As far as the effects of air pollution go, the most apparent is the impact on human health. It is one of the biggest cause of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, lung cancer etc. It also affects the productivity of animals and plants.
There is also disruption of natural processes like the water cycle, temperature cycle, seasonal fluctuations, carbon and nitrogen fixation, pollination etc which are affected by air pollution.
The damage to the ozone layer is one of the direct consequences of global warming caused by air pollution. Apart from these it also impedes air traffic leading to accidents and crashes etc. There are also dangers of incidents like Chernobyl, Bhopal Gas tragedy etc which are also a manifestation of gross form of air pollution.
Addition of harmful and unwanted substance to air is termed as air pollution. With the advent of industrialization and profuse use of fossil fuels, the quality of air that we breathe has deteriorated continuously. Smokes, gases like carbon monoxide, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide etc. have also contributed to making our air poisonous.
The various causes of air pollution can be traced to the sources of air pollutants. They can be natural processes or human activities. With industries and manufacturing being the backbone of any modern economy, much of the toxic gases released by them affect the atmosphere.
Smoke, gaseous organic compounds, carbon dioxide, HCFCs etc. have negative effects on human health as well as the overall environment. Vehicular emissions of NOx, CO and SOx gases are another big cause of air pollution.
There are certain natural phenomena like a forest fire, volcanic eruption etc which also contribute to air pollution apart from human activity. Gases from agriculture, mining operations, thermal power generators, firecrackers etc, also impact air adversely. Therefore, deforestation and desertification have also aided the increase in air pollution levels.
To control and reduce air pollution we need to apply better planning in terms of location of industries away from human settlements. There is also a need to plant more trees to absorb the effects of air pollution and lower ambient air temperatures.
There is a requirement to switch over to nonpolluting sources of energy like solar, wind etc. in place of fossil fuels. In terms of vehicular fuels, use of alternatives like CNG, biodiesel etc should be incentivized.
Strict regulation of environment impact assessment (Industries, power plants, commercial constructions etc) and regular checking of vehicles must be ensured.
There is a continuous need to engage with all stakeholders and spread awareness about the changing nature and spread of air pollution. This will enable informed dialogue and better accountability and supervision.