While there is now irrefutable proof that climate change is occurring, that does not mean that we should all give up or cease to think of our carbon footprints as important. On the contrary, we should instead pay attention to the pollution monitoring that is ongoing, and we have to do everything that we can to reduce our environmental impact. These seven contributors to air pollution should be on all of our radars.
Internal Combustion Engines
Internal combustion engines that run using fossil fuels have long been one of the main contributors to the depletion of the ozone layer. What all of us can do about this is to walk wherever we can, carpool, take public transportation where it is possible to do so, and drive hybrid or electric cars. Not everyone can afford an electric car yet, but there have been several generations of hybrid vehicles, and if you get one used then it is not too expensive. It’s a small but significant step of which each of us is capable.
Many types of human industry cause air pollution. Industrial activities of various kinds, especially those that involve the burning of coal and oil, deplete the ozone layer and cause other climate damage as well. The worst offenders are the pharmaceutical, ceramic, and petrochemical industries.
Not all sources of environmental damage are caused by humans, however. Particulate matter such as dust is transported around the world, sourced from rocks and soil that combine with sea salt particles from coastal areas. Breathing in this particulate matter contributes to the rate of asthma and other illnesses.
Agriculture hurts the environment too. The use of fertilizers during livestock production might be the cause of more pollution than all other human sources combined, some scientists have claimed. Both Harvard and NASA have recommended scaling back or discontinuing agriculture in its current form.
Deforestation around the globe contributes to pollution. Fire is one of the preferred methods of clearing forest land, and this releases a tremendous amount of particulate matter into the air. Human health and air quality are both taking a hit as a result of this practice.
The waste humans produce has to go somewhere, and the dumping of this often toxic material is hurting the planet. Waste disposal facilities, dumps, and landfills are becoming more prevalent, and the areas around them are poison for various kinds of plant and animal life.
Humans running their air conditioners hurts the environment as well. The production of electricity caused by AC units leads to the creation of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide, all of which negatively impact air quality.
There are many tiny ways each of us can help the environment. We can recycle, discontinue the eating of foods that are not sustainably sourced, and we can rely on transportation options that use a minimum of fossil fuels, or none at all. We only have one planet, and taking care of it is literally a global responsibility. It is one which each of us needs to take seriously.