Population, natural resources
End of the World
Air pollution is dangerous in as much as it has an extensive and very significant influence on all elements of the natural environment. First of all it is characterized by high mobility (gases, dusts, aerosols) so it can travel great distances with masses of air. What is more, falling on the surface of the Earth in the form of dust and precipitation, it gets into soil and water polluting ground water and water bodies. It influences living organisms in every way: due to its presence in the air, it gets into organisms during the process of breathing and with food.
It can be stated that this is air pollution that is mainly responsible for most of environment threats.
The concentration of pollution in the air is called immission and it is measured in weight magnitude of pollution per a unit of air volume.
Air is particularly polluted by sulphur dioxide, nitric oxide, carbon dusts, tropospheric ozone and heavy metals. All these substances are harmful to living organisms. Furthermore, the air also contains many other chemical compounds, some of which influence the environment on the surface of the Earth to a smaller extent, and to a large extent they wreak havoc in the higher levels of the atmosphere - they destroy the protective ozone layer or lead to global warming by intensifying the greenhouse effect.
People and the effect of their activity are chiefly responsible for the emission of harmful chemical compounds: considerable industrialization, more and more people in the world, the development of the power and transport industry. Dynamic development of industry civilization and the increase in population entail a growing demand for energy and the main source of energy was and still is fossil fuel. The biggest number of compounds which pollute the air are produced in the processes of burning and exploitation of this fuel in various industry processes.
In natural conditions the air is also polluted by sulphur dioxide, nitric oxides and other gases. The processes which are responsible for natural pollution include volcanic processes, processes connected with erosion of rocks and soil, biological processes (decomposition of organic matter); however their influence is not so destructive to the environment.
The methods of air protection
The air protection involves limiting the emission of harmful chemical compounds. It can be achieved, on one hand, by filtrating exhaust fumes which are produced in industry and transport and introducing technologies which save energy, on the other hand by replacing sources of energy (coal, petroleum, gas) with other sources such as wind or solar power - they are two main kinds of pure energy, in the process of their production no harmful by-products are produced.
Air pollution is a global problem so fight against it has become one of the most vital tasks of international organizations. Global solutions whose aim is to protect the air are necessary owing to the mobility of atmospheric pollution - this pollution is generated in one country but it may spread with air circulation over unlimited area. Thus international cooperation concerning monitoring and atmosphere protection is necessary. The main instruments for propagating environment-friendly activities are legal, economic and technical-organizational instruments. Legal articles regulating the rules of monitoring and reducing pollution (limits on emission) are introduced. Economical factors which motivate to limit the emission of pollution include taxes, duties, fines and various types of preferences (concessions, funding). Technical-organizational factors are connected with changing technologies of production into more economical ones in terms of energy, introducing substitutes for fuel which we have used so far, purifying the emitted fumes by filtering them. Binding international conventions introduce rigorous limits on the emission of exhaust fumes into the atmosphere. These limits concern both global emissions and the emissions generated in particular countries. What is more, programmes which promote protecting the air from pollution are introduced - they involve mainly funding environment-friendly activities in terms of implementing new environment-friendly technologies.
Of course the most important thing is to make as many people as possible aware of the existing threat. Every built bonfire has an influence on the condition of the air.
Air pollution and human health
The harmful effect of all types of pollution on living organisms, including human beings, is undisputed. To what extent it is destructive depends on individual conditions (immunity of organism) and of course on such factors as concentration of pollution and how long it influences an organism. Air pollution, due to its complex influence on the elements of the natural environment, has direct and indirect impact on us. It influences us directly through respiratory system and indirectly through soil and water pollution as well as plants and animals (the elements of the food chain).
The influence of the main substances which pollute the air on human health is as follows:
This is only a part of pollution. On the basis of the conducted research and statistics it is estimated that about 3 million people die because of air pollution every year.