The presence of one or more harmful gases in the atmosphere is known as air pollution. Apart from these, solid particles like dust also pollute the air. There are various effects of air pollution on the environment.
Effects of Air Pollution on the Environment
- The increase of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbons traps the Earth’s heat leading to global warming.
- Global warming can have a number of effects on our environment. It may result in the melting of ice in temperate regions.
- Global warming also increases the rate of evaporation of surface water. This may result in soil erosion and the destruction of natural vegetation.
- It may also lead to flooding, erosion, and salt formation in the deltas.
Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health
- Respiratory infections and irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat.
- It causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, and allergic reactions.
- Air pollution may also cause chronic respiratory diseases, lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even damages the nerves, kidneys, and liver.
Effects of Air Pollution on Plants and Animals
- Nitrogen dioxide leads to the premature falling of leaves. It also affects the growth of plants resulting in low crop yields.
- Ozone enters the leaves of plants through stomata. It then dissolves with water within the plant and reacts with other chemicals damaging the leaves. Plants weakened by ozone may become more susceptible to various diseases, pests and droughts.
- Nitrogen dioxide causes premature falling of leaves. It also suppresses the growth of plants. This reduces crop yields.
- Peroxyacetyl Nitrate damages leafy vegetables and causes premature fall and discoloration of leafy vegetables.
- Sulphur dioxide has a bleaching effect on plants. It results in the loss of chlorophyll. Many leafy vegetables become yellow because of the effect of the gas.
- Air pollution infects the leaves of plants. When these leaves are consumed by animals, they are affected by arsenic and lead poisoning. As a result of lead poisoning, animals may suffer from bronchitis and the loss of appetite.
Apart from these, air pollution may damage the painted surfaces, fabrics, and buildings. Example: Acid rain damages buildings made of marble and limestone. The Taj Mahal has faced damage because of acid rain. Sulphuric dioxide when mixed with moisture causes corrosion of metals such as steel, copper, and zinc.
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