The Effects of Pollution

Michaela Teeter, Contributor

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Oxygen is a humans most needed nutrient. A person can live weeks to months without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without air. Air pollution is caused by people burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline to produce electricity and power to vehicles. Pollution is also caused by agriculture activities such as the use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers. The exhaust from factories and industries also causes air pollution and others such as mining operations and indoor air pollution.

The effects of air pollution are harming. Air pollution can cause respiratory and heart problems along with cancer. It can also cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. People may also experience coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, difficulties breathing, and an increased risk of a heart attack. Some people may be more sensitive to air pollution. These people usually include children, older adults, and people who are active outdoors as they are exposed to air pollution the most.

Air pollution is not only harmful for people, but it is also harmful for the environment, plants, and animals. Animals depend on oxygen that comes from the air to live. But when contamination occurs, the harmful gases from air pollution are inhaled. The pollution animals inhale over a period can build up in their tissues, causing damage to their organs. Household pets suffer an increased risk of tumors when exposed to air pollution for long a period of time.

Air pollution can damage crops and trees. Ground level ozone can increase susceptibility to crops to accumulate diseases and pests. Air pollution causes acid rain.  In the environment, acid rain damages trees and causes soil and bodies of water to acidify, making the water unsuitable for some fish and other wildlife. Acid rain also speeds up the decay of buildings, sculptures, and statues.

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