Pollution of the Air: What Causes It?

Because of the detrimental impact it has on the atmosphere, air pollution has become a global threat (Austin, Brimblecombe & Sturges 2002). In various continents, the scale of the damage caused by air pollution is no longer taken lightly. Increased emission levels, caused by both human and natural causes, have increased the health threats to humans and other living creatures. Many countries around the world are battling pollution’s consequences by attempting to regulate the main causes of environmental degradation. Countries like China, where there is high growth of industries has seen pollution increases drastically to a level that it poses health risks on its dense population (Austin, Brimblecombe & Sturges 2002). Hence, it is common to find people using air masks to avoid inhaling the harmful substances in the air. Developing countries especially in Africa are also fast contributing to increased air pollution as they set up industries to manufacture their raw materials. Significantly, G8 superpowers have been meeting to devise means of regulating pollution and climate change in the world. Unless the causes of air pollution are critically identified, it is unrealistic to find a panacea to the dangers it poses to the environment. Considerably, air pollution is caused by human factors such as emissions from industries, fossil fuel burning, deforestation, wood fires, and smoking as well as natural dynamics including tornadoes and volcanoes.
First, industrialization has led to the growth of many manufacturing plants as human technology advances (Austin, Brimblecombe & Sturges 2002). The industries, in all developed and developing countries in the world emit pollutants such as hydrofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide gases into the atmosphere. The gases are produced from fuels used in the industries to propel engines. Evidently, industries have chimneys where such gases are emitted through to the air where it circulates and causes pollution. Arguably, as the number of industries continues to increase, the leave of pollution also rises. Studies indicate that China, with its many industries has the leading level of air pollution in the world ((Austin, Brimblecombe & Sturges 2002)olls, 2002). The several industries manufacturing different types of merchandize for the international market has promoted pollution. However, due to the increasing competition for industrialization, other countries too have established their own industries which have also promoted air degradation. The demand for farming and household chemicals is on the rise. Pesticides and herbicides found in agricultural stores, cleaning agents among other products continue to circulate and further propagate air pollution. At the same time, mechanization of transportation has heightened pollution as cars, trains, airplanes and shipping vessels burn fossil fuels and emits dangerous gases. Additionally, deforestation increases the levels of hazardous carbon dioxide in the air.
Second, natural processes such as volcanoes and tornadoes also escalate air pollution (Colls, 2002). The release toxic gases including: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride among other pollutants. Studies indicate that countries that have suffered from volcanoes have had its people exhibit signs of air pollution. Volcanic activities also produce sulfur, ash particles and chlorine which are dangerous pollutants. For example, in Italian Etna, in the island of Sicily, an eruption occurred and as a result many dangerous gases were emitted (Colls, 2002). Ideally, an erupting volcano ejects gases and matter that are harmful to living things. Forest fires also emit large quantities of particulates that are detrimental to living things. Observably, wild animals in conservancies or any of their settings usually cause pollution through their rapid movements in large numbers. When animals move in numbers, they produce dust that is part of the air pollutants. Further, when rocks erode, toxins such as radon are emitted onto the air. Importantly, pets are also a threat to the air because they produce dust from skin flakes and hair. Critically, mites on wood produce enzymes and methane among other pollutants.
Arguably, the natural and human factors that cause air pollution indicate the magnitude of the environmental degradation that the world faces (Colls, 2002). Comparably, natural causes are relatively better than the human factors because the former are generally of lesser effects as compared to the consequences posed by the latter. While natural causes can cause as much destruction as the human factors, the latter continues to increase at alarming rates. When it comes to the natural causes, they are rare and often occur as accidents while the human caused pollution is deliberate and continues to increase at uncontrolled levels. For example, tornadoes and volcanoes are rare and usually occur at a spun of many years. The effects are dangerous but fade after a while. Debatably, the number of such natural calamities is few and often takes place in particular places. For instance, Africa does not have recent cases of tornadoes and volcanoes and the continent is thus safe from air pollution caused by such natural disasters. Conversely, the human causes are increasing at a worrying trend. Industries are growing throughout the world and many people are buying and using cars, planes and other machines that burn fossil fuel. Additionally, deforestation and other forms of environmental destruction continue to pose a threat to the environment. Hence, natural causes of air pollution will continue to devastate the air and contribute to damages to the environment.

Austin J., Brimblecombe P. & Sturges W. (eds.). 2002. Air Pollution Science for the 21st Century. New York: Elsevier Science Limited
Colls, J. 2002. Air Pollution. New York: Spon Press

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