Car pollution is a major cause of damage to the environment. It is also one of the major concerns that environmentalists are dealing with.
Air pollution caused by cars is a serious problem. Emissions from car exhaust contain a range of toxic substances that cause car pollution. Some of these harmful substances are described below.
- When fuel is burnt in the car engines, the main gases produced are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and water.
- The main gas released from car exhausts -- carbon dioxide – is one of the major green house gasses. With large amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere everyday, the carbon cycle goes out of balance, and the carbon dioxide gas remains in the earth’s atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to global warming and climate change.
- Nitrous oxides, produced as a result of combusting fuel at excessive temperatures, contribute significantly to car pollution. Nitrogen oxide is a major cause of acid rain. Over the years, better techniques have reduced the amount of nitrous oxide released from cars but these gases are still responsible for around 8% of global warming.
- Another harmful and poisonous gas from car exhausts is carbon monoxide, which many of us are familiar with. It is produced when there is incomplete combustion of the fuel. Our cars contribute to about 2/3 of the world’s carbon monoxide gases in the atmosphere.
- Car exhausts also contain harmful air pollutants like soot, sulfur dioxide, benzene and formaldehyde.
The chemicals from car exhaust are hazardous to human health and have a serious impact on the environment. Some of the harmful effects of car pollution are listed below.
- Respiratory Diseases - Car pollution aggravates lung diseases such as asthma and other pulmonary diseases. The pollutants from car exhaust can also cause burning eyes, coughing and breathing difficulties.
- Anemia – Lead, a pollutant produced from burning leaded fuel, interferes with normal red blood cell creation by reducing important enzymes in the body. Lead also damages red blood cell membranes and obstructs with cell metabolism, shortening the lifespan of each individual cell. All of these harmful effects can cause anemia.
- Cancer - Benzene is one of the pollutants released by cars. This pollutant has been linked to lowered immunity and leukemia.
- Acid Rain – Pollution from car exhaust contributes to the formation of acid rain – acidic gases from car exhaust dissolve in rain to form acid rain. Acid rain can in turn acidify water bodies, as well as dissolve away certain nutrients in soil and affect the growth of plants. Acid rain also increases the decay of buildings and monuments. Water species cannot survive in the water that has a higher acidic level. Read more about ocean acidification.
- Greenhouse effect and global warming – Many of the gases from car exhaust, such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, are green house gasses. These gases trap heat within the Earth’s atmosphere through what is known as the green house effect, in turn contributing to global warming and global climate change. Read more about greenhouse effect and global warming.
Cars continue to be a significant contributor to air pollution. Although new technologies and cleaner fuel can help cut down emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere, they are not replacing the non-green conventional cars fast enough, especially with the day-by-day increase in the number of new non-green cars introduced on the roads.
Even if we are not able to switch to an eco car at this moment, there are many driving tips for going green that we can adopt that can help us reduce the pollution from our automobiles and reduce our carbon footprint.
Most appalling air pollution scenes
If you have ever witnessed air pollution scenes that are either disturbing or heart-wrenching, share photos of these pollution scenes with our readers, so that the photos may open the eyes of those who are still unmoved about the environmental problems of the world today.
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