Effects of air pollution on human health and environment

Air pollution is becoming a serious concern in every country. air pollutant shows serious impacts on human health, especially respiratory problem. Apart from this, the effects of air pollution are also seen on flora, materials, structures, animals, aquatic life and climate.

Effects of air pollution on human health

Respiratory problems

Manganese: Breathing related effects seen from manganese inhalation exposure such as increased susceptibility to dyspnea, cough, bronchitis, and infectious lung disease. Also, some effects can be seen in the nervous system. The sources of manganese some manufacturer areas where manganese used to make a product such as steel.

Chromium: Industries such as automobiles, refining, refractory processing, cement producing plants, and iron industries are the predominant sources of chromium emission in the air. Chromium is emitted in the form of small particles. Chromium toxicity mainly affects the respiratory system, and related diseases such as asthma and lung cancer could be seen.

Carbon monoxide: Carbon monoxidebinding with hemoglobin in the bloodstream, and produces carboxyhemoglobin ( COHB) that reduced the o2 delivery to other organs. The CO emitted from human body metabolism, incomplete combustion, and smoking.

According to the WHO report

An estimated seven million people die due to air pollution worldwide every year; Most of these deaths are due to stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections.

Particulate matter: Suspended particulates such as PM10 and PM2.5 can damage lung tissues and diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and cancer could be seen.

Sulfur dioxide: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) obstructs the respiratory tract and can lead to conditions such as bronchitis.

Nitrogen oxides: Nitrogen oxides can irritate the lungs and cause observed such as chronic bronchitis. Suspended particulates can damage lung tissues and diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and cancer could be seen.



Nervous system and cancer

The pollutant lead enters the human body through inhalation and ingestion. The lead enters the human system through ingestion. Lead can affect hemoglobin synthesis, renal function, and neurological function. Lead affects the children especially the function of the brain. Other pollutants like mercury, cadmium, and hydrocarbons lead to cancerogenic.

Others health problem

Some pollutants such as spray and pollens lead to allergies. Many other air pollutants like benzene formaldehyde and polychlorinated biphenyls can cause mutations, reproductive problems. Ground-level ozone causes headaches, dryness of mucous membranes, and changes eye vision.

Effects of air pollution on vegetation

On the plants

  • PAN shows glazing and silvering on the lower surface of the leaf.
  • SO2 causes chlorosis, bleached spots and also results in the death of cells.
  • Chlorine and ozone show likely the same symptoms such as damages cereals and cotton crops
  • nitrogen oxides and hydrogen fluoride show irregularity of leaves and reduce crop yield.
  • Smoke and dust cover the leaf surface and reduce the photosynthetic capacity of plants. 
  • other airborne pollutants such as ammonia, mercury, sulfuric acid, ethylene show the various symptoms of the leaf, like tip and margin burns, necrotic spots, brown or red spots.

Acid deposition

Acid deposition refers to the deposition of acid constituents on the ground in the dry or wet form. If such constituents fall on the ground in a wet form then it’s called acid rain. Acid constituents could be SO2, NO2, and HNO3. Acid deposition shows the effect such as alter soil composition, pH of water, and nutrient content.

Effects on animals and aquatic life

Due to Acid rain, the pH of ponds or freshwater decreased. This affects aquatic life including fish, macrophytes and other forms of life present in water bodies.

Chronic fluoride is the main toxic to hazardous for cattle; it shows effects in teeth and bones. And tolerance of fluoride varies for every animal.

Effects of air pollution on materials

The presence of SO2 and moisture can accelerate corrosion of metallic surfaces such as zinc, which galvanized over iron.

Limestone deteriorates in the presence of air pollutants SO2, CO2, and smoke. SO2 can deteriorate the composition of leather and paper. SO2 air pollution could be accelerating the deterioration of medieval glass. SO2 also affect the paint on automobiles and walls. In some research found that ozone may crack the rubber products under such conditions.

Effects of air pollution on atmosphere and climate

The earth has been warming for the past few years because of the increase in CO2, CFC, methane, and nitrous oxide greenhouse gases. Due to the rise in global temperature, several impacts on climate can be seen like melting of the glacier, excessive rain or drought, irregularity in season, etc.

Acid rain is another consequence of air pollution. The emission of CFC is increased in ozone layer depletion which can have long term effects.

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