Air pollution can influence ecosystems in many ways, as it can lead to a domino effect of disrupting the benefits derived by humans from natural resources.
Not only does high levels of air pollutants harm humans and animals, they also have both short and long term effects on plants. In cases where the ozone concentrations are high during summer, it can damage the plants’ leaves and needles, while longer exposure can reduce growth.
Moreover, air pollutants travel far, covering various places before they eventually settle in any form, whether wet or dry,or in terrestrial or sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Sulfur and nitrogen inputs found in the air pollutants can actually increase lake and river acidification.
Overfertilization can also cause nitrogen inputs to rise, which can affect nitrogen-sensitive ecosystems like forests, alpine heathland, raised bogs and fens, species-rich natural pastures, and dry grassland.
Impact of Air Pollution on Human Health
Air pollution is considered as one of this era’s greatest issues, not only for having a huge impact on climate change, but also for its link to increases in morbidity and mortality rate. Public and individual health are also affected by air pollution as there are a lot of pollutants associated to the development of diseases in humans.
Among those pollutants is the Particulate Matter (PM), which are particles with a diameter small enough to penetrate the respiratory system through inhalation. These particles can cause cancer, reproductive and central nervous system dysfunctions, and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Lead and other heavy metals that are absorbed into the human anatomy, can cause chronic intoxication or direct poisoning. Particulate matters havr caused respiratory problems known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), like bronchiolitis, lung cancer and asthma.
Air Pollution and its Contribution to Climate Change
Even though the ozone layer acts as a protection against ultraviolet irradiation, its impaired ability to block UVB rays has allowed high concentrations of UV radiations at ground level. Other air pollutants also harmful to humans include dioxins, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
Lastly, environmental pollution can also geographically affect the distribution of infectious diseases. One way to solve the problem is only through sustainable solutions and multidisciplinary approaches recommended by scientific experts. These recommendations are them implemented by governments as programs.
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