‘There’s so much pollution in the air now that if it weren’t for our lungs there’d be no place to put it at all.’
Robert Orben , Comedian
Air pollution is a bit like the nasty creature in a horror movie – you never see but you know its there – lurking and ready to pounce. It’s almost impossible to see, moves silently on the wind and travels great distances.
It knows no borders and respects no countries. It settles onto our land and water, where it is absorbed into the food chain and ends up at the top of the food chain – inside us.
Sometimes air pollution is natural like when a volcanic eruption spews dust and gases high into our atmosphere shutting down air travel for days, even weeks. Not much we can do about that.
Sometimes acidic forms of air pollution attach themselves to rain drops and get carried down to earth, burning and killing the plants and trees that they touch. This is known as acid rain.
Check out some of the gases that pollute our air, especially in our cities:
* Carbon monoxide
* Carbon dioxide
* Nitrogen dioxide
* Fine particles
* Sulphur dioxide
Some of this pollution gets more attention than others. The main greenhouse gases are Carbon Dioxide and Methane – they trap heat in our atmosphere, putting more energy into our climatic system , and resulting in heavier downpours and drier droughts. These two gases occur naturally and are important for life, but when we make more than nature needs it becomes pollution. Just like when we get too much water it’s called a flood. Pollutants come from the production of energy, the burning of fossil fuels and the production of meat for us to eat. Most things we do make pollution. It harms our environment and harms us. We are changing nature’s delicate balance. What are we doing about this? Who creates the most pollution? Who is the most at risk?