Here is a compilation of essay topics on ‘Air Pollution’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay Topics on Air Pollution
- Essay on the Introduction to Air Pollution
- Essay on the Sources of Air Pollution
- Essay on the Health Hazards of Air Pollution
- Essay on the Effects of Air Pollution
- Essay on the Contribution of Transport Sector in Odisha towards Air Pollution
- Essay on the Measures to Control Air Pollution
Essay Topic # 1. Introduction to Air Pollution:
The magnitude and adverse effects of air pollution on society and surroundings of the country and a trip on action oriented programme and government policies to combat the menace of air pollution are presented in this article. Who has defined air pollution as “the presence in air of substances put there by acts of man in concentration sufficient to interfere with the comfort, safety or health of man or with the full use or enjoyment of his property”.
The presence of contaminants in the atmosphere is considered to be in sufficient quantities and duration, to cause them to be injurious to human health animal and plant life and reduce welfare in general.
Ecological imbalance embodied in air pollution is caused by natural sources and man-made sources. Volcanic eruptions, forest fires caused, by the practice of shifting cultivation, dust storms and pollen grains of flowers are natural sources of air pollution.
Man-nature interaction results in air pollution. Natural resources, whether renewable or non-renewable are scarce in a country and hence demands productive use of these precious resources. The consideration of future generations for welfare promotion requires conservation of natural resources, so that the interest of future generation is not sacrificed by excessive exploitation of scarce resources by the present generation. Nature provides enough for man’s needs and not his wants/greed. To that extent sustainable development is undermined.
Essay Topic # 2. Sources of Air Pollution:
Pollution comes from several sources: air, water, sound, light and simply growth of population. An individual is affected by these pollutants some times without knowledge. Here we would discuss about the pollution created through air, which is one of the main causes of total pollutions in an area. There are various locations, activities or factors which are responsible for releasing pollutants into the atmosphere.
These sources can be classified into two major categories:
(1) Man-Made Sources and
(2) Natural Sources.
(1) Man-Made Sources:
These are mostly related to the burning of multiple types of fuel.
Here also there are several categories of sources:
1. Stationary Sources include smoke stacks of power plants, manufacturing facilities (factories) arid waste incinerators, as well as furnaces and other types of fuel- burning heating devices. In developing and poor countries, traditional biomass burning is the major source of air pollutants; traditional biomass includes wood, crop waste and dung. Mobile Sources include motor vehicles, marine vessels, and aircraft.
2. Chemicals, dust and controlled burn practices in agriculture and forest management. Controlled or prescribed burning is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing me forest.
3. Fumes from paint, hair spray, varnish, aerosol sprays and other solvents.
4. Waste deposition in landfills, which generate methane. Methane is highly flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air. Methane is also an asphyxiate and may displace oxygen in an enclosed space. Asphyxia or suffocation may result if the oxygen concentration is reduced to below 19.5 per cent by displacement.
5. Military resources, such as nuclear weapons, toxic gases, germ warfare and rocketry.
(2) Natural Sources:
1. Dust from natural sources, usually large areas of land with few or no vegetation.
2. Methane, emitted by the digestion of food by animals, for example cattle.
3. Radon gas from radioactive decay within the Earth’s crust. Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring, radioactive noble gas that is formed from the decay of radium. It is considered to be a health hazard. Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in buildings, especially in confined areas such as the basement and it is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking.
4. Smoke and carbon monoxide from wildfires.
5. Vegetation, in some regions, emits environmentally significant amounts of VOCs on warmer days. These VOCs react with primary anthropogenic pollutants— specifically, NOx, SO2, and anthropogenic organic carbon compounds—to produce a seasonal haze of secondary pollutants.
6. Volcanic activity, which produces sulfur, chlorine, and ash particulates.
Essay Topic # 3. Health Hazards of Air Pollution:
Air pollution risk is a function of the hazard of the pollutant and the exposure to that pollutant. Air pollution exposure can be expressed for an individual, for certain groups, or for entire populations. For example, one may want to calculate the exposure to a hazardous air pollutant for a geographic area, which includes the various microenvironments and age groups.
This can be calculated as an inhalation exposure. This would account for daily exposure in various settings (e.g. different indoor micro-environments and outdoor locations). The exposure needs to include different age and other demographic groups, especially infants, children, pregnant women and other sensitive subpopulations.
The exposure to an air pollutant must integrate the concentrations of the air pollutant with respect to the time spent in each setting and the respective inhalation rates for each subgroup for each specific time that the subgroup is in the setting and engaged in particular activities that is, playing, cooking, reading, working, etc.
For example, a small child’s inhalation rate will be less than that of an adult. A child engaged in vigorous exercise will have a higher respiration rate than the same child in a sedentary activity. The daily exposure, then, needs to reflect the time spent in each micro- environmental setting and the type of activities in these settings. The air pollutant concentration in each micro activity/ micro environmental setting is summed to indicate the exposure.
Air pollution is a significant risk factor for multiple health conditions including respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer, according to the WHO. The health effects caused by air pollution may include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, asthma and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions. These effects can result in increased medication use, increased doctor or emergency room visits, more hospital admissions and, premature death.
The human health effects of poor air quality are far reaching, but principally affect the body’s respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. Individual reactions to air pollutants depend on the type of pollutant a person is exposed to, the degree of exposure, the individual’s health status and genetics.
The most common sources of air pollution include particulates, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Both indoor and outdoor air pollution have caused approximately 3.3 million deaths worldwide. Children aged less than five years that live in developing countries are the most vulnerable population in terms of total deaths attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution.
According to the World Health Organization 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1.5 million of these deaths attributable to indoor air pollution. “Epidemiological studies suggest that more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease linked to breathing fine particle air pollution.
A study by the University of Birmingham has shown a strong correlation between pneumonia related deaths and aim pollution from motor vehicles. Worldwide more deaths per year are linked to air pollution than to automobile accidents. A 2005 study by the European Commission calculated that air pollution reduces life expectancy by an average of almost nine months across the European Union.
Causes of deaths include aggravated asthma, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies. In The USA EPA estimates that a proposed set of changes in diesel engine technology (Tier 2) could result in 12,000 less premature mortality, 15,000 fewer heart attacks, 6,000 fewer emergency room visits by children with asthma and 8,900 fewer respiratory-related hospital admissions each year in the United States.
Essay Topic # 4. Effects of Air Pollution:
The worst short term civilian pollution crisis in India was the 1984 Bhopal Disaster. Leaked industrial vapours from the Union Carbide factory, belonging to Union Carbide, Inc., U.S.A. (later bought over by Dow Chemical Company), killed more than 25,000 people outright and injured anywhere from 150,000 to 600,000. The United Kingdom suffered its worst air pollution event when the December 4 Great Smog of 1952 formed over London. In six days more than 4,000 died, and 8,000 more died within the following months.
Diesel exhaust is a major contributor to combustion derived particulate matter air pollution. In several human experimental studies, using a well validated exposure chamber setup, DE has been linked to acute vascular dysfunction and increased thrombus formation. This serves as a plausible mechanistic link between the previously described association between particulates air pollution and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
(i) Effects on Cardiovascular Health:
A 2007 review of evidence found ambient air pollution exposure is a risk factor correlating with increased total mortality from cardiovascular events. Air pollution is also emerging as a risk factor for stroke, particularly in developing countries where pollutant levels are highest.
A 2007 study found that in women air pollution is associated not with hemorrhagic but with ischemic stroked Air pollution was also found to be associated with increased incidence and mortality from coronary stroke in a cohort study in 2011. Associations are believed to be causal and effects may be mediated by vasoconstriction, low-grade inflammation or autonomic nervous system imbalance or other mechanisms.
(ii) Effects on Cystic Fibrosis:
A study from around the years of 1999 to 2000, by the University of Washington, showed that patients near and around particulates air pollution had an increased risk of pulmonary exacerbations and decrease in lung function. Patients were examined before the study for amounts of specific pollutants like Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Burkholderia cenocepacia as well as their socioeconomic standing.
Participants involved in the study were located in the United States in close proximity to an Environmental Protection Agency. During the time of the study 117 deaths were associated with air pollution. Many patients in the study lived in or near large metropolitan areas in order to be close to medical help.
These same patients had higher level of pollutants found in their system because of more emissions in larger cities. As cystic fibrosis patients already suffer from decreased lung function, everyday pollutants such as smoke, emissions from automobiles, tobacco smoke and improper use of indoor heating devices could further compromise lung function.
(iii) Effects on COPD and Asthma:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Researchers have demonstrated increased risk of developing asthma and COPD from increased ‘exposure’ to traffic-related air pollution.
Additionally, air pollution has been associated with increased hospitalizations and mortality from asthma and COPD. A study conducted in 1960-1961 in the wake of the Great Smog of 1952 compared 293 London residents with 477 residents of Gloucester, Peterborough, and Norwich, three towns with low reported death rates from chronic bronchitis.
All subjects were male postal truck drivers aged 40 to 59. Compared to the subjects from the outlying towns, the London subjects exhibited more severe respiratory symptoms (including cough, phlegm, and dispread), reduced lung function and peak flow rate), and increased sputum production and purulence. The differences were more pronounced for subjects aged 50 to 59.
The study controlled for age and smoking habits, so concluded that air pollution was the most likely cause of the observed differences. It is believed that much like cystic fibrosis, by living in a more urban environment serious health hazards become more apparent. Studies have shown that in urban areas patients suffer mucus hyper secretion, lower levels of lung function, and more self-diagnosis of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
(iv) Causes for Cancer:
A review of evidence regarding whether ambient air pollution exposure is a risk factor for cancer in 2007 found solid data to conclude that long-term exposure to PM2.5 (fine particulates) increases the overall risk of non-accidental mortality by 6 per cent per a 10 micro g/m3 increase. Exposure to PM2.5 was also associated with an increased risk of mortality from lung cancer (range: 15% to 21% per a 10 microg/m3 increase) and total cardiovascular mortality (range: 12% to 14% per a 10 microg/m3 increase).
The review further noted that living close to busy traffic appears to be associated with elevated risks of these three outcomes increase in lung cancer deaths, cardiovascular deaths, and overall non-accidental deaths. The reviewers also found suggestive evidence that exposure to PM2.5 is positively associated with mortality from coronary heart diseases and exposure to SO2 increases mortality from lung cancer, but the data was insufficient to provide solid conclusions.
In 2011, a large Danish epidemiological study found an increased risk of lung cancer for patients who lived in areas with high nitrogen oxide concentrations. In this study, the association was higher for non-smokers than smokers. An additional Danish study, also in 2011, likewise noted evidence of possible associations between air pollution and other forms of cancer, including cervical cancer and brain cancer.
(v) Effects on Children:
Around the world, children living in cities with high exposure to air pollutants are at increased risk of developing asthma, pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections. Air pollution is also a significant contribution to environmental toxins in pregnancy.
The World Health Organization reports that the greatest concentrations of participates are found in countries with low economic world power and high poverty and population growth rates. Examples of these countries include Egypt, Sudan, Mongolia, and Indonesia.
However, even in the United States, despite the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, in 2002 at least 146 million Americans were living in non-attainment areas—regions in which the concentration of certain air pollutants exceeded federal standards.
These dangerous pollutants are known as the criteria pollutants, and include ozone, particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead. Protective measures to ensure children’s health are being taken in cities such as New Delhi, India where buses now use compressed natural gas to help eliminate the “pea-soup” smog.
(vi) In Clean Areas:
Even in the areas with relatively low levels of air pollution, public health effects can be significant and costly, since a large number of people breathe in such pollutants. A 2005 scientific study for the British Columbia Lung Association showed that a small improvement in air quality (1% reduction of ambient PM2.5 and ozone concentrations) would produce a $29 million in animal ‘saving’s in the Metro Vancouver region in 2010 This finding is based on health valuation of lethal (death) and sub-lethal (illness) affects.
Essay Topic # 5. Contribution of Transport Sector in Odisha towards Air Pollution:
In Odisha, the State Transport Authority (STA) is the Apex body of motor vehicle department. It looks after the administration and management of road transport sector of the State. The air pollution is intimately connected to land- use and transportation. It includes such as community planning, road design, traffic control and mass transportation etc.
Traffic congestion reduces average traffic speed. At low speeds vehicle burns more fuels and pollute more per trip. At average trip speeds between 20 to 40 kilometres per hour, the cars pollutant emission was twice as much as when the average speed was 55 to 75 kilometres per hour. The fuel efficiencies similarly were much worse with traffic congestion.
The growth of vehicles from 2001 to 2011 has been represented in Table 1.1. The total No. of vehicles was 8,66,150 in 2001, but it has grown to a level of 30,33,944 in 2011. It signifies the growth of vehicles 350 times during the study period. It is also found that the annual growth rate of vehicles on an average of 14 per cent in most of the year during the study period.
The growth rate of vehicles is lowest (9.84%) in the year 2008 and highest (14.93%) in the year 2011. In the year 2010, the 80 per cent of total vehicles is under two wheelers and both car and goods vehicles is 6 per cent each. The automobiles emission is an environmental hazard in major cities in the State such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Rourkela etc.
The State Government has taken Pollution under Control (PUC) certificate obligatory for all categories of vehicles since 1997. As in 2008, 79 pollution testing centre have been opened by the Government to checkup auto emission levels and issue PUC certificate to different categories of vehicles.
The other preventive measures have also taken by the Government like use gas analyzers, catalytic converters and use of unleaded petrol in two and four wheelers have been initiated by the Government to minimize the hazards of vehicles pollution.
Essay Topic # 6. Measures to Control Air Pollution:
There are various air pollution control technologies and land use planning strategies available to reduce air pollution at its most basic level land use planning is likely to involve zoning and transport infrastructure planning. In most developed countries, land-use planning is an important part of social policy, ensuring that land is used efficiently for the benefit of the wider economy and population as well as to protect the environment.
Efforts to reduce pollution from mobile sources includes primary regulation (many developing countries have permissive regulations), expanding regulation to new sources (such as cruise and transport ships, farm equipment, and small gas-powered equipment such as lawn trimmers, chainsaws, and snowmobiles, increased fuel efficiency (such as through the use of hybrid vehicles), conversion to cleaner fuels (such as bioethanol, biodiesel, or conversion to electric vehicles).
Titanium dioxide has been researched for its ability to reduce air pollution. Ultra violet light will release free electrons from the material creating free radicals, breaking up VOCs and NOx gases. One form is super hydrophilic.
The following items are commonly used as pollution control devices by industry or transportation devices. They can either destroy contaminants or remove them from an exhaust stream before it is emitted into the atmosphere.
i. Mechanical collectors (dust cyclones, multicyclones)
ii. Electrostatic Precipitators:
An electrostatic precipitator (ESP), or electrostatic air cleaner is a particulate collection device that removes particles from a flowing gas (such as air) using the force of an induced electrostatic charge. Electrostatic precipitators are highly efficient filtration devices that minimally impede the flow of gases through the device, and can easily remove fine participates such as dust and smoke from the air stream.
Designed to handle heavy dust loads, a dust collector consists of a blower, dust filter, a filter-cleaning system, and a dust receptacle or dust removal system (distinguished from air cleaners which utilize disposable filters to remove the dust).
iv. Particulate Scrubbers:
Wet scrubber is a form of pollution control technology. The term describes a variety of devices that use pollutants from a furnace flue gas or from other gas streams. In a wet scrubber, the polluted gas stream is brought into contact with the scrubbing liquid, by spraying it with the liquid, by forcing it through a pool of liquid, or by some other contact method, so as to remove the pollutants.
Environmentalists advise for people’s activities according to the to the Air Health Index which is tabulated in Table 10.1.
If the Air Health Index (AHI) is below 4 health risks is very low, one can enjoy outdoor activities without any fear. But if AHI is above 10 one has to reduce strenuous activates outside to prevent health hazards.
Air pollution mainly affects in urban areas, and as world is moving fast in urbanization the hazard have to be faced more and more in cities and towns in comparison to rural areas. Survey of cities world-wide for air pollution in 2004 shows top eight cities according to air pollution seven are in Asia, of which four in India. Delhi is the second position air pollution in the world after Cairo.
Air Pollution Index and cities are shown in Table 10.2:
Pollution in the society created from several sources. Air pollution is one of the important pollution that creates several health hazards for people and makes the life miserable. Deaths from air pollutions reported from all over the world over that is in increasing trend.
It effects on cardiovascular health, effects on cystic fibrosis and also causes for Cancer around the world. Children living in cities with high exposure to air pollutants are at increased risk of developing asthma, pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections.
In clean areas also air pollution, public health effects can be significant and costly, since a large number of people breathe in such pollutants. Air pollution cannot be fully eliminated but measures taken to prevent air pollution would lead to an healthier life in the world.