There are several main causes of air pollution, the vast majority of them can be attributed to man. Some natural sources of air pollution include forest fires, dust storms, and volcanic eruptions. Plants such as ragweed contaminate the air with pollen. Decaying leaves and other forms of vegetation release gases that contribute to air pollution and cause haze. (Morgan) Air pollution is the introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals, particulates, and biological matter that cause harm to humans, other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment. Stratospheric ozone depletion (contributed to air pollution) has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth’s ecosystems. The Earth is capable of cleaning itself of a certain level of pollution, but man-made pollutant have become too numerous for the Earth’s natural mechanisms to remove. We are seeing the results of this overload in the form of acid rain, smog, and the variety of health problems that can be contributed to our environment. (Godish) One of the main causes of air pollution is manufacturing. This source of pollution spews particulate matter and chemicals into the atmosphere. The exhaust from a factory includes, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and dioxide, as well as volatile organic compounds and particulates. There is not an area of the Earth’s atmosphere or an ecosystem that has not been altered by the long term effects of the pollution created by manufacturing. Strides have been made to filter the material coming from manufacturing plants, but it may take the Earth millennia to completely recover from the damage already done. (universe) A surprisingly link may exist between ocean fertility and air pollution over land, according to Georgia Institute of Technology research reported in the Feb. 16 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres. The work provides new insight into the role that ocean fertility plays in the complex cycle involving carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in global warming. (Cain) Finally, the burning of fossil fuels is a part of everyday life of every human on the planet. We burn fossil fuels in our cars, fossil fuel is burned to extract fossil fuel from the Earth, and fossil fuel is used to process fossil fuel into its individual components. Every step of the way releases sulfur and nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and particulates into the air. Each step in the process increases the number of asthma cases in the world, raises a person’s chance of having cancer, and increases the chance that your child will be born with congenital defects. (Turco)
Cain, Fraser. (2005). Air Pollution Linked to Growth of Life in Oceans. Retrieved from http://www.universetoday.com/10263/air-pollution-linked-to-gr
Godish, Thad. 1997. Air Quality, 3rd ed. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Fl.
Morgan, M. T. (2003). Environmental Health, (3rd ed.). Belmont: CA: Wadsworth
Turco, Richard P. 2001. Earth Under Siege: From Air Pollution to Global Change, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, New York.