Air pollution refers to presence of hazardous chemical toxins in the form of gases at levels that pose a risk to the health of every human being and creature that inhabits this planet. This form of contamination of the atmosphere results from both natural and man-made causes. Human activities such as transportation, cultivation, construction, mining and smelting are the main culprits responsible for this form of pollution. In some cases, volcanic eruptions and severe forest fires are also responsible for the release of harmful gases into the air but this occurrence is rare. It is the most important environment issue confronting eminent politicians, world leaders, scientists and the public today.
Jonathan Schrag, the Founding Partner of the Hudson Strategic Energy, explains that this form of pollution can result from the release of various toxic gases into the atmosphere. In general, any gas can qualify as a pollutant when it reaches such concentration levels that experts consider it as harmful to human beings living on this planet. However, the following important gases meet the criteria as the main causes of air pollution:
Certain fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum in their impure form contain various organic compounds and sulfur. Sulfur dioxide results when oxygen present in the atmosphere burns with sulfur. Various power plants that burns coal and other such fossils to produce electricity causes the release of this poisonous gas into the air. It is the main culprit behind acid rain, lung problems in humans and smog.
This hazardous gas forms when certain fuels burn with negligible levels of oxygen in the atmosphere. Exhausts from automobiles and other vehicles are the primary cause of the release of this gas into the atmosphere. However, in residential homes it can reach dangerous levels when the occupants do not maintain their gas boilers and cooking stoves.
This gas is critical to most life forms inhabiting this planet and many environment experts do not consider it a serious pollutant. Human beings release this gas into the atmosphere, which plants like trees inhale. However, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, power plants have been discharging this greenhouse gas into the air, which is main culprit behind global warming.
Both nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen oxide result from the burning of oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. Toxic fumes that power plants and automobiles release into the air result in this gas. With sulfur dioxide, it causes acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer and smog.
These gases that manufacturers use to make refrigerators are responsible for damaging the Earth’s ozone layer.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
These are chemical compounds made of carbon that evaporate into the atmosphere to become gases are normal temperature or pressure. Manufacturers use them to make paints and varnishes. However, they contaminate the atmosphere, deplete the earth’s ozone layer and affect people’s health.
Jonathan Schrag says controlling the release of the above gases into the atmosphere can be a catalyst in reducing air pollution.