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Does your child constantly ask you about air pollution and tips for how to prevent being exposed to it and others? Yes? Then learn about air pollution and interesting facts your kids will simply love to know if the answer is yes.
What is Air Pollution?
Air pollution is an umbrella term for toxic substances being exposed to the air. Put simply, it is-
- The contamination of the atmosphere with harmful gaseous emissions such as smoke, smog and other toxic substances rendered in the air.
- When harmful particulates come in large and small sizes. Asbestos fibres, lead and dust is examples of large particulates in the air while nitrates and sulfates fall under the smaller particulates that blend with moisture to form particulate matter (PM) in the air. Mercury and pesticide particles also mix with the air, rendering it harmful to breathe.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone and hydrogen sulfide are categorized under gaseous pollutants.
What is Indoor Air Pollution?
Indoor pollution is defined by-
- Indoor air pollution falls under the use of air-conditioners, household products, and wall paints.
- Spores grow in air-conditioning ducts which leads to air pollution in homes.
- Radon gases accumulate in closed structures which lead to harmful diseases like cancer.
- The household cleaning products you use to fumigate pest infestations such as cleaning detergents and furniture sprays contain VOCs contributing to indoor air pollution. And let’s not forget the
What Causes Air Pollution?
Air pollution is caused by multiple sources. These are the causes of air pollution for kids-
- Industrial Emissions – Factories release toxic chemical compounds into the air during manufacturing processes that cause air pollution. Dangerous fumes like smoke and smog alongside big and small particulates are released by them as well.
- Fossil Fuels – Fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal burn when you regularly use automobiles like cars, bikes, and buses. These release fumes in the air, thus causing air pollution.
- Natural Sources – From volcanic eruptions to dust storms and pollen distribution in the air, when nature wreaks havoc, you have particulate matter being released into the air, thus contaminating it.
- Paints and Chemical-based Products – Paints from dried walls that leak chemicals to the atmosphere over time which cause air pollution. This also includes household products such as detergents, cleaners, and sprays.
Effects of Air Pollution
The following are the air pollution effects for kids, mankind, and the environment-
- Acid Rain
This causes air pollution and results from toxic substances like sulphuric acid turning into clouds by combining with atmospheric moisture. When these clouds rain, the water droplets are acidic in nature and damage plant life and vegetation.
VOCs combined with nitrogen oxides lead to the formation of ground-level ozone. This causes harm to plant, animal and human life and problems such as asthma and respiratory or lung conditions lead to fatalities from this.
- Carbon Monoxide
When you inhale large amounts of carbon monoxide, it interferes with the proper circulation of blood to the brain and hears due to the lowered flow of oxygen inside your body. This is fatal.
Lead causes damage to the nervous system and presents a host of health conditions. Too much exposure to lead leads to learning impairment, behavioural disorders and damage to the kidneys, reproductive organs, and immune systems. Lead causes soil and water contaminations when spread from air pollution, thus affecting plant and animal life.
- Particulate Matter (PM)
Particulate Matter (PM) inhalation leads to respiratory failure, cardiac disorders and lung problems in people. It leads to the formation of smog and haze, thus interfering with outdoor visibility which leads to road accidents when travelling. Besides this, when PM reaches water bodies, it contaminates them plus the surrounding soils nearby, thus causing acidification and damaging crops and vegetation. Stone monuments are also damaged when exposed to particulate matter (PM).
What is Air Quality Index?
Air Quality Index is a number that’s used to define how polluted a city is. Usually, government agencies calculate this number by modelling air pollutant concentrations over a specified average period of time using an air monitor. Air Quality Indices are described in colours as well which are the following-
- Green – Good quality
- Yellow – Moderate quality
- Orange – Not safe for sensitive people and lung patients
- Red – Poor
- Purple – Very poor
- Maroon – Extremely hazardous
Tips to Prevent Air Pollution
Here are a couple of ways to reduce air pollution for kids, in the environment-
- Use fossil-fuel-free modes of transport such as bicycles, skateboards, and unicycles over automobiles and diesel-based vehicles. If you must commute to work, instead of buying a car that runs on fossil fuel, use the public transport or opt for solar-energy based vehicles. If you’re travelling short distances, try to walk instead of using transportation.
- Practice the art of recycling and segregating wastes based on their types. Recycling reduces waste and prevents air pollution.
- Avoid using chemical-based products, soaps, fertilizers, and pesticides. Go green and choose organic options instead and products that are vegan-based or made from chemical-free substances.
- Add proper ventilation in homes and regularly clean AC ducts to prevent damage to the walls and prevent the release of harmful gases. Make sure to clean the carpets and dust your interiors thoroughly.
- Avoid smoking tobacco and teach your kids to use electronics prudently
Some Additional Air Pollution Facts for Children
Here are some additional interesting facts about air pollution for children-
- London was the first city to use the term ‘smog’ the describe air pollution that comprised of smoke and fog
- Adults breathe up to 3000 gallons of air in a day!
- Indoor air pollution also occurs inside cars, and this is one of the most interesting facts to be aware of regarding air pollution.
- The largest contributor to air pollution is road-based vehicles like cars.
- Los Angeles is rated the highest air-polluted city in the United States
Prevention is better than cure, and the first step towards ensuring the well-being of your kids is by educating them about the hazards and dangers of air pollution. Share this article and teach them how to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle to reduce air pollution.
Also Read: Pollution Facts For Kids