Effects of Air Pollution

Acid Rain

Burning fossil fuels release nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides into the atmosphere. They react with atmospheric moisture to form nitric and sulfuric acids. During precipitation, acids in the air come down as acid rain. Acid rain is harmful to the environment, green plants and soils. Leaves and soils exposed to acid rain are stripped off vital nutrients, depriving the plant of essential nutrients for growth. Acid rains run off into water bodies and too much acid content can harm water animals in the water bodies. Acid rains also speed up decay on houses and metals structures on the earth’s surface.


When a high concentration of nitrogen in the air is washed down during precipitation, they end up in water bodies by run-off. Together with other nutrients, they form a rich condition for algae growth in water bodies. Too many algae compete with other life forms in the waters for nutrients and can end up starving them. The natural ecosystems tend to be affected by eutrophication.


When pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, and halons are emitted into the air, some of them are carried high into the stratosphere by wind action. These chemicals react with the ozone molecules and break them apart. Ozone in the stratosphere is important because they help shield humans and plants from harmful ultraviolet rays. Such chemical reactions thin out the ozone layer, and humans are exposed to cancer, cataract-causing UV rays. UV also harms some crops such as soybeans.


When precursors (volatile organic compounds (VOC), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)) are released into the atmosphere, they react with moisture in the presence on sunlight to cause smog. These chemicals come from vehicular emissions as well as the burning of fuels in homes and industries. Smog is very deadly and mild ones can cause serious breathing problems, nose, eyes and throat irritations, as well as heart and lung complications.

Particulate matter

Tiny things that suspend and stay in the air can also be a bother to many people. Dust from farming and construction, sooth, smoke from backyard burning as well as natural things like seed and pollen dispersion are all things that cause significant harm to people with lung, breathing, asthma and bronchi conditions.

Breathing in foreign particles may also trigger a serious cough and other infections. Carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals such as secondhand smoke, paint and chemical particles) have also become a major concern for many, as indoor pollution is becoming a very new threat to people.