Air pollution can be described as the act of contaminating the environment through the use of any chemical, biological or physical agent that changes the normal characteristics of the atmosphere(WHO, 2012). Air pollution is a critical issue to be handled due to environmental hazards it presents in many parts of the world. It is a growing environmental threat. The main aim of the paper is to address the environmental threat presented by air pollution, major causes of air pollution and the proposed solutions to handle air pollution. The paper will also analyze how air pollution relates to the Saint Leo University values of respect and responsible stewardship.
Air pollution presents a threat to our environment in a number of ways. The most pressing threat is the negative effect it has on our health(Haluzan, 2009). Air pollution has contributed to several deaths due to respiratory diseases as well as heart problems such as strokes. In fact 2.4 million people die every year as a result air pollution related causes(WHO, 2012). Another major threat presented by air pollution is its impact on global warming. It has a direct impact on climate change because harmful emissions emitted in the air gives greenhouse effect much more impact, thus, causing an increase on Earth’s average temperature. Air pollution also affects the ozone layer in a negative manner. Some harmful chemicals cause the ozone layer to shrink making it thinner enough to allow harmful ultraviolet rays which might increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Another environmental threat of air pollution is acidic rain which might occur due to presence of harmful elements in the atmosphere. Acid rain presents devastating effects in the environment because it pollutes water, destroy habitats of many animals, and in general cause a lot of harm to many ecosystems.
Major causes of air pollution include industrial facilities, motor vehicles, household combustion devices, and forest fires(WHO, 2012). The main sources of air pollution globally are industries and motor vehicles which are still on the verge of increase. More industries and more vehicles means more impact to environmental hazards posed by air pollution. Pollutants which are of major concern include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter(WHO, 2012).
There a several ways to prevent and reduce air pollution and make our atmosphere clean. In our homes, we should try as much as possible to use less energy, meaning that less gas, oil and coal are burnt, thus, reducing the level of air pollution in our homes. Traffic pollution can be reduced by using public transport, walking or cycling more instead of driving. If you need to drive you should use techniques like driving slowly and smoothly to avoid more fuel combustion. When buying things like glues, varnishes and paints, it is advisable to look for products that have low solvent content or are water-based(Haluzan, 2009). To reduce cars pollution, we should try to avoid the traditional cars instead use hybrid cars (greener vehicles) that release less polluting particles. On the other hand we should try to make our industries greener by using renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar and wind energy rather than the highly polluting fossil fuels.
The Saint Leo University is not left behind in addressing the issue of air pollution. It has made tremendous contribution by introducing courses which target air pollution issues. For instance, a student taking a degree in tourism management will definitely have some impact on air pollution reduction through the ecotourism and adventure trips they make. There are also some ecological organizations created in the university whose participators take an active part in identifying, investigating, and finding solutions to the air pollution problems.