Effects of air pollution on plants is often disastrous. When harmful particulates enter the air, pollution ensues. The following are instances of how vegetation gets negatively affected by pollutants in the air.
Ozone is an important greenhouse gas and is beneficial for life on earth – it stops ultra-violet rays from passing through. However, when ozone is most beneficial when it is high up in the atmosphere. On the ground, ozone can create a lot of health issues for humans such as breathing problems, congestion, throat irritation etc. For vegetation, ozone is thought to cause oxidative damage to cell membranes of the plant. This results in the loss of integrity and function for the plant cell membrane. This is thought to affect the process of photosynthesis.
Plants get exposed to sulphur dioxide through acid rain. The immediate effects manifest themselves in the form of discolouration of the leaves. It is also known to inhibit photosynthesis by disrupting certain mechanisms required for photosynthesis. Furthermore, the sulphur dioxide can affect the opening of the stomata, resulting in excessive loss of water. However, the effect of exposure to sulphur dioxide varies according to the plant species and the level of exposure.
Nitrogen dioxide is formed from the combustion of fossil fuels and emissions from refining petroleum. This gas is quite toxic to plants; in high quantities, it stunts plant growth. This gas, along with sulphur dioxide and ozone can wreak havoc on plant growth and development.
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