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There are many causes of air pollution – from natural to anthropogenic sources.

There are many causes of air pollution – from natural to anthropogenic sources. Natural sources of air pollution involve volcanic eruptions and forest fires. Anthropogenic sources are primarily caused by humans. These are usually the most significant contributors to air pollution.

The causes of air pollution can either be anthropogenic (man-made) or natural

Before we delve into the causes of air pollution in detail, we must understand the definition of air pollution. When toxic pollutants are introduced into the earth’s atmosphere and hampers life, air pollution is said to have occurred. A significant reason why air pollution is higher today than 150 years ago is the sheer number of industries that have propped up.

Besides anthropogenic factors, there are other factors which are considered as natural – such as volcanic eruptions and forest fires. Though these are rather sporadic, they can pump large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases can block out the sunlight, plunging the world into an ice age; or trap the heat from the sun, causing global warming. Following are some of the major causes of air pollution – anthropogenic and natural factors are included:

Combustion of fossil fuels pumps out a lot of greenhouse gases. Vehicles are one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. Moreover, most industries also rely on fossil fuels to power their machinery.

Ammonia is one of the most common by-products of agricultural activities. It is also extremely toxic if inhaled.

Mining operations are one of the major culprits of air pollution. Toxic substances are released during the operations that may negatively affect the health of the workers and the people that live nearby.

Air pollution can also happen indoors – for instance; radon gas is colourless and odourless. It also has the tendency to accumulate inside closed spaces, such as the basements of buildings. This gas is also considered to be a carcinogen; hence it may cause cancer.  

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