Air Pollution by fossil fuels

What is air pollution?

The mixing of toxic gases and chemicals into atmosphere that make it unfit to live for human, animal and plant life is called Air Pollution.

Causes of Air Pollution

The major cause of air pollution today is the combustion of fossil fuels i.e. coal, oil, natural gas. When these fossil fuels are burnt to produce energy, they release a number of toxic gases and other wastes that when mixed with gases pollute the air around us.

Major pollutants

Coal is used mainly in the production of electricity and hence it is the major contributor to air pollution. Burning of coal release carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxide, hydrocarbons, dust, soot and other suspended matter that harm the health of living beings and the ecosystem as well.

Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, odorless gas that is released after burning of fossil fuel, mostly in cars. Even, furnaces and heaters found in homes can also release high concentrations of carbon monoxide. People exposed to carbon monoxide find difficulty in breathing as this gas makes it difficult for human body to get the needed oxygen.

Nitrogen Oxide is generally released in power plants and cars. When it mixes with other harmful gases in the atmosphere, it causes acid rain. People exposed to Nitrogen Oxide have higher chances of respiratory infections.

Sulphur dioxide is produced by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Col and petroleum contain sulphur compounds which on combustion produce sulphur dioxide which forms acid rain that is harmful for plant and animal life.

Burning of fossil fuels, especially coal leaves residue in the form of particulate matter which is solid matter that is suspended in the air. These particles enter lungs and cause health problems like asthma and other respiratory problems.

Increasing concentrations of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the major cause of global warming. Sulphur dioxide released by burning of coal causes acid rain that is a killer for vegetation.


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