What are the causes of air pollution?

19.02.19

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Air pollution is becoming an increasing problem in society. Not only is it bad for the environment, but air pollution can also negatively impact our health, leading to the development of long-term health conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. The results can be fatal, and the World Health Organisation estimates that more than 7 million people a year die from air pollution. So, what are the three biggest contributors to air pollution and why does more need to be done to prevent the fatal consequences?

Pollution from vehicles

In current times the major threat to clean is caused by road traffic emissions – mainly oxides of nitrogen and fine particles. Statistics show that air pollution in the UK is contributing to more than 40,000 deaths per year, something that car pollution only worsens. We rely on petrol and diesel to fulfil our transportation needs, but the toxic fumes damage our health and the environment. Governments are slowly improving car-related pollution with the introduction of more electric charging stations and clean air zone charges for vehicles driving in highly polluted cities, but more still needs to be done.

Industrial pollution

Manufacturing industries are an important part of life, but the materials they burn can cause nitrogen air pollution which can cause many knock-on effects on vegetation, wildlife ecology, as well as our health. After polluting the air, nitrogen oxides fall back to earth with the rain where they can pollute waters and affect the ecosystems of aquatic animals. The rain can also become acidic, which can have a negative impact on plant life and crop yield.

Burning fossil fuels

Common fossil fuels such as oil and coal are used daily for transportation and the production of electricity, but they can be incredibly harmful to the environment; the carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide which they release contributes greatly to the air pollution problem. In addition, fossil fuel emissions accounted for 80% of all greenhouses gases in the UK in 2017.
Research has shown that 95% of the population of London live in an area that exceeds the acceptable air quality limits by more than 50%.

Make sure you consider air quality for your next project.

 

https://www.who.int/airpollution/en/

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/728374/UK_Energy_in_Brief_2018.pdf

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-44524898

https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/pm2-5-map-and-exposure-data