When looking at the statistics provided by the air pollution maps, you may see that there are few types of emissions measured on a daily basis. Each of them affects the environment and human health in a slightly different way. Today, we’ll try to explain the impact of each pollutant and the most effective ways to lower their emissions. That consciousness may help you adopt better protective measures and do your part in the fight against environmental changes.
Under the category of air pollution, there are various types of substances that generally divide into gas and solids. Some are really harmful to our health but neutral for the environment, and others affect our planet but leave us unharmed.
Let’s take a closer look at each pollutant you can see marked on the air quality map to understand the way it contributes to the problem.
The emissions of certain gases don’t always affect humans directly. Let’s take carbon dioxide that doesn’t have a direct influence on our well-being. But its increased emissions contribute to climate change which is a serious threat to humanity.
anthropogenic sources: fossil fuel burning, deforestation
With methane, the case is similar to CO2. It doesn’t have negative implications on human health, but it’s considered a greenhouse gas. And these contribute to climate change.
anthropogenic sources: industrial meat production, glacier melting
This gas is one of the most harmful ones to our respiratory system. At the same time, if combined with water molecules, it turns into sulfuric acid that reduces photosynthesis, weakens the plants, and erodes the soil.
anthropogenic sources: fossil fuel combustion, metalworking
Interestingly, this gas is essential to human health in small amounts. It regulates the functions of various systems, including the cardiovascular and digestive ones. However, continuous exposure to high nitrogen dioxide emissions can cause cell mutations and have an inflammatory effect. When it comes to the environment, it’s problematic too as a greenhouse gas. And, let’s not forget that just as sulfur dioxide, it also binds with water molecules to fall on the Earth’s surface in the form of acid rain.
anthropogenic sources: transport sector
There are various types of solid particles detected in the air, including organic and non-organic matter. The particular matter consists mainly of soot, crustal materials, soil, dust, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium nitrate. This mix is divided into two categories according to the diameter of the particles: PM 2.5 and PM 10. The first one is thin enough to get to our bloodstream through the respiratory system. The second one usually gets filtrated by the lungs but still can cause respiratory diseases and cancer.
It’s worth being conscious of the differences between them and spreading this consciousness in the closest community. Knowing the properties of each type of pollutant can help you understand the mechanisms behind such phenomena as smog and acid rains. And that’s the first step to lowering their emissions in their daily life. Small changes really matter – you can become a source of inspiration for others. We assure you – it’s a domino effect!
To protect yourself from the influence of the pollutants, we advise monitoring the emissions through an air quality map updated in real-time, like Airly.org.