Air pollution has a lot of harmful effects on humans. The damage it inflicts on the environment is severe and there is a range of harmful environmental effects it can cause. To enumerate a few:
Global Climate Change: In nature there is a balance of gasses that trap the heat of the sun near the earth’s surface. This Greenhouse effect helps in stabilizing the temperature of earth. Now with so many harmful changes occurring in the environment, it is feared that humans may have disturbed the balance in nature enough to cause untimely rains, melting of glaciers, floods, rise in temperature etc. This can, in not so distant a future, prove catastrophic and hence it becomes important for us to work together to reduce pollution, save the planet and lastly save ourselves.
Forest & Crop Damage: The trees and crops can be damaged in the variety of ways. Air pollution affects the forest cover and even agricultural crop yield, substantially affecting growth and survivability of seedlings.
Ozone Depletion: Ozone is a gas that appears in the earth’s upper atmosphere (Stratosphere). A layer of Ozone helps in protecting the life on Earth from sun’s ultraviolet rays. But this good layer is fast depleting due to some man-made chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons. UV radiation can cause damage to crops and can also reduce crop yields.
Dangerous effects on Wildlife: Wildlife can be affected in a number of ways due to toxic pollutants in the air or due to soil and surface water contaminated with these pollutants. Just like humans, animals too are affected by exposure to high concentrations of toxic substances. These effects include reproductive failure, birth defects, disease in animals etc. Toxins in the environment that break down slowly, called Persistent toxic air pollutants, harm aquatic ecosystems.
Haze: The main cause for haze sunlight shining on tiny particles present in the air. Power plants, trucks, industrial facilities, automobiles and construction activities result in the release of haze-causing pollutants (mostly fine particles) into the atmosphere.
Acid Rain: It is a form of precipitation that contains harmful amounts of sulphuric and nitric acids. The acids are formed mainly by nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides released into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels. These acids fall on earth either in the form of wet precipitation (snow, fog or rain) or in the form of dry precipitation (gas and particulates). Acid rain causes hazardous effects on trees and causes soils and water bodies to acidify, making the water unsuitable for wildlife.
Eutrophication: It is a condition in which the high concentration of nutrients in water bodies stimulates the bloom of algae, which leads to a loss of plant and animal diversity. Power plants, trucks, cars and other sources emit dangerous nitrogen oxides and are responsible for a lot of nitrogen entering the aquatic ecosystem.