Air Pollution

Air pollution refers to the contamination of air through the release of harmful dust particles, smoke or gases from factories, households, vehicles etc into the atmosphere. This occurs when the air in the atmosphere is altered, chemically, physically or biologically. The alteration makes the air dirty and unfit for humans, plants and animals.

Causes

Mining

During mining, various equipment are used to carry out different activities like drilling, excavating, blasting of rocks, among others. These activities release dust, smoke and even chemicals into the atmosphere, causing massive air pollution. These pollutants affect the health of miners and people living around mines.

Burning of Fossil Fuels

When fossil fuels, such as petroleum and coal are burned, sulfur dioxide, which is a harmful gas, is emitted into the atmosphere, causing air pollution. Polluted gas and smoke emitted from cars, trains, trucks and airplanes that we often use as our means of transport also contribute to air pollution. Other gases like carbon monoxide released as a result of incomplete fuel combustion and nitrogen oxides produced during our daily activities, such as when burning garbage and from untreated waste materials released from factories also cause air pollution.

Agricultural Activities

Hazardous gases like ammonia are often released from fertilizers used in agriculture. The frequent use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and other farm chemicals also pollute the air. These products also cause water pollution when they are washed into water bodies during rainy seasons.

Exhaust from Factories and Industries

Manufacturing is one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors in the world. Large amounts of untreated gases that are released into the atmosphere like carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and sulfur are very dangerous to human and plant life. Chemical wastes, organic compounds, and hydrocarbons that are emitted from factories and industries also affect the quality of air.

Effects of Air Pollution

Respiratory and Heart Problems

Air pollution affects millions of people. Studies have linked numerous respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia and asthma, to air pollution. Increased cases of cancer and heart conditions have also been reported across the world to have affected and even cost millions of lives thanks to air pollution.

Global Warming

The adverse effects of global warming are felt in various countries, ranging from increased temperature and severe drought to increased cases of flooding, melting of icebergs and loss of natural flora. The polluted air eats up the ozone layer, exposing lives to harmful heat radiation.

Acid Rain

Acid rain forms when water droplets combine with air pollutants, such as sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. The mixture cools, condenses and falls as acidic rain. Acidic rain is known to be corrosive in nature and causes damage to iron surfaces. It also causes serious health problems if the water is consumed by people and animals.

Environmental Issues in Ireland and the UK

When it comes to the environment in most parts of the world, there are no shortages of things to be concerned about. Although many of the challenges which each country will face will be similar, there will also be some that are more of a priority than others. This is undoubtedly because there are so many components that have to be factored in.

What Are Ireland’s Main Environmental Concerns?

To sustain the environment of Ireland, it means not only identifying environmental issues which are having an impact now, but learning to forecast the future. The current problems that apply to both for Ireland include:

  • Global warming
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Waste conditions
  • Biodiversity loss

Then, on the positive side environmental efforts which have been in the works for a while, are now beginning to show the benefits. Such as:

  • Irish swimming sites are meeting excellent standards.
  • Renewal energy is making good headway,
  • Irish soil is classed as being in good condition, which shows that efforts in this area are making progress.

The Environmental Responsibilities

No one party, group or government can take on the sole responsibility for the environment in Ireland, or any other part of the world. It takes a collective effort on the part of every person. Every individual should keep themselves informed ” with good resources like those that are found here that produce newsworthy” information.

Both within the respective countries and outside of them. Often, as a human society, we forget that everyone owns a piece of this earth and as a possession, it comes with responsibility.

Personal Assessments

If each person did their assessment as to how they could support the economy, then it would lessen the workload for those who must expend the resources to attend to the environmental needs. This would be at the government level.

Extended Government Responsibilities

The responsibility for Ireland’s environmental needs goes beyond the interior of the country and finances. Every country’s environment can affect their neighbours and even have a global effect. This means governments of all nations must work towards one common goal. This is a more critical task than any of the others.

Getting every country on the same page is monumental. They all want to deal with their immediate issues. So, what may be a problem for Ireland, may not be for Canada or the USA, at least not as a priority. However, just having an agreement to acknowledge the need for environmental dialogue is good.

The Repercussions

If countries do not work together on environmental changes, then the efforts of those which do, get seriously downgraded. A prime example of this is the very term “global warming”. It is not just one country that is contributing to this, yet every country needs to work towards the solution.

Noise Pollution

Loud sound from music, our phones, television sets, traffic or crowds of people pollutes the environment. For many of us, pollution is limited to resources and nature. However, any sound that tampers with our normal rhythm of life is pollution.

Causes of Noise Pollution

Construction Activities

During construction of bridges, roads, buildings, dams, among other structures, the equipment used are noisy. For instance, rocks are blasted using very loud explosives during construction of roads and dams. This contributes to noise pollution.

Industrialization

Industries and factories use big machines that produce a lot of noise. They include exhaust fans, grinding mills, compressors, and generators. The environment is so noisy that workers are advised to wear earplugs to reduce the effects of noise and minimize the chances of developing hearing loss among other side effects.

Poor Urban Planning

Poor urban planning causes congestion in towns and cities. This is worsened by the large population that scrambles for employment. The number of automobiles in urban areas is also high, meaning that vehicle noise is common in these areas – not to mention frequent fights over basic amenities and loud music done by companies promoting their products.

Effects of Noise Pollution

Simple as it looks, noise pollution has far-reaching effects on human life. The effects include:

Hearing problems: Constant exposure to loud noise reduces our sensitivity to sounds that our ears pick up in order to regulate our body’s rhythm. It damages our eardrums leading to loss of hearing.

Trouble Communicating: Loud noise causes misunderstanding when people are talking. It is even difficult to get what someone else is saying when the environment is too noisy.

Sleep disturbance: Sleeping in a noisy environment is difficult.

Light Pollution

About a century a ago, millions of children in the world could stare at the sky at night to see the Milky Way. But as of today, the spectacular view of the universe has been impaired by the use of artificial light at night. The widespread use of artificial light has increased across the globe, especially in urban areas. Thanks to this, light pollution has never been higher.

Light Pollution Types

Skyglow – brightening of the night sky, especially in towns and cities

Glare – excessive artificial brightness, which causes visual discomfort

Clutter – excessively bright and confusing groupings of light sources

Light trespass – light falling where it is not needed</p>

Prevention Tips

While other types types of pollution are hurdle when it comes prevention, light pollution is easily reversible. This can be done through:

Cut-off – cutting off ensures that light is only directed to where it is needed. Choosing proper exterior light fixtures with cut-off angles helps minimize lighting, improves visibility, and reduces high angle brightness.

Warm-up – this can be done by using LED bulbs and fluorescent lamps, which often produce white warm lighting.

Shielding – Ensure your exterior light fixtures are shielded to prevent directing light to the sky