Facts About the Air Around Us
Air has a vital role in your survival. The air is made up of different mixed gases retained by the earth’s gravity. What comes to your mind anytime you hear of air is oxygen, right? But to your realization, oxygen is not the only major element in the air. Nevertheless, oxygen is also an essential element for the existence of life on this planet. The air is composed of different gases, which are:
Carbon dioxide 0.04%
Water vapor does not have a detectable amount but has a varying amount with dust particles, while other gases have a meager amount. Let’s have a dive into the main components of air.
It has the chemical symbol O2 and is the most important chemical element present in the air. Oxygen is used for cellular respiration or breathing and is also used for combustion. Many essential organic molecules that are present in your body have oxygen as its constituent, e.g., protein, carbohydrate, proteins, fats. The practical applications are the artificially produced oxygen for underwater breathing, mountaineers climbing in high altitude make us of oxygen for sustainability in their oxygen cylinder; this is to put to you that oxygen is not only a vital element for breathing alone but also in recreational activities.
Its chemical symbol is CO2. Carbon dioxide is a trace gas in the air because it is in a small amount. CO2. It is used in additive for the regulation of acidity in food. From what I stated earlier about the combustion ability of oxygen, carbon dioxide is used in fire extinguishers to kill the fire. It surrounds the fire and cuts the supply of oxygen, hence quenches the fire. Interestingly, carbon dioxide is a trace element, but its amount increases due to human activities like the combustion of fossil fuel, deforestation, and industrialization: this activity leads to the emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but this article will educate you on how to remain safe.
This element is the abundant component of air with a percentage rate of 78%. Its production evolves naturally from nitrogen fixation: a continuous cycle between the atmosphere and living organism (you). Usage includes drug production, production of fertilizer. It has a sabotaging effect on oxygen. It can displace oxygen in an enclosed area which often leads to a situation of asphyxia: lack of oxygen in the body that results in unconsciousness and often death.
Water vapor concentration in the atmospheric air is dependent on the temperature, varying from 0.01% to 4.24%. Apart from other gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to the greenhouse effect, water vapor is also a contributor. Water vapor is immensely used globally. You use it in your cooking and also in the generation of energy. Another advanced usage is transportation in a hot air balloon.
Argon is the most abundant element present in the air. It has the chemical symbol l, Ar. It is a noble gas. Argon is produced industrially from the fractional distillation of liquid air. It is very difficult to detect because it is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. Medically, it is used as a blue laser for curing eye defects and for tumor destruction in the body.
Any fine solid particle is referred to as dust particles. So, referring to atmospheric dust, it is called Aeolian. Dust particles come from both nature and humans, i.e., volcanic eruption, pollution, or soil. Dust particles in minute quantities might contain pollens, soot particles, hair of humans or animals. It causes a high risk to health. For instance, coal combustion contributes to respiratory diseases, while in some people, it causes an allergic effect.
The atmospheric air also contains other gases like sulfur, neon, helium, and so on. For your survival here on earth, respiration is inevitable. The air constituent must be regulated in the right balance. From the complications caused by air pollution, some organs in the body get affected, which degrade your quality of living.
Effects of Air Pollution on the Organs in the Body
The traveling of an inhaled pollutant till it reaches the bloodstream disrupts the availability of oxygen in the blood. Oxygen is an important constituent for blood production: erythropoiesis. Reduction in oxygen results in less blood production. In addition, inhalation of lead and carbon monoxide, mostly from automobiles, causes muscular problems resulting in high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Reproduction and Childbirth
Pregnant women exposed to toxic chemicals may have it accumulated in their bloodstream, which weakens their immune system. Unfortunately for the fetus, it could lead to death. It can also result in some complications like low birth weight, mental health, leukemia, childhood obesity, or even premature birth. Further consequences that could spring up include impaired neurological development such as learning defects, lower IQ—the risk of Alzheimer’s increases.
Skin and Bone Issues
Various ways have been linked to how the skin could get affected by air pollution. Ultraviolet rays which deplete the ozone layer increase your chance of becoming a cancer patient—skin and bones issues like premature skin aging, brittle bone, hives, skin irritation, and inflammation.
The immune cells see pollution particles as Bacteria. The inflammatory protein from the inhaled toxic particles spreads throughout your body, affecting your brain, kidney, pancreas, and so on. Strokes, dementia reduces intelligence. From research, poor sleep could be the consequence of breathing toxic air. The brain and mind will be in chaos from deep inhalation.
Inhaling particulate matter could weaken your nasal cavity tissue, which can cause a running nose and cough. Deep inhalation can affect your lungs, thereby resulting in lung infection. This could lead to shortness of breath and inflammation. From Asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) to emphysema to lung cancer.
Sources of Air pollution
The air gets polluted on a daily basis both by human and natural factors.
- The burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas, and gasoline, which produces energy for your electricity and transportation, releases Carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, which renders the atmosphere unsafe for you.
- Industrial Emission of Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are key pollutants that are released from industries.
- Indoor air pollution: Most of our indoor activities and our household products are capable of contaminating the air. The use of care products, cleaners, Paints, wood, and stoves or space heater is capable of increasing the humidity level. Inadequate ventilation makes it difficult to get rid of polluted air. Hence, indoor air pollution is 10 times greater than outdoor air pollution.
- Agricultural activities: contaminations from fertilizers and pesticides reduced the air quality.
- Transportation where vehicles mostly in urban cities release gases into the air. The pollutant released into the air is compared to smoking 10 cigarettes a day—pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons.
- Open combustion of garbage waste: burning of waste in an open environment release pollutant that tampers with your health. In the long run, it ends in cancer, liver problems, impaired immune system, reproductive problems, and nervous system impairment.
- Construction, demolition, and wildfires: increment in the population of a geographical area brings about construction for development: bricks and concrete cause foul and haze air. Also, the burning of farmlands to get rid of weeds is a source of air pollution.
Prevention of Air Pollution
Our lives are at the expense of polluted air. Here are tips or guidelines to reduce air pollution either from you or the environment:
- Minimize air pollution from cars: do not speed aggressively with your automobiles. It causes more emissions of pollutants into the environment, which is harmful to your health. Get cars that passed the emission test. Avoid cars that use diesel as their liquid fuels. Better still, check-in for hybrid or electric cars. Irrespective of the cars you are using, replace the air filter at recommended intervals.
- Save energy and use efficiently: the combustion of fuel combustion for energy production releases pollutants like Mercury, Black carbon, and so on. Switch to renewable energy and make use of your appliances smartly. The use of air conditioner demands more energy, therefore switch to using of fans. An air conditioner would be only advisable during summer because of its ability to reduce the temperature by a few degrees.
- Plant trees: support and practice afforestation. The presence of trees around you, purify the air you breathe in. Trees planted on roadsides are a preventive measure that prevents you from harmful automobiles smokes.
- Grow your own foods and eat more fruits: food and fruit rich in nutrients help you to get rid of some dangerous emissions. Growing your own food, make fresh food available to you.
- Do not smoke indoors.
- Always open your window for proper ventilation.
- Use a filter for chymes.
- Make use of public transport since it requires less energy, less gas and also saves money.