Although these events may seem unrelated, they boast an underlying singular cause – the furtherance of global warming and climate change, driven by CO2 emissions and other air pollutants. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 92% of people worldwide do not breathe clean air.
Around the world, air pollution costs economies $5 trillion yearly in welfare. Ground-level ozone pollution is set to cause a 26% reduction in staple crop yields by 2030. But what actions are causing this rise in air pollutants? What is the worst-case scenario if we’re not able to tackle this catastrophe? And do our everyday activities promote (and possibly reduce) its effect?
The Use Of Fossil Fuels Is Driving Air Pollution
One of the primary sources of air pollution is the emission of sulphur dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Our cars, trucks, planes and other means of transportation we use regularly are the major causes of this emission. This is particularly more prevalent in cities around the world with more relaxed laws on vehicle worthiness as cars and other vehicles with properly serviced engines produce less of these harmful pollutants.
Agricultural activities, such as the use of pesticides and fertilizers, burning of farmland, are also significant sources of air pollutants. This is one of the reasons why air pollution has been difficult to beat; we rely so much on these processes for moving around and growing the food that we eat.
Drought, Floods and Cyclones Are All Linked To Air Pollutants
The implications of air pollution on human, animal and plant life are far-reaching; it has been linked to disability and early death as a result of respiratory diseases, cancer and many other health diseases. The effects on our planet are perhaps even more catastrophic; air pollution is playing a pivotal role in the growing impact of drought, flooding and even cyclones.
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Engr. Sam Obiejesi
Head, Environmental/ Renewable & Sustainable Energy Department