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Causes of Air Pollution

Kashmira Lad Feb 10, 2020
When was the last time you stepped out of your house and inhaled clean, fresh air that really invigorated all your senses? Even our own house is not pollution free. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that close to 3 billion people in the world resort to cooking using coal, unvented stoves, and by burning biomass.
When clean air gets contaminated with pollutants, it is referred to as air pollution. Witnessing a smog in a large city has become a daily sight for many. But when the same smog begins to affect your health in a derogatory manner, it might take a long time for you to recover.

So why not keep yourself abreast and well-informed about how air pollution occurs? Elucidated below are the causes behind pollution of clean air.

Indoor Air Pollution

Tobacco smoke (cigarettes)

It contains formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and other gases.

Bacteria, molds, mildew (bathroom)

These often result from damp sources or improper cleaning of air conditioners.

Closed gas stoves, chimneys, fireplaces

Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are the main pollutants emitted from fireplaces and chimneys that are not vented. Other appliances, such as water heaters, dryers, etc., also release the same gases in some amounts.

Floor tiles, insulation of pipes

Pipes and tiles that have been installed more than ten years ago are major sources of asbestos fibers.

Cleaning products

They contain some amounts of para-dichlorobenzene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Although the effect that these chemicals have on one's health are not life-threatening, prolonged exposure can cause irritation to eyes and throat.

Paint, furniture, and carpets

They are sources of formaldehyde. Not only at home, but furniture and paint or wallpaper, and other plywood appliances can pollute the air at your workplace too.

Foundation of your home

Radon is a noble gas which is odorless, colorless, and radioactive. Released from the bedrock where a house is built and from the construction material, radon is a major cause of concern affecting health.


They are the main source of carbon monoxide, and the emission of this poisonous gas often starts in our own garage.

Outdoor Air Pollution


The major gases that volcanoes release into the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, while carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen fluoride are released in small amounts.

Wildfires and Forest Fires

These fires are the main source of particulate matter having a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers. Other pollutants include carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, etc.

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All these emissions are capable of traveling large distances and having a negative impact on both human health and the environment.


Studies show that cows release methane mostly from burping or belching, than from flatulence. The digested food by cattle and the like also generate methane in the form of their excreta. Either way, it is closer to the amount of methane released by a car in a day.

Mobile Sources

Vehicles, cars, motorbikes, airplanes, vehicles large in size, such as marine vessels, trucks etc., release harmful gases, mainly carbon monoxide.

Stationary Sources

Industries, power plants, furnaces, and burning of fossil fuels are the sources. These stationary sources are a prominent source of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. These oxides combine in the presence of sunlight to form smog -- another dangerous pollutant.


The waste deposited in landfills results in the formation of methane over a period of time.
The causes of this global hazard can be many to name if one really scrutinizes this subject closely. With a little effort from our side, we can help to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution so that we can breathe in a clean and healthy environment.