Causes of Air Pollution – What Can We Do to Reduce It?

causes of air pollution

Pollution has now become one of the most used terms, thanks to the torture we have been doing on nature. We have been introduced to various kinds of pollutions and its causes as well as effects. One of the most alarming types of pollution is air pollution. The term air pollution refers to the contamination of air with various types of polluting elements. There are various causes of air pollution and some of them are discussed below.

Types of air pollution

Before we delve into the causes of air pollution, we need to know the types of air pollutions that exist. There are mainly two types of air pollutions, i.e. invisible air pollution and visible air pollution. Visible air pollution occurs when we are able to see the tiny polluting particles roaming around in the air. When our surrounding air is filled with smog, that is visible air pollution.

Invisible air pollution is when we cannot see anything in the air but feel he trouble of breathing in it. This kind of pollution is mainly persistent all around us.

Kinds of pollutants

In order to understand the causes of air pollution properly, one needs to know the kinds of pollutants that cause the pollution. There are two types of pollutants that cause air pollution. They are:

Primary air polluting elements

These types of pollutants can be caused by primary or secondary sources. These types of pollutants are a result of a process known as primary pollutants. One example of this type of pollutant is the Sulphur-dioxide that comes out from various factories.

Secondary air polluting elements

These types of pollutants are the result of the intermingling of primary pollutants. One example of this type of pollutants is the smog that comes out of the reactions between primary pollutants.

Causes of air pollution

There are numerous causes of air pollution and some of the main reasons are discussed below.

Burning of fuels of fossil

Fossil fuels are one of the biggest contributing factors to air pollution. The fossil fuels are generally burnt as sources of energy in various power plants and the emissions cause air pollution. Sulfur-dioxide like dangerous chemicals are released into the air because of this burning process and pollutes the atmosphere. This also leads to acid rain as these elements mix with water molecules.

Due to such harmful effects of fossil fuels, it is important to find alternative energy sources. For example, solar, nuclear and wind energies are now explored as alternatives. These alternative sources tend to emit lesser pollutants in the air and yet provide the same energy.

Exhausts from vehicles

The primary source of air pollution is the pollutants emitted by vehicles. The exhausts from vehicles contain huge amounts of carbon mono-oxide and pollute the air. Due to this, carbon mono-oxide happens to be the top reason of air pollution.

Though using vehicles are extremely important in our lives, we should not overuse them. Their overusing has led to air pollution and thus we should put a stop to overusing vehicles.

Industrial exhaust

Industries related to the manufacturing area, emit a huge portion of carbon monoxide, organic compounds, chemicals and hydrocarbons into the air. It causes the quality of the air to degrade hugely. Manufacturing industries are spread all over the world and thus the effects it causes is also massive. Petroleum refineries emit hydrocarbons and different chemicals that pollute the surrounding air. They are also a contributing factor to the pollution of lands.

Activities related to agriculture

Agricultural activities also contribute to air pollution. One of the most common by-products in the field of agriculture is ammonia. It is one of the most dangerous gases present in this atmosphere. In the present day, the use of pesticides insecticides and fertilizers have raised. These products emit hazardous chemicals into this atmosphere and cause pollution. Besides ai pollution, these elements also cause water pollution as well.

Air pollution in the indoors

Various items used in the indoors also work as causes of air pollution. Various cleaning products, supplies of painting emit various toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and thus pollute the air. Painting the walls of your house often causes a smell that makes it hard to breathe. It is a living example of household supplies causing air pollution.

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Operations of the mining industry

Mining refers to a process where minerals located under the earth are extracted. Various kinds of tools are used for this process of extraction. The process produces a lot of harmful chemicals and dust particles that get released in the air. They cause massive degradation of air quality. This is why mining workers often suffer from various respiratory problems.

Causes related to nature

Though it is mostly the human beings who cause air pollution, nature also has some part in this. The natural disasters like dump storms and forest fires cause huge amounts of air pollution. Volcanoes also work as a natural source of air pollution.

Effects of air pollution

Now that you are aware of the things that cause air pollution, you should know about the effects of air pollution. Air pollution has various disastrous effects and some of the primary ones are mentioned below.

Problems of heart and respiratory organs

This is one of the most dangerous effects of air pollution. It causes various diseases of various respiratory organs and the heart like Cancer among others. There are millions of people who have died an early death because of the effects of air pollution. It often is not the primary cause but works as a secondary cause in most of the cases. Children who grow up in densely air polluted areas are very likely to have asthma and pneumonia.

Acid rain

When fossil fuels are burnt, various hazardous gases like Sulphur-oxide and nitrogen oxide are released into the air. Thus, when it starts to rain, the droplets of water get mixed with these pollutants and turn acidic. It then falls onto the ground as acid rain. Such rain can cause large amounts of harm to humans, animals as well as crops.

Global warming

One of the most threatening and direct effects of air pollution is the increasing temperature of the earth, known as global warming. With the rising temperature all around us, the icebergs are getting melted and the sea level is rising. This is causing a lot of animals to lose their habitats and become endangered. It is high time to take actions as otherwise a devastating disaster will wipe out the lives on earth.


Eutrophication refers to a situation when the excessive nitrogen present in the pollutants mixes with the sea surface and turns into algae. It then causes the fish, animals and plant species living in the sea. The algae are colored green and spreads on ponds and lakes because of this chemical.

Harm to the ozone layer

The ozone layer protects the humans and animals of the earth from the dangerous ultraviolet rays. It is situated in the stratosphere of the earth. However, because of the growing air pollution, this layer of ozone is getting affected by hydrochlorofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons. In this process, the ozone layer will grow thinner and thinner and thus will become unable to stop the UV rays. The layer will then start to emit dangerous rays back on earth and create eyes and skin related problems. UV rays are also capable of affecting the crops in a bad way.

Harm to the wildlife

Besides humans, animals are also the victims of ai pollution. The various toxic chemicals present in the air of a certain area can force the wild animals to change their habitat. The toxic pollutants present on the sea and other waterbody surfaces affect the animals living in the sea and other water bodies.

Prevention of air pollution

Learning about the causes and effects of air pollution will make anyone think about the prevention of air pollution. It is important that we get aware of the current situation and do whatever we can to enhance the air quality around us. If precautionary measures are not taken immediately then it will lead to an even bigger disaster. The various ways to prevent air pollution are discussed below.

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Using public transportation

People should opt for using public transports instead of going for their own cars. If everyone starts to use private cars then naturally the number of cars on road will increase and cause more pollution. It is thus better to use public transports as it helps to accommodate a large number of people in a single-vehicle. This will lead to the running of lesser cars on road and thus put a check on air pollution caused by vehicles.

Try to consume less energy

Given the fact that we depend on fossil fuels for our source of energy, we need to reduce our energy consumption. You should make sure that you are turning off the lights and fans of your house when you are leaving. This would lead to lesser consumption of energy and thus we will have to depend less on fossil fuels. Their lesser usage will help to improve the air quality and thus prevent air pollution to some extent. You should also start to use energy-efficient devices like fluorescent bulbs for having maximum positive effects.

Use clean energy sources

It is high time to start using clean energy technology like wind, solar and geothermal over fossil fuels. Various countries have already started using solar panels as their alternative sources of energy. This will have an impact on the long run in preventing air pollution.

Recycle and reuse

With the growing rate of air pollution all around us, we need to understand the concept of reusing and recycling things. We should not throw away things that have been used once and rather reuse for some different causes. One example would be to use old jars for keeping various things in store. In this way, we will be able to reduce the amount of garbage and thus prevent pollution.

Stop smoking indoors

It should be kept in mind that just like the air outside our home, the air inside our home can also get polluted. Therefore, we need to follow some basic things to keep your indoor air clean. For example, you should stop smoking indoors with all the doors and windows closed. It would cause the smoke to remain inside the room and make it difficult to breathe.

You should also select your household cleaners carefully. These items often contain toxic chemicals that make the indoors polluted. You should opt for using organic cleaners to keep your household air safe and free of pollutants.

Individual awareness

Given the fact that air pollution is now spreading like a global epidemic, it is important for everyone to be aware now. Every individual needs to understand the seriousness of the situation ad do his part. If everyone on this planet starts to play his own role then naturally the condition will enhance. For that, individual awareness is needed. People need to learn more about air pollution and its grim effects. They would then naturally feel responsible for the situation and thus start to take precautionary measures.

These are the primary things to know about the causes of air pollution and its effects. The ways to prevent or keep the pollution in check are not very hard and can be followed easily. All it needs is a contribution from each individual and the situation would get better. Air pollution has already started to show its grim effects on animal habitats as well as of humans and care needs to be taken immediately.

Besides doing your part, you should also make people aware and help them to understand the seriousness of the situation. Everyone should work towards making this earth free of pollution for their own benefits. Spreading awareness and knowledge related to this topic is one of the many ways to prevent it.

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