Land or natural resources

Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many natural resources are essential for human survival, while others are used for satisfying human desire. Conservation is the management of natural resources with the goal of sustainability. Natural resources may be further classified in different ways.
Resources can be categorized on the basis of origin:
Abiotic resources comprise non-living things (e.g., land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper, silver).
Biotic resources are obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are important examples. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are sometimes included in this category because they were formed from fossilized organic matter, though over long periods of time.
Natural resources are also categorized based on the stage of development:
Potential Resources are known to exist and may be used in the future. For example, petroleum may exist in many parts of India and Kuwait that have sedimentary rocks, but until the time it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource.
Actual resources are those that have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined, and are being used in present times. For example, petroleum and natural gas is actively being obtained from the Mumbai High Fields. The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon the technology available and the cost involved. That part of the actual resource that can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve resource, while that part that can not be developed profitably because of lack of technology is called a stock resource.
Natural resources can be categorized on the basis of renewability:
Non-renewable Resources are formed over very long geological periods. Minerals and fossils are included in this category. Since their rate of formation is extremely slow, they cannot be replenished once they are depleted. Out of these, the metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling them, but coal and petroleum cannot be recycled.
Renewable resources, such as forests and fisheries, can be replenished or reproduced relatively quickly. The highest rate at which a resource can be used sustainably is the sustainable yield. Some resources, like sunlight, air, and wind, are called perpetual resources because they are available continuously, though at a limited rate. Their quantity is not affected by human consumption. Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but may also be replenished, thus maintaining a flow. Some of these, like agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer.
Dependent upon the speed and quantity of consumption, overconsumption can lead to depletion or total and everlasting destruction of a resource. Important examples are agricultural areas, fish and other animals, forests, healthy water and soil, cultivated and natural landscapes. Such conditionally renewable resources are sometimes classified as a third kind of resource, or as a subtype of renewable resources. Conditionally renewable resources are presently subject to excess human consumption and the only sustainable long term use of such resources is within the so-called zero ecological footprint, wherein human use less than the Earth's ecological capacity to regenerate.
Natural resources are also categorized based on distribution:
Ubiquitous Resources are found everywhere (e.g., air, light, water).
Localized Resources are found only in certain parts of the world (e.g., copper and iron ore, geothermal power).
On the basis of ownership, resources can be classified as individual, community, national, and international.

Effects of Air Pollution

Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollution refers to the presence of chemical, biological and particulate matter and pollutants in the atmosphere around the living spaces. When inhaled, the effects of air pollution on the human biological system takes a toll on quality of life, with the onslaught of a number of respiratory tract disorders...

Air Pollution:

Air pollution is a condition triggered by the presence of air-borne pollutants that affect the quality of air we inhale. These pollutants could either be the result of chemical emissions or the particulate material from biological waste. The condition has reached alarming proportion in the modern world, with a large-scale industrialization and vehicle-emissions being the primary culprits. The pollutants that are air borne cause a lot of harm to humans and animals, other than permanent damage to the natural environment.

Air Pollution Facts:
Air borne pollutants can either be solid particles, or even liquids and gases; natural or man-made.

Primary air pollutants are those that are directly emitted via some processes, like the ash from volcanoes or the carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide emissions from vehicles and factories, respectively.

Secondary air pollutants are the result of the reactions or interactions of the primary pollutants. Example: photochemical smog.

Sulfur oxides from volcanic eruptions and industrial processes oxidize in the presence of nitrogen dioxide to form acid rain.

Carbon monoxide, the emission from combustion of fuels like wood and coal, is a very poisonous gas.

Particulate matter can be both, natural as well as man-made. This pollutant originates within dust storms, volcanoes, forest fires or wildfires and sea sprays. Human activities contribute to nearly 10% of the aerosols in the atmosphere.

Ammonia is a gas emitted via agricultural processes. It is both hazardous as well as caustic.

Sources of air pollution are many and commonly include anthropogenic sources or those that result from human activity and natural sources like dust, methane, radioactive decay and volcanic ash particulates.

Lack of proper ventilation causes the radon emission from the earth to be trapped indoors, within houses and offices. This gas is carcinogen and has been linked to the development of numerous forms of cancer. The radon gas is also emitted from building materials and extensive carpeting. Lethal lead paint easily degenerates into dust and is inhaled.

The use of air fresheners, pesticides and chemical sprays also put the people in the immediate environment at risk of developing respiratory tract disorders, poisoning and fatalities.

Toxic asbestos fibers, dust and fumes cause Mesothelioma, a cancer that eats into the mesothelium, a delicate tissue that engulfs and protects important organs such as the heart and the lungs.

While pets shed dander into the atmosphere, humans produce dust from dead skin flakes and the decomposition of hair.
Effects of Air Pollution on Humans:

The effects of air pollution on humans are fatal and life-threatening. WHO statistics report that over 2 million people succumb to the fatalities attributed to air pollution. Consistent exposure to the pollutants leads to the development of:
Cardiopulmonary disease
Premature mortality
Heart attack
Difficulty in breathing
Wheezing and coughing
Acute vascular dysfunction
Thrombus formation
Cystic fibrosis
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic bronchitis
There are a number of ways, by which these emissions could be controlled. Particulate control is possible with the use of mechanical collectors, electrostatic precipitators, bag-houses and scrubbers like the Baffle, Cyclonic, Ejector venturi and Mechanical scrubbers. Nitrogen dioxide control is possible with the help of low consumption burners and scrubbers, selective catalytic and non-catalytic reduction and even catalytic converters. Sulfur dioxide or acid gas can be effectively controlled with dedicated use of wet and dry scrubbers and the latest introduction of flue gas desulfurization.

The world's most polluted cities include Australia, America, the UK, China and India as forerunners. The greenhouse effect is a life-threatening global phenomenon that is the creation of air pollutants. This phenomenon is the result of the trapped greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere. Accumulation of carbon dioxide gas, methane, nitrogen oxides, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons have brought on a major climate change, increased acidity of ocean waters and major modifications in marine ecosystems.

Ways To Prevent Air Pollution

Prevent Air Pollution

Air pollution, responsible for triggering many health problems, is mostly caused due to burning of fossil fuels. The most effective ways to prevent air pollution are minimizing the use of fuels, servicing vehicle regularly, saving energy, using alternative energy, and recycling materials amongst others.

Air pollution is a change in the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of air that causes adverse effects on humans and other organisms. The ultimate result is a significant alteration in the natural environment and/or ecosystem. Substances that are responsible for causing air pollution are called air pollutants. These air pollutants can be either natural (e.g. wildfires) or synthetic (man-made), and are present in the form of gas, liquid, or solid in the atmosphere.

The air pollutants are classified into two categories, viz. primary and secondary. The former refers to air pollutants that are directly emitted from the source, for example - carbon monoxide gas from automobile exhaust. On the other hand, the secondary air pollutants are the result of interaction of primary pollutants, for example - the ground level ozone, which is formed when sunlight hits fuel exhaust in the atmosphere. It is to be noted that some forms of air pollutants are both primary and secondary. Let's discuss in brief about the causes, effects, and ways to prevent air pollution.

Causes and Effects of Air Pollution

Air pollutants, either present inside the house (indoor pollutants) or outside (outdoor pollutants), are hazardous to humans. The major pollutants are sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matters. Among the different causes of air pollution, burning of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and gasoline is found to be the main contributing factor. Fossil fuels are used in all major industries, including the automobiles, jet planes, manufacturing industries, power plants, petroleum refineries, etc.

In the United States, automobile exhaust and power plants are responsible for more than 90 percent of the air pollutants. Carbon dioxide gas, which is required by the plants for photosynthesis, is identified as the major cause of global warming. Thus, increased percentage of this greenhouse gas affects our health and the global climate. Nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, when dissolved in water, can cause acid rain, which in turn leads to water pollution and affects the aquatic life.

The effects of air pollution on the human health are many. To mention a few, it triggers respiratory ailments and irritation of eyes and throat. The common symptoms observed after exposure to a high level air pollution are chest tightness, burning eyes, and cough. Those with certain medical conditions like heart disease and asthma are more susceptible to the hazards of air pollution than others. As expected, the effects are more serious in children; prolonged exposure to air pollution can lead to earache, bronchitis, and asthma.

Different Ways To Prevent Air Pollution

So, how can we prevent air pollution? The fact is that human activities contribute the most to any type of pollution. Hence, it is our responsibility to find solutions. And considering the harmful effects of air pollution, it is high time that everyone contributes a bit to prevent release of pollutants. There are certain ways that one can follow for reducing emission of air pollutants in the atmosphere. For clear understanding, refer to the following tips for preventing air pollution.

Car Pool: Forming and implementing a car pool will reduce the number of cars, thereby, preventing air pollution by cutting down the use of fossil fuels. This way, it will help in the sustainable use of fossil fuel and its conservation for the future generations.

Vehicle Care: Timely servicing of the car helps to keep it in a good condition, and also minimizes fuel exhaust. Driving the car at an average speed and turning off in traffic are the thumb rules to save fuel. Make sure to use unleaded petrol and opt for regular pollution checking of your car.

Public Transport: Whenever possible, try to travel by public transports. This helps in two ways; prevents air pollution and increases public income. If you are going to a nearby place, go by walking or use a bicycle, instead of using your vehicle. The objective is to minimize the use of fuels as far as possible.

Alternative Energy Source: Another effective way to prevent air pollution is to use alternative energy sources such as solar energy, hydroelectric energy, and wind energy. Nowadays, sophisticated technologies such as wind turbine, solar water heaters are introduced to generate electricity and other energy forms for household uses.

Saving Energy: Saving energy will, of course, help to prevent air pollution. Switch off the lights, fans, air conditioners, televisions, and other appliances, when not in use. You can also share a room with others when the air conditioner or fan is on, instead of switching them on in every room.

Minimize Air Pollutants: Always try to minimize smoke emission, as it contributes a lot to air pollution. One way is to compost dried leaves and kitchen waste, instead of burning them. Composting will also give you organic fertilizer for your garden. Other tips include replacing old wood stoves or gas furnaces, avoiding solvents, and most importantly, do not smoke in the home.

Recyclable Materials: Recycling is a simple approach to reduce pollution in two ways; save energy which is required for disposing and minimize the pollutants released during manufacturing. The list of recyclable materials include plastic bottles, aluminum cans and utensils, paper, craft papers, cardboard, corrugated boxes, and glass bottles.

Smart Purchasing: Remember to carry paper bags and minimize using plastic bags. While buying the products, always choose air-friendly and recyclable products that will minimize the emission of pollutants. Also, shop for only energy-efficient appliances that use less packaging. Lastly, buy rechargeable batteries for frequently used devices.

Social awareness about air pollution facts is the most essential step to be taken for the prevention of air pollution. Awareness programs and/or advertisements should be encouraged, so that people understand the potential health hazards of pollution. Improvement of transport facilities and proper use of land for the sake of social benefits are equally important for controlling air pollution.

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