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Causes of Air Pollution Essay

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1. Introduction

Pollution is when a harmful substance is introduced to the environment causing damage to living beings. Pollution can be found in many aspects of life such as marine, air, and soil pollution; with air pollution posing a great health risk to humans (Kampa and Castanas, 2007). Air pollution has numerous causes and effects. According to Kampa and Castanas (2007), the main natural sources of air pollution are volcanoes and fire in general and the unnatural source is Industrial Facilities. Humans are exposed to air pollutants primarily via inhalation and ingestion as they do not only directly enter the human body through breathing but also indirectly through food that has been polluted through the air. People exposed to air pollution are usually associated with higher mortality and frequent hospital admissions (Brunekreef and Holgate S.T 2002). These humans usually suffer from health effects varying from nausea and skin irritation to cancer as well as birth defects for pregnant women. Air pollution is a dangerous threat to humans and all living creatures alike, to mitigate its effects, action has to be taken. Thus, this report aims to identify the effects of air pollution on humans and the ecosystem along with methods for the mitigation of these effects.

1.1. Research Question

What are the effects of air pollution? And how to overcome and endure them?

2. Literature Review

2.1. Effects of air pollution on humans and animals

The dangers that air pollution poses to humans are countless and are not to be ignored. On a daily basis, humans encounter air pollution in many forms and from multiple sources; from vehicles in traffic or in the form of emissions from factories to volcanoes and other activities that include the incomplete combustion of fuels. Fuels are not only what is used to run vehicles; anything that gives off energy when burnt is considered to be a fuel and incomplete combustion is when combustion results in the emission of carbon monoxide in the air which is known to cause suffocation if introduced at a large rate. Other types of air pollutants would be methane which can be produced even from the feces of livestock and has a huge role to play in global warming along with carbon dioxide. Air pollution always finds a way into the human body and its effects are more lethal than normally perceived. “Studies have consistently demonstrated that long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity “(Chuan, Yan, Chiu & Cheng, 2017, p.1). These studies show how much air pollution affects elderly people who are known to be more prone to heart diseases which means that it is indirectly reducing the average life expectancy of humans. Inhaling these toxins is inevitable and there is no escaping from pollution, causing diseases such as lung cancer and mutations on a genetic level which does not only affect the current generation directly but also the generations that are yet to come indirectly.

Air pollution does not only target humans, it also equally targets other living organisms in an even more harmful manner which then results in a deteriorated ecosystem that further limits and damages humans, animals, and plants in an endless cycle that only bears the fruits of extinction. Pollution is found to be one of the main causes of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders in both animals and humans as well as findings prove similar alterations in the central nervous system in addition to increased oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, (Costa et al., 2014). The neurodegenerative disorder is a term that covers multiple conditions that include the degeneration of neurons in a body while neurodevelopmental disorder is a term that is used to refer to the disturbance and mutation in the process of development in the nervous system. Air pollution plays a major role in aiding these disorders in both humans and animals alike and not only do they affect the sufferers but can also be passed on to their offspring through genetic inheritance. Isaksson (2010) confirms that animals that live in more polluted environments have a much higher oxidative stress than animals that live in cleaner environments. “Oxidative Stress is the ultimate culprit in the development of many diseases”(Isakasson, 2010). A study by Laurance and Useche(2009) confirms the relationship between pollution and wildlife animals’ survival rates (as cited in Isakasson, 2010). The ecosystem suffers from the damage caused to animals and plants due to the constant danger of extinction which greatly disturbs the food chain. That damage is a result of many reasons such as forest fires which directly attack plants and also put a lot of animals in danger due to the decrease in the chances of finding their optimum habitat or direct pollution transmitted through the air.

2.2. Effects of air pollution on the ecosystem

The ecosystem has always been damaged by the effects of air pollution, be it through direct effects such as harming living organisms and potentially threatening the existence of some species or indirect effects such as global warming. The terms air pollution and global warming have always been mentioned together due to how much they complement each other. Global Warming has defined the rise in the average temperature of the earth’s climate system. According to D’Amato et. al.(2010), global warming was considered a catalyst for respiratory diseases caused by air pollution noting how the occurrence of respiratory diseases and bronchial asthma has been proportional to the increase in global warming over the years on a worldwide scale and especially in Urban areas that may include polluting sources such as factories and vehicles. They also referred to studies that confirmed the relation between air pollution and the rise of temperature during a time span of 30 years stating that the rise in global warming caused by greenhouse gas has been over 70% between 1970 and 2004. “Many species have experienced pollution events that have caused death or a threat to their habitat. Some species have been pushed to extinction.” (Armstrong, 2017). Extinction of species is not something that happens without consequences. Every species has a role to play in the ecosystem, an extinction of one species can lead to the extinction of another species depending on how fast the other species can adapt to that extinction.

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2.3. Actions to be taken to mitigate the effects of air pollution

Mitigating the effects of air pollution might not be the easiest of tasks but is inevitable for the survival of all creatures. Pollution is everywhere and that is a result of years of accumulation, so an absolute ending to pollution is not an option for the short term, however, actions can be taken for the long term to ensure a better future. The Guardian (2019) suggested multiple policies that can be considered when it comes to reducing air pollution, among them is moving from using unclean sources in power stations; a system should be put in place that includes the usage of clean and renewable power sources such as solar and wind. They also noted the importance of greeneries when fighting pollution, simple as that note may sound the fact that plants have always protected other creatures from pollution generally, air pollution specifically so an increase in the green spaces can prove to be among the best solutions since it is not as pressured as other solutions in expense-wise nor will it take as much effort as other solutions may. European Environmental Agency(2012) stated that “in one year, the mature tree will take about 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and in exchange release oxygen. Each year, 1.3 million trees are estimated to remove more than 2500 tonnes of pollutants from the air”. Bara(2018) affirms that governments should give more attention to the management of landfills and encourage the usage of cleaner power sources for both transportation and power generation in general. Overcoming the effects of air pollution is not an option in the current situation, however, in the long term, it can be possible after committing to the solutions despite how costly their price may be in terms of time and money.

3. Discussion

Having focused on identifying the effects of air pollution and methods to endure these effects, many sources of air pollution were discussed, with traffic being a repeatedly mentioned source in different studies due to the frequency of exposure of humans to it on recurring occasions. The effects of air pollution provided by the sources were focused on the damage caused by inhalation. These effects ranged from organ-oriented damage to genetic-level damage. However, no information was given regarding the damage caused to the outer body such as the skin and the eyes.

The solutions suggested are limited and usually inefficient in the short term. The solution suggested by The Guardian(2019) concerning the prioritization and installation of clean sources would require agreements from multiple governments as well as its dependency on a revolution in the industry of vehicles all around the world in order to be of a significant result. Studies, plans, and optimal systems have to be set in action in order to maintain the same level of efficiency and a stable economical state which would be rather time and money-consuming. Air pollution is a part of the atmosphere of every country, Implanting more greeneries would be forgiving money-wise, however inefficient on the large scale if it was not considered worldwide and generously set in action, but still has almost no serious effect on the short term. The request in Bara(2018) for the governments to pay more attention to landfills and upgrade available systems to use cleaner power sources may be one of the fastest solutions that can be set in action. Despite the high cost and effort of installing these systems and ideas, the danger and threat of air pollution to the nature and ecosystem makes the idea seem much more forgiving compared to a disruption in the chain of food that might end with the extinction of an entire species.

It is recommended to apply multiple plans and solutions that can help in the future with a potential further limitation of air pollution using more advanced technologies. It is expected for multiple production processes that pollute the air to be replaced with advanced methods and techniques that reduce the emission of harmful pollutants. With actions taken now to decrease the amount of pollution that exists in the global atmosphere and future development to reduce the emissions of pollutants; the effects of air pollution will be almost insignificant and the maintenance of humans and other creatures’ welfare will be much easier after neglecting these effects.

4. Conclusion

The report includes a study of the effects of air pollution from multiple perspectives as well as discussed solutions and recommendations to mitigate these effects. Air Pollution has caused too much damage to nature, damage that might not be reversible. The effects of air pollution targets humans on daily basis in direct and indirect ways however, these effects do not stop at only harming humans but all living organisms ways which put some species in the danger zone of extinction and that can be a threat to all other species due to the gap that it will leave in the food chain causing a furthermore disruption in the ecosystem, effects can vary from directly causing and increasing the chance of lung diseases and cancer to indirect effects such as global warming which makes earth not inhabitable for some species endangering their existence. Despite the fact that the damage caused over the years will not be completely fixed, it can be stopped and that is as good as a beginner can be in this critical situation. Many solutions were suggested to mitigate the effects of air pollution, however, nothing consistent was presented for the short term and that is due to the length of time this issue was ignored, On the other hand, suitable solutions were suggested for the long term which may not take an immediate effect and will take time, effort and expenses to accomplish.

Reference list.

  1. Kampa, M., & Castanas, E. (2008). Human health effects of air pollution. Environmental pollution, 151(2), 362-367.
  2. Brunekreef, B., & Holgate, S. T. (2002). Air pollution and health. The Lancet, 360(9341), 1233-1242.
  3. Chuang, K. J., Yan, Y. H., Chiu, S. Y., & Cheng, T. J. (2011). Long-term air pollution exposure and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases among the elderly in Taiwan. Occupational and environmental medicine, 68(1), 64-68.
  4. Sustainability for all (n.d.). The effects of air pollution on human health. Retrieved from
  5. Armstrong (2017). Pollution’s Effects on Animals. Retrieved from
  6. Costa, L. G., Cole, T. B., Coburn, J., Chang, Y. C., Dao, K., & Roque, P. (2014). Neurotoxicants are in the air: convergence of human, animal, and in vitro studies on the effects of air pollution on the brain. BioMed research international, 2014.
  7. Isaksson, C. (2010). Pollution and its impact on wild animals: a meta-analysis on oxidative stress. EcoHealth, 7(3), 342-350.
  8. Laurance, W. F., & Useche, D. C. (2009). Environmental synergisms and extinctions of tropical species. Conservation biology, 23(6), 1427-1437.
  9. D’Amato, G., Cecchi, L., D’amato, M., & Liccardi, G. (2010). Urban air pollution and climate change as environmental risk factors of respiratory allergy: an update. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 20(2), 95-102.
  10. The Guardian. (2019). How you and your government can tackle air pollution? Retrieved from
  11. Bara. A. (2018). 14 ways citizens and govt can help reduce air pollution in Delhi. Retrieved from
  12. European Environmental Agency. (2012). Trees help tackle climate change. Retrieved from

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Causes of Air Pollution Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
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