In the day and age we live in, air pollution is a sad fact of life. We claim to be civilized and modern, yet the environment we inhabit has declined under our watch. All elements of nature, including that of earth, water and air have suffered pollution in the last two centuries. This essay will confine itself with air pollution. The following passages expose the major sources of air pollution while also suggesting some constructive measures for alleviating the problem.
One of the main causes of air pollution is automobiles. The combustion engines of most automobiles utilize fossil fuels, which produced green-house gases upon releasing energy. These greenhouse gases accumulate at a certain zone in the higher atmosphere and trap sunlight received by the earth. This phenomenon of increased temperature is called Global Warming. There is also the attend phenomenon of Global Dimming to contend with. Hereby, the amount of light reaching the surface of the earth is also reduced proportional to the increase in global temperature. It is unfortunate that we no longer treat automobiles as items of utility and have converted them into status symbols. So, with people wanting to display their social standing by conspicuous consumption of luxury vehicles, it is increasingly difficult to control the problem of air pollution.
The other major cause of air pollution is deforestation. Rich tropical forests serve as natural cleansers of pollutants by consuming Carbon-di-oxide and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. But due to rampant urbanization and commercial exploitation of niche tropical rain forests, this delicate natural cycle is put into imbalance. This again compounds the accumulation of greenhouse gas and further augments global temperature. Urbanization also results in unhealthy waste disposal methods. This not only pollutes the air but also creates conditions for spread of endemic diseases.
Heavy industries are another contributor to air pollution. In the last two centuries, ever since the event of the Industrial Revolution, societies move away from being agrarian and embraced industrialization. Though there were advantages in terms of scale, speed and efficiency of production, the impact on the environment was overwhelmingly negative. Toxic sludge released by many industrial plants contaminates our rivers and plains, posing huge health risks. Likewise, the exhaust pipes of these plants release numerous toxic gases into the atmosphere, leading to air contamination. Environmental regulators are not able to check this form of air pollution.
Hence in conclusion, the problem of air pollution we are facing today is one of our own making. As a society we need to wake ourselves from complacency and address the issue with utmost expediency. Already, the effects of global warming are starting to change the natural climatic cycles in many parts of the world. The El Nino effect is one such example. We also need to abandon the culture of conspicuous consumption. Instead of aspiring to own luxury cars and SUVs, a greater reliance on public transportation and car-pooling must be adopted. As a society, we need to change our mindset toward embracing austerity. We should also develop compassion and respect for the wilderness, for the quality of air is directly related to the flourishing of natural reservations.