Impact Of Air Pollution On The Environment

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Impact Of Air Pollution On The Environment


More recently, air pollution has been a prevailing issue for discussion due to its adverse health and environmental effects in major cities and more importantly Nigeria. The study was therefore carried out to assess impact of air pollution on the environment. Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere. The causes of air pollution are either natural or anthropogenic. While its effects could be health or environmental. In terms of remediation, there are now practical alternatives to the principal causes of air pollution. The Methodology was composed of Research design, types and source of data, methods of data collection, data processing, presentation and analysis of the findings and limitations. Research Design was cross-sectional design where data was collected over a couple of weeks. The limitation of the study involved access to information access to the resources, time management, access for editing proof reading and guidance and support from organization and participants.

Many respondents said that ignorance and lack of environmental awareness was the biggest challenge. The prevention measures of pollution in the environment were awareness and environmental education while the harmful effects of air pollution in urban environment were mainly affecting Human Health. The public should be informed and consulted in the evaluation of the health and environmental effects of substances and activities.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The word pollution has been used in many contexts with different connotative meaning. However, pollution can be seen as the contaminating the environment. The problem of air pollution has become a major concern to both global and local environmental policies formulators purported to address its devastating trend, particularly in growing megacities of the world. The negative effects of the phenomenon are more pronounced in megacities of developing countries than in developed ones. Nigeria has been subjected to several predictions of the negative impacts of changing climatic conditions partly caused by ubiquitous air pollution. Efforts at stemming the tide of the increasing challenges of air pollution worldwide have significantly been thwarted by inadequate funding, and awareness programs. This ugly trend has made it pertinent to review the policies regarding climate change and its negative impacts on the lives and properties of teeming inhabitants. A review of these policies will entail a wider coverage of research and analysis of the adverse effect of air pollution on land and its implication on the value of land. Air pollution constitute to 20% of land depreciation, this is because a polluted environment does not attract development and population growth. Transportation and property are important in physical and economic development of towns and cities all over the world. Property and land values tend to increase in areas with expanding transportation networks, and increase less rapidly in areas without such improvements. Rapid and continued rise in housing and land prices are expected in cities with transportation improvements and rapid economic and population growth (Goldberg, 1970). Man, nations, regions and the world would be severely limited in development without transportation, which is a key factor for physical and economic growth (Oyesiku, 2002).

Transportation systems and land use are interdependent. According to Bailey, Mokhtarian, and Littlel (2008), transportation route is part of distinct development pattern or road network and mostly described by regular street patterns as an indispensable factor of human existence, development and civilization. The route network coupled with increased transport investment result in changed levels of accessibility reflected through Cost Benefit Analysis, savings in travel time, and other benefits.

Road networks are observed in terms of its components of accessibility, connectivity, traffic density, level of service, compactness, and density of particular roads. Level of service is a measure by which the quality of service on transportation devices or infrastructure is determined, and it is a holistic approach considering several factors regarded as measures of traffic density and congestion rather than overall speed of the journey (Mannering, Walter, and Scott, 2004). Access to major roads provides relative advantages consequent upon which commercial users locate to enjoy the advantages. Modern businesses, industries, trades and general activities depend on transport and transport infrastructure, with movement of goods and services from place to place becoming vital and inseparable aspects of global and urban economic survival. Developments of various transportation modes have become pivotal to physical and economic developments. Such modes include human porterage, railways, ropeways and cableways, pipelines, inland waterways, sea, air, and roads (Said and Shah, 2008). According to Oyesiku (2002), urbanization in Nigeria has a long history in its growth and development. Extensive development being a feature of the 19th and 20th centuries, with concentration of economic and administrative decision-making in Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Jos, and Enugu, and high degree of specialization and larger population associated with greater specialization of goods and services. Wyatt (1997) states that urban areas have tendency to develop at nodal points in transport network and places with good road network will possess relative advantage over locations having poor network. Urban locations with such relative advantage are found where different transport routes converge with high degree of compactness, connectivity, density, length and accessibility exhibited within the intra- and inter- urban road networks. Port Harcourt is a typical example in the history of growth and development of cities in Nigeria. The city became capital of River state in 1976 with improved road networks developed to cater for increase in concentration of pedestrian and vehicular movements. Similarly, commercial activities like banking, retail/wholesale businesses, and professional services congregated to take advantage of nearness to seat of governance. Concentration of activities attracted consumers and ancillary service providers. This partly caused increase in demand for commercial space and its concomitant effects on commercial property values along arterial roads in the metropolis. The present position concerning commercial properties in Port Harcourt is that majority are located along arterial roads that deliver much of the vehicular and pedestrian movements. There have been increases in rental values along the individual arterial roads although not at equal rates. However, the higher the population density, the higher the transport facility, and the higher the level of air pollution which is a hydra monster to climatic change

1.2 Statement of Problem

The problem of air pollution control in an industrial environment in west Africa especially Nigeria, this is so because some policies which ought to be put in place to prohibit air pollution are not properly implemented. The major problem of air pollution arises from the used of heavy duty plant, machinery and vehicle which releases carbon monoxide into the atmosphere which contribute to the major source of air pollution.

Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere (Tawari & Abowei, 2012). It can be defined as the presence in the outdoor or indoor atmosphere of one or more gaseous or particulate contaminants in quantities, characteristics and of duration such as to be injurious to human, plant or animal life or to property, or which unreasonably interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property (Odigure, 1998). Air pollution is one of the problems associated with the growing population of various cities. This has increased tremendously with urbanization and associated industrial development and growth in mobility which have deteriorated air quality and intensified air pollution in densely populated areas. The severity of the air pollution problems in the cities reflects the level and speed of development (APMA, 2002; Molina et al., 2004; Grutter et al., 2014), and most of these pollutants are emitted from “fugitive” sources such as evaporation of solvents or leaks at industrial facilities, incinerators and flare stacks can also be source of atmospheric emissions (Fort Air Partnership (FAP), 2014). The problem is the essence of the study which is to impact of air pollution on the environment.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main aim of this study was to assess the impact of air pollution on the environment. The specific objectives are outlined as follows;

  1. To find out the causes of air pollution in the environment.
  2. To find out effects of air pollution in the environment.
  3. To find out preventive measures of air pollution in the environment.
  4. To find out challenges of controlling air pollution in the environment.

1.4 Research Questions

In other to achieve the objective of the research, the following research questions were formulated:

  1. What are the causes of air pollution in the environment?
  2. What are some of the harmful effects of air pollution in the environment?
  3. What are the preventive measures taken to reduce impacts of air pollution?
  4. What are some of the challenges faced in the pollution control of the environment?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study upon completion will be useful to:

  1. The government in their policy formulation and implementation
  2. The federal ministry of environment in combating the menace of climatic change
  3. The general public in understanding how best not to pollute their environment thereby having healthier lives.

1.6 Definition of Terms


May be seen as the mixture of nitrogen, oxygen and minute amount of other gases that surround the earth and forms its atmosphere. Air may also be seen as the invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth, a mixture mainly of oxygen and nitrogen.


May be seen as the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that causes adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat, air or light.

Air Pollution:

This is the act of contaminating the air with gaseous substances and waste. Commercial or industrial waste is a significant portion of solid waste. According to the University of Utah, industries use 4 million pounds (1.8 million kg) of materials in order to provide the average American family with needed products for one year. Much of it is classified as non-hazardous, such as construction material (wood, concrete, bricks, glass, etc.) and medical waste (bandages, surgical gloves, surgical instruments, discarded needles, etc.). Hazardous waste is any liquid, solid or sludge waste that contain properties that are dangerous of potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Industries generate hazardous waste from mining, petroleum refining, pesticide manufacturing and other chemical production. Households generate hazardous waste as well, including paints and solvents, motor oil, fluorescent lights, aerosol cans, and ammunition and some of this waste are gaseous.

1.7 Scope / Limitation of the study

The study covers residents in port Harcourt River state, although streets in port Harcourt were randomly selected as areas of study. Thematically, the study is restricted to residents’ perception on impact of air pollution in the environment and also financial and physical constraints of the Researcher.

1.8 Organization of Study

The study comprises of 5 chapters. In chapter one, the concepts are introduced and the problem of the study is established with the research objectives and questions. Chapter two presents the literature review while chapter three presents the research methodology. The fourth chapter presents the results and discussion, and the last chapter presents the conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The study was carried out to assess the impact of air pollution on the environment. Motor vehicles driven by fossil fuels, a key factor in urban air pollution can be replaced by electric vehicles. Though lithium supply and cost is a limitation, there are alternatives. Herding more people into clean public transit such as electric trains can also help. Nevertheless, even in emission-free electric vehicles, rubber tires produce significant amounts of air pollution themselves, ranking as 13th worst pollutant in Los Angeles (World Bank Group, 2016). Bio digesters can also be utilized in poor nations where slash and burn is prevalent, turning a useless commodity into a source of income. The plants can be gathered and sold to a central authority that will break it down in a large modern bio digester, producing much needed energy to use. According to Bell et al. (2004) induced humidity and ventilation both can greatly dampen air pollution in enclosed spaces, which was found to be relatively high inside subway lines due to braking and friction and relatively less ironically inside transit buses than lower sitting passenger automobiles or subways. Titanium dioxide has been researched for its ability to reduce air pollution. Ultraviolet light will release free electrons from material, thereby creating free radicals, which break up VOCs and NOx gases (NASA, 2018).
Like in most developing nations the issues are intertwined and the most prominent have been lack of equipment, lack of infrastructure, inadequate expertise and weak policy frame work. This and many other factors have been the bane to achieving the much-desired goals towards preserving the quality of the ecosystems and safeguarding the health of the public in the region and as a nation as well.

5.2 Conclusion

Air pollution is a challenge in most developed societies of the world; contemporary societies of Africa and Nigeria in particular also grapple with and or/tackle this menace in recent times. Our analysis of the negative impact of environmental pollution in contemporary Nigeria society would focus specifically on; agricultural and Hunting activities of the agrarian people, industrial activities of the urban based, Noise pollution, Housing, conflict and warfare.

For sound health policy, we must shift away from dealing primarily with specific risk factors and look “upstream” to underlying land-use determinants of infectious disease and ultimately the human behavior and established institutions that are detrimental to sustainable population health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a similar DPSEEA (driving forces, pressures, state, exposure, effect, actions) model that in a similar way describes the interlink age between human health and different driving forces and environmental change (WHO 1997).

As such understanding increases, it will become more feasible to plan how to prevent new infectious disease emergence. Yet, because these are rare events, accurate predictions will remain daunting. It is already evident that inserting humans into complex ecosystems can lead to a variety of EIDs, but health outcomes depend on the economic circumstances of the human population. In poor and tropical communities, land use change can lead to major shifts in infectious disease patterns. For these situations, many conventional public health interventions can prevent several infectious diseases at relatively low cost.

It is hopeful that the research would stimulate other studies particularly and that the results and findings would be found to be useful contribution to knowledge. The researcher is also hopeful that the findings in this study would be of great assistance to Governments at various levels in the formulation and implementation of policies and measures that will effectively promote enhanced accessibility through increased development of prospects for control and management. This study is therefore a great contribution to knowledge in this regard and it is hopeful that it would open more research in this direction.

5.3 Recommendation

Creating environmental awareness to the teeming rural based population with low literacy levels is the best option to curbing problems of air pollution. This will be achieved by mounting and organizing workshops, conferences, seminars etc. to educate the public on how to manage, and improve on the relationship between human society and the environment in an integrated and sustainable manner. Emphasis should be laid on why we need to sustain the environment. Pointing out too that human existence is predicated and as well, supported by the environment. It is a two-way approach, as we fail to sustain the environment, the environment too will not sustain us.

  1. Through radio, television and other electronic media, the public should be informed on why it is important to redeem the environment by Replacing a felled tree with at least other 10 stakes of trees.
  2. Religions leaders and heads of institution in our churches, mosques and institutions of learning should admonish the faithful and the students on the need to redeem the environment and possibly replace vegetation
  3. A prompt legislative framework should be put in place to make laws that would tackle headlong issues of air pollution in Nigerian.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the harmful effects of air pollution?

These particles are some of the most dangerous for health and are a major cause of illness. “Scientific and medical evidence are clear on the harmful effects of air pollution – respiratory disease, early death and more recently, links between dementia and miscarriages.

Why is air pollution bad for the environment?

Pollution can profoundly affect air, water and soil hence resulting in global warming, infertile lands and environmental degradation. In addition, environmental pollution may cause several health complications, such as respiratory diseases, heart problems and cancer. Human Health Air pollution results in decreased air quality due to the introduction of harmful particles in the atmosphere. 

What are the negative effects of air pollution?

What are the negative effects of air pollution? Long-term health effects from air pollution include heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema. Air pollution can also cause long-term damage to people’s nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs. Some scientists suspect air pollutants cause birth defects.

What are the harmful effects of air pollution?

While most people are aware of the effects of air pollution on human lungs, you may not be aware of how air pollution affects other parts of your body, including your brain, heart, kidneys, and liver. In a new web resource, air filtration experts from Camfil explain the effects of various airborne pollutants on the vital organs.

How bad is air pollution?

The health effects of air pollution are serious – one third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution. This is having an equivalent effect to that of smoking tobacco, and much higher than, say, the effects of eating too much salt. Air pollution is hard to escape, no matter how rich an area you live in.

What are the health risks of air pollution?

Certain air pollutants may experience: Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties Worsening of existing lung and heart problems, such as asthma Increased risk of heart attack In addition, long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems.

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