other complexes, as well as substances used as pesticides to combat crop problems, if it is a rural area.
  • Causes of air pollution

    According to UNP UN program, the process of air pollution is due, in most cases, several types of activity of people:

  • Agriculture,
  • industry,
  • transport,
  • waste,
  • household.
  • In the atmosphere, you can find a wide variety of substances and elements that significantly affect the composition and concentration of airspace.

    Air pollution is affected by the emissions and activities of various industrial facilities, vehicle emissions, radioactive processes, household or industrial waste, and agricultural production.

    So, during the combustion of substances (whether waste, fuel or other substances), the atmosphere is filled with combustion products and it is they that significantly affect the state of the atmosphere. Construction dust and many other consequences of anthropogenic activity can have the same impact. It is natural that the higher the level of inventions of mankind, the greater the number of sources of pollution can be found.

    Effects

    The harmful components that are contained in the atmosphere are able to affect the human body through direct contact with the surface of the epidermis (skin), or mucous membrane: for example, if a person in a sweaty state is in a gasped space through open pores.

    It must be understood that, along with the respiratory system, polluted air can also affect the visual system and even the sense of smell, and upon contact with the mucous membrane of the larynx, it can even cause a spasm of the ligaments. And inhaled particles up to 1 micron in size (solid or liquid) are able to reach the alveoli of the lungs and be adsorbed in the circulatory system (even in the lymph nodes).

    The air, burdened with pollution, most often irritates the respiratory tract, which causes bronchitis, emphysema and asthmatic phenomena. Sulphurous, nitrogenous fumes, as well as a variety of suspended particles, can have a particularly irritating effect.

    The main properties and consequences of the influence of a polluted atmosphere on the human body in most cases are manifested by a change in the level of general health, its deterioration: headaches, weakness, changes in working capacity, nausea up to vomiting).

    Based on these indicators, scientists were able to conclude that a significant part of the pollutants are able to end up in the human body through the lungs. Studies have shown that daily, inhaling about 15 kg of atmospheric air, there are much more dangerous substances in the person’s body than they do with water or food.

    It is the inhalation method of receiving hazardous substances into the human body that can be called the most dangerous, since:

  • The air can be found in the air the widest spectrum of substances dangerous for humans. Moreover, some of them can emphasize and strengthen the negative properties of each other.
  • Since harmful substances from polluted air enter the human body through the respiratory tract, they pass by such a serious biochemical barrier with protective functions as the liver and therefore their toxic influence exceeds the effect of substances that penetrate the body through the gastrointestinal tract, about once into a hundred.
  • Once in the body through the respiratory system, substances have a much faster absorption than those toxins that enter the body with food or water.
  • Atmospheric intoxication cannot be avoided, because such substances affect the body 24 hours 365 days a year.
  • The main cause of deaths from air pollution is oncology, congenital pathologies and malfunctions of the immune system.

    The combustion of a wide variety of fuels is characterized by a common feature the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a gas that, together with other greenhouse gases, can give rise to the greenhouse effect, the most dangerous phenomenon on the planet. Such an impact guarantees the destruction of the protective ozone layer, namely, it provides protection from ultraviolet radiation, which in turn leads to the effect of global warming and planetary climate change.

    The main consequence of the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the associated global warming can be called the melting of glaciers, as a result of which the level of the World Ocean changes, which can lead to flooding of islands and other coastal areas in the future and constant flooding.

    Toxic elements released into the air often fall as acid rain. Getting into the water system of the planet, such precipitation can change the composition of water and cause the destruction of flora and fauna in water bodies.

    Atmospheric pollution is today recognized as a local problem in most megacities, which has become a global problem.

    Air pollution level

    The level of air pollution is usually determined by the air quality index, or AQI. This abbreviation is accepted in all world bodies of the state level of environmental orientation in order to inform the society about the pollution indicator, as well as to predict it.

    When the AQI level changes by significant values, this has a significant impact on the health of the nation, and this indicator will be different for different states, focusing on national standards.

    Determination of the air quality index and its calculation requires obtaining complete information about the air pollution index related to a certain average period of time, which was obtained through the monitoring of atmospheric gas analyzers, or using calculation methods (less accurate methods), when the concentration of toxic substances is taken into account. substances and the moment of their distribution in the atmosphere. And with the help of epidemiological studies, it is possible to determine the effect of a certain amount of toxins on human health.

    Toxins entering the atmosphere are usually distinguished by their functionality and strength in order to be able to convert them into an atmospheric quality index, which is usually determined by levels, each of which has its own classification: its description, characteristics, color distribution and standards of impact on the health of society.

    AQI can change upwards due to many factors: traffic, fires, direction and presence of wind, or lack of diluents that can neutralize toxins. The fixed layers of the atmosphere, caused by anticyclones, temperature changes or small winds, allow the air to stay in one place, and this provides the highest level of concentration of toxic substances. Chemical reaction between toxins can lead to smog.

    Air pollution map

    Ecologists and doctors are increasingly talking about the problems of pollution of the surrounding atmosphere and air quality. The level of concentration of toxins and dust in the atmosphere increasingly reaches critical points and this cannot but affect the health of society.

    And to understand the real state of affairs in the field of purity of the atmosphere in your region, you can use any of the many varied online tools in the form of air pollution maps that are presented on many Internet resources in recent years.

    Ecological map of the world

    The establishment of the atmosphere quality index in various territories and the state allows us to talk about the development of national atmosphere quality standards. Many web resources of state-level institutions make it possible at any time, online to get information about air quality (in particular, this applies primarily to the AQI index) and this information is available in almost all major cities on the planet.

    Such environmental maps provide an excellent opportunity to visually study the quality of atmospheric air in a city or region of interest to you.

    But it should be understood that due to frequent changes in the ecological situation, map information cannot always serve as a source of objective data on the real state of an area or territory.

    Solutions and protection of air from pollution

    The issue of combating air pollution is now attracting special attention (in particular, from the UN), as there are more and more problems of the negative impact of the atmosphere on human health.

    Air pollution has been found to increase the risk of diabetes and dementia. And this is in addition to the fact that air pollution can lead to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

    The UN has stopped turning a blind eye to this issue and is trying to achieve the activation of the most global events that would be aimed at cleaning the air and the planet as a whole.

    Improving the quality of the atmosphere is a direct and immediate responsibility of the state, which is supported by private obligations, ensuring a gradual reduction in the release of harmful substances into the atmosphere and other air pollution.

    The main measure of decreasing the amount of toxic components in the atmosphere, if we are talking about large industrial cities, is the work towards increasing the share of using electric transport.

    In order to reduce the level of negative impact on the environment in the field of air pollution, the following actions are required:

  • Providing companies and industrial enterprises with modern systems for cleaning emissions and waste;
  • Transfer of solid fuel boiler houses to natural gas or other renewable (alternative) energy sources: sun, water or wind;
  • Improving the efficiency of the system for the accumulation of various types of waste, including their processing;
  • Restoration and protection of the “lung” systems of the planet forests and oceans.
  • At the same time, every inhabitant of the planet is not only able, but also obliged to make a feasible contribution to changing the state of the Earth’s airspace:

  • Prohibition of burning garbage (including foliage);
  • Cleaning up your outdoor waste, including plastic and bottles (for example, glass containers can cause serious fires);
  • Application for cooking on the grill charcoal;
  • Provide separation of waste and garbage;
  • Maintenance of personal vehicles;
  • Caring for and planting green spaces in the city.
  • Impact of air pollution on humans and nature

    The level of air pollution today is considered to be the most significant global problem and threat to human health, which annually causes millions of deaths and countless diseases: air pollution contributes to a huge number of diseases from asthma to cancer and cardiovascular problems.

    At the same time, it is environmental pollution and particulate matter in the air that are one of the main components of oncology, according to research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

    According to the latest WHO analyzes and assessments, exposure to polluted air is recognized as a greater risk factor (for noncommunicable diseases) than previously thought.

    The main substances that have a negative impact on health in the atmosphere are nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, ozone and various particulate matter (especially less than 2.5 microns), are able to penetrate into the deep layers of the lungs, affecting both the respiratory system and the vascular system, and when affecting the state of health, both the degree of air pollution and the duration of its exposure are important.

    According to the WHO, in the Europe region, air pollution affects every member of society in one way or another, and more than 90% of the population is exposed to particulate matter, the level of which exceeds the guidelines for ambient air quality.

    It must be understood that the effects of pollution in the atmosphere can have not only direct consequences of the body: for example, freons safe for humans, falling into the atmosphere and decomposing there, destroy the ozone layer with all the ensuing consequences with all the ensuing consequences.

    Thus, carbon monoxide can lead to death, and the salts of heavy metals and ozone are extremely toxic, while the finedispersed mixture of soot when combustible in the engine has a carcinogenic property.

    The effects of air on climate changes also have negative consequences on health, since they are guaranteed to reduce the areas necessary for agriculture.

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