Air Pollution

What is Pollution?

The change in the environment caused by natural or artificial input of harmful contaminants into the environment, and may cause instability, disruption or harmful effects to the ecosystem.

Thus, Pollution is essentially the introduction of toxins into the natural setting that causes negative changes. Pollution can take the form of biochemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light. Contaminants, the constituents of pollution, can be one or the other, foreign substances/energies or naturally found pollutants.

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What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is defined as the introduction of pollutants, organic molecules, or other unsafe materials into Earth’s atmosphere. This can be in the form of excessive gases like carbon dioxide and other vapours that cannot be effectively removed through natural cycles, such as the carbon cycle or the nitrogen cycle.

Air Pollution

Types of Air Pollution

1. Man-made (Artificial) sources

These are mostly linked to the combustion of several kinds of fuel.

Immobile sources entail clouds of smoke from power plants, industrial facilities (manufacturing works) and waste furnaces, as well as incinerators and other sorts of fuel-burning heating devices. In poor and developing countries, archaic biomass burning is the chief cause of air pollution; traditional biomass embraces wood, crop leftovers and excrement.

Movable sources comprise automobiles, aquatic vessels, and planes.

Controlled burning is a procedure sometimes used in forest management, agriculture, prairie re-establishment. Fire is an accepted facet of both forest and grassland ecosystem and an organized fire can be an instrument for foresters. Precise burning kindles the sprouting of some desirable trees, thus renewing the forest.

Fumes from hair spray, paint, aerosol sprays, varnish and other solvents

Waste deposits in landfills create methane. Methane is extremely combustible and may form an explosive and volatile concoction with air. Methane is furthermore an asphyxiant and may displace oxygen in a sealed-off space. Suffocation may result if the oxygen concentration goes below 19.5% by displacement.

Military resources, such as nuclear weapons, toxic gasses, germ warfare and rocketry

2. Natural sources

  • Dirt from natural sources, typically big areas of land with little or no plant life.
  • Methane, discharged by the breakdown of food (digestion) by animals, for example, cattle
  • Smoke and CO from jungle fires.
  • Volcanic activity, which emits sulphur, chlorine, and ash particulates
  • Causes of Major Effects of Air Pollution
  • Air pollution has a very negative effect on humans and the ecosystem. The constituents can be dense particles, fluid, or gasses. A contaminant can be of natural or artificial. Contaminants are categorized as primary or secondary.

Air Pollution

Primary contaminants are typically created by the emission of carbon dioxide from vehicles and factories. Secondary pollutants are the contaminants which are not emitted directly into the atmosphere. They are formed in the atmosphere when prime pollutants react or intermingle. Ground-level ozone is an important example of a secondary pollutant.

Some contaminants may be both primary and secondary: they are both emitted directly and formed from other primary pollutants.

Effects of Air pollution

  • Respirational and cardio complications: The adverse impacts of Air pollution are distressing. They are the root of numerous respirational and cardiac conditions accompanied by Cancer, midst other threats to our body. More than a few million are known to have expired due to direct or unforeseen effects of Air contamination. Kids in areas open to air contaminants are said to suffer frequently from pneumonia and asthma.
  • Global warming: One more direct consequence is the speedy changes that the world is observing due to Global warming. With the increase in temperatures worldwide, an increase in sea levels and melting of ice from cold areas and icebergs, displacement and loss of habitat have already beckoned an imminent disaster if actions for protection and regulation aren’t undertaken soon.
  • Acid Rain: Dangerous gasses like NO2 and SO2 are released into the atmosphere during the incineration of fuels. When it rains, the droplets combine with these pollutants, become acidic and then fall on the ground in the form of acid rain. Acid rain is a source of great harm to human beings, wildlife and crops.
  • Eutrophication: It is a process where a high amount of nitrogen present in some contaminants gets morphs on the sea’s surface and develops itself into algae and harmfully affect fish, plant life and animal species. The green-coloured algae that are present in lakes and ponds are due to the presence of this substance only.
  • Diminution of Ozone layer: Ozone is present in the Earth’s atmosphere (Stratosphere) and is responsible for shielding humans from injurious ultraviolet (UV) rays. Earth’s ozone layer is diminishing because of the presence of chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere.

Prevention of Air Pollution

Some important measures that can be adopted by individuals to contribute towards the prevention of air pollution have been listed below.

  • Usage of public transport and carpooling
  • Switching off the lights when they’re not in use
  • Reusing and recycling products
  • Avoiding the burning of garbage and smoking
  • Avoiding the use of firecrackers

For more you may Visit: Prevention of Air Pollution

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What are the main causes of air pollution?

Air pollution is caused by particles of solid and liquid and some gases that are suspended in the air. These particles and gases may come from exhaust from cars and trucks, factories, dust, pollen, mould spores, volcanoes and wildfires.


What are effects of pollution?

High air pollution levels can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, wheezing, coughing and breathing problems, and eye, nose and throat irritation. Air pollution can also cause heart problems, asthma and other lung complications to worsen.


Why should we prevent air pollution?

Reducing airborne pollutants is important to human health and the environment. Poor air quality has harmful effects on human health, especially the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Also, pollutants can damage plants and buildings, and visibility may be reduced by smoking or haze.


Who is affected by air pollution?

The elderly residents, children with uncontrolled asthma and people living in poverty are the groups most affected by air pollution. More health effects may occur in vulnerable populations because these populations already have higher rates of heart and lung conditions.


What is the solution of air pollution?

Renewable fuel and production of clean energy. The most basic air pollution solution is to move away from fossil fuels and replace them with alternative energies such as solar, wind and geothermal.

This was a brief introduction of air pollution and its causes. To know more about air pollution and its effect on the environment, stay tuned with BYJU’S.

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