Introduction to Air Pollution Effects on the Environment

Air Pollution is the worst type of pollution on planet earth. Mainly because it doesn’t stay in one place and spreads all over, for instance, a coal powerplant used to generate electricity can pollute the environments of the whole city or even country. Likewise, air pollutants and toxins generated by industries and engines of one country can contaminate the entire world’s atmosphere.

In this article, we will be focusing on how air pollution affects the environment and the key factors or areas that get the most damage.

Moreover, we will also ponder the effects of air pollution on the environments of different types of life on the planet.

Main Effects of Air Pollution on the Environment

The significant damage that air pollution can cause is the air contamination on which most life on the planet depends. Likewise, there are thousands of areas you can consider while skimming the causes, effects, and solutions of air contamination.

You may also consider various diseases among humans, plants, and animals associated with air quality. Meanwhile, you can also look at the critical components of the said pollutants that are the real bad guys and are often ignored.

Finally, after getting enough information and data concerning air pollution, you may be able to persuade others to contribute towards a better environment by adapting environment-friendly alternatives – replacing air polluting ways.

There are several effects of air pollution on the environment. After a deep study and research, we have listed some major ones here.

Let’s have a look below at the major effects of air pollution on the environment.

1. Smog

Smog is caused when highly dense polluted air is mixed with fog. Mainly, it occurs during the start of the winter season when there is no rainfall. You can say that the dry winter season is its ideal time.

Mainly it gets its shape when the contaminants from fossil fuels react with sunlight. Some have called it the lower level/ground level of Ozone.

Another similar type of pollution is known as soot, the composition of particulate matter released from burning fossil fuels and other industrial means. Also, these particulates are so tiny that they spread around in the environment along with the wind direction.

Both smog and soot have almost similar sources responsible for their creation. The primary sources are fossil fuels, garbage, plastics, natural gas, gasoline, and other types of fuel burnings.

Smog can be responsible for numerous health problems, including but not limited to respiratory diseases, throat, and eye irritations. They can also cause heart diseases, and the most affected parties are children and senior citizens due to their weak immune systems.

2. Harmful Air Pollutants and Air Toxics

Air pollutants can cause various health issues, which can be fatal even in a small amount of inhaling.

Most international laws have regulated around 200 of them, including mercury, benzene, and lead. The most common sources of these pollutants are gasoline and coal combustion.

Benzene, mercury, and lead can cause numerous health problems, ranging from worst to minor. The significant effects are eye, skin, and lungs irritations and coughs.

Benzene found in gasoline can cause blood disorders and other irritation symptoms. Similarly, mercury can damage the central nervous system.

Moreover, if children inhale the lead, it can damage the kidneys and brain and affect minors’ cognitive functions.

3. Greenhouse Gases

You might have often heard the term greenhouse gases, but do you know how they affect the environment?

Greenhouse gases trap the heat produced by various human activities, from burning fuels to sun rays. They do not let it leave the atmosphere, and the heat keeps its presence.

Similarly, due to this factor, the temperatures rise, resulting in various harmful global phenomenons. Global warming, glacier melting, and land shrinking result from such occurrences.

The top two greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon dioxide is more abundant, but methane is more destructive.

4. The Major Dangerous Gases

The primary effects of air pollution worldwide revolve around three major toxic gases. In comparison to the whole air mass, their presence is minimal; however, they are like a poison to any living being when inhaled. They are:

  • Carbon mono oxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulfur Dioxide

Carbon mono oxide is a colorless and odorless gas formed when the carbon in the fuels is not entirely consumed or burnt. The primary sources of this gas are fuel burning, industries, wildfires, gas heaters, and much more similar cases.

The density of carbon mono oxide is high during the winter or colder seasons when people utilize numerous sources to keep themselves warm.

Similarly, the low temperatures do not allow the combustion process to be completed in the colder season. Pollutants such as carbon mono oxide are released into the environment.

Headaches, chest pains, heart diseases, and vision impairment are the primary health issues caused by carbon mono oxide.

Nitrogen dioxide is a highly reactive gas emitted due to the burning of gas, smoking cigarettes, vehicles, and industries.

Similarly, Nitrogen dioxide environmental effects are not minimal. It can cause ground-level ozone formation and contribute to the addition of particulate matter in the air.

Moreover, it can cause various respiratory diseases, heart problems, breathing irritations, and airway inflammation even n healthy people. Similarly, people with issues like asthma can face fatal effects due to nitrogen dioxide.

Sulpher dioxide is also a highly reactive gas with an irritative smell. Like other discussed gases, it is also formed due to the burning of fossil fuels. Powerplants and industrial facilities are the main pushers of sulfur dioxide in the environment.

Some of the natural causes, like volcanic eruptions and decomposition of organic mass, are also reasons for its production. Airway tightness, asthma attacks, and chest pains are the primary problems arising from their presence in the environment.

5. Air pollution and Coronavirus

Both the COVID 19 and air pollution are air bourne. You cannot touch them or physically stop them, but they are there, and they affect you. Sometimes that effect is minimal, and sometimes it can become fatal. Now to address the question in your mind, how do these two relate?

A recent study shows that the contaminants due to air pollution might worsen the effects of the Coronavirus.

However, COVID is still more fatal, but you must also remember that around seven million die each year from air pollution. Air pollution must not be taken lightly, and in this rapid era, it must be given equal attention to COVID.

Effects of Air Pollution on Humans

You have already read various effects of air pollution on human health. Similarly, humans are the sole generators of air contaminants and other agents increasing it.

Exposure to air pollution can cause numerous problems, diseases, and other issues concerning their health. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to bad air quality thus require a more attentive approach.

The most common effects of air pollution on humans are respiratory, heart, vision, skin, and throat irritation problems. In some areas of the world where lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, carbon mono oxide, and nitrogen dioxide are in excess, these problems can become fatal.

Effects of Air Pollution on Plants

Plats are also among the living beings of the planet earth. They are like atmosphere refreshers. They continuously act as natural oxygen generators and consume carbon dioxide, which is the primary cause of global warming.

Similarly, planting more trees can lead to a greener and less polluted earth.

The primary effects of air pollution on plants are low growth, stomata damage, and food shortage. Furthermore, acid rain can harm plants by getting rid of various necessary nutrients.

Did you know that acid rain is also a product of air pollution?

Also Read: Water Pollution | Causes, Effects & Preventions

Effects of Air Pollution on the Animals

Air pollution is a matter of life and death for animals. The air quality is deteriorating so rapidly that air pollution on animals increases each day. More and more animals are losing their health and lives due to contaminated air.

The main problems faced by animals due to breathing polluted air are organ injury, low reproduction rate, and possible deaths. Also, these symptoms are only a few.

Also, did you know that the respiratory system of most animals is a lot weaker than humans?

Similarly, humans are given five senses to protect, express, and take care of themselves. On the other hand, animals cannot express themselves, and their only survival option is human attention.

Why is it that humans are becoming so careless about other alive beings on the planet?

It would be best never to forget that humans need animals to survive.


It is a dire need and a duty of national governments, local communities, individuals, and all of us to contribute to eliminating and reducing air pollution.

Plants and animals, the planet’s secondary living beings, are essential to human life. They are often overlooked and are constantly most affected.

It is a time to switch to other cleaner energy sources. Populations are increasing, and more industries are needed. Similarly, with more demand comes more products – ultimately more air pollution.

The effects of air pollution on the environment are increasing rapidly. Moreover, without requisite advances in pollution prevention, humans will suffer greatly and be wiped out altogether.

Next Read: Essay on Air Pollution in a defined way.

Write A Comment