Any physical, chemical or biological change in the air is referred to as air pollution. The contamination of air by harmful gases, dust, and smoke has a significant impact on plants, animals, and humans. A pollutant is a substance that pollutes the environment. Pollutants are substances that are present in higher concentrations than their natural abundance and are produced as a result of human activities or natural occurrences. Generally, air pollution is classified as tropospheric and stratospheric pollution.
Tropospheric pollution occurs when there are undesirable gaseous or solid particles in the atmosphere. The major gaseous and particulate pollutants found in the troposphere are as follows:
Gaseous Air Pollutants
These are oxides of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen sulphide, hydrocarbons, ozone and other oxidants.
Particulates are small solid particles or liquid droplets in the air. These can be found in vehicle emissions, smoke particles from fires, dust particles, and industrial ash. Particulates in the atmosphere may or may not be viable. Bacteria, fungi, moulds, algae, and other viable particulates are minute living organisms that are dispersed in the atmosphere.
The depletion of the ozone layer (ozone hole) caused by certain compounds, such as nitrogen oxides and chlorofluorocarbons, is referred to as stratospheric pollution (CFCs). The stratosphere is a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere that exists just above the troposphere and below the mesosphere. More about environmental pollution can be understood in a better way by studying air pollution questions.
Effects of Air Pollution
Air pollutants have ended in numerous breathing issues and coronary heart illnesses amongst humans. The instances of lung cancer have increased in the previous few decades. Children dwelling close to polluted regions are extra vulnerable to pneumonia and asthma. Many human beings die every 12 months because of the direct or oblique results of air pollution.
Due to the emission of greenhouse gases, there may be an imbalance in the gaseous composition of the air. This has brought about a boom in the temperature of the earth. This boom in earth’s temperature is said to be global warming. This has resulted in the melting of glaciers and a boom in sea levels. Many regions are submerged underwater.
When fossil fuels are burned, harmful gases, such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides, are released into the air. Water droplets combine with these pollutants, turning acidic and falling as acid rain, which harms humans, animals and plants.
The natural or human-made causes that lead to the cutting of trees and the reduction of forest cover are referred to as deforestation. In general, it is the human activities of urbanisation, construction, etc., that are the main cause of deforestation around the world. This is a serious environmental problem as it can lead to loss of biodiversity, damage to natural habitats, disruption of the water cycle and soil erosion. Deforestation also contributes to climate change and global warming.
Causes of Deforestation
The main causes of deforestation are listed below:
- Construction of new buildings, roads and other infrastructure.
- Increase in population.
- Mining is another important factor behind the increase in deforestation of trees and forest cover.
- Climate change is one of the most important natural causes that have led to forest loss.
- Natural disasters.
Effects of Deforestation
Climate Imbalance and Climate Change
Deforestation also affects the climate in many ways. Forests are the lungs of our planet. Trees take up carbon dioxide and release oxygen and water vapour into the air. Trees also provide shade that keeps the soil moist. All of this is hampered by the lack of trees. It leads to an imbalance in atmospheric temperature, and a drier climate that further impedes the conditions for the ecology that leads to climate change.
When it rains, trees absorb and store large amounts of water through their roots. When they are cut, the flow of water is disrupted, and the soil loses its ability to hold water. It causes floods in some areas and droughts in others.
Loss of Biodiversity
Deforestation leads to a large loss of biodiversity. Around 80% of global biodiversity is found in tropical rainforests. Forests not only provide habitats for wildlife but also promote the preservation of medicine.
The forest is an important means of maintaining great biodiversity. It also destroys the microbial community responsible for producing clean water, removing pollutants, and recycling nutrients.
All of the above effects indicate that deforestation is the primary cause and can be identified more effectively if known deforestation questions are asked.