Effects of Atmospheric Pollutants on Biodiversity

Effects of Atmospheric Pollutants on Biodiversity

Akash (Gurukula Kangri University, India), Navneet (Gurukula Kangri University, India), B. S. Bhandari (HNB Garhwal University, India) and Kamal Bijlwan (SGRR University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7289-3.ch006


Biodiversity is severely affected by the various anthropogenic activities. Humans depend on natural resources for survival. The resources include food, clean drinking water, timber for construction, fibers for clothing, natural gas, and coal for industries. The biggest threat to the atmosphere is pollutants caused by different human activities. The earth atmosphere is a layer of gases that surrounds the planet and allows us to breathe and live. The atmosphere is made up of Nitrogen, Oxygen, and others types of gases. This mixture of gases is known as air. Air pollution results from a variety of pollutants like NO2, SO2, CO, CFCs, and Ozone. Carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, warms the earth. This chapter will explore the effects of atmospheric pollutants on biodiversity due to various types of adulterants in the atmosphere and its effects on the survival of earth. Additionally, it will sketch various tools that can reduce these harmful activities.
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Climate change is expected to worsen the quality of air in densely populated regions of world by changing atmospheric ventilation and dilution, precipitation band resulting into the losses of biodiversity (Fiore et al., 20015). Every organism gets affected due to the changes in climate. Climate is an important factor that influences the quality of air. Reduction in the quality of air will directly affect ecosystem in ways that also could affect human health (Haase et al., 2014; Kinney, 2008). and Who, 2013). As the climate continues to change in future these impacts would be more drastic in future. Various studies reveal that climate change has already affected the quality of air in atmosphere. Further the changes in climate from pre-industrial resulted in up to 111,000 and 21,400 additional premature fine particle- and ozone-related deaths due to climate change. (Fang et al., 2013; Silva et al., 2013).Human activity has made adverse impact on the atmosphere and its components (Uysal et al., 2003 and Health and Environment Alliance, 2009).The study of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 document “most of the observed rise in globally averaged temperatures of earth since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the recorded increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations” (Trenberth et al.,2007). Global greenhouse gas and their further emissions due to the various human activities have been growing day by day with an increase of 70% between 1970 and 2004. One of the most important green house gas is carbon dioxide which increases due to the anthropogenic greenhouse gas (Trenberth et al., 2007). The negative effect of Atmospheric pollutants on health has a quantifiable impact, not only in terms of morbidity but also on the mortality of respiratory diseases. The recent increase in morbidity associated with respiratory diseases is the continuous degradation of the quality of air as a result of increasing levels of outdoor Atmospheric pollutants such as vehicle emissions. The major Atmospheric pollutants that are toxic, causing serious disease in the human and also effects the flora and fauna which are nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter. Some other aeroallergens which are derived from pollen grains, lead to bronchial obstruction in predisposed individuals. The pollen allergy is one of the models that study the relationship between respiratory allergic disease and atmospheric pollutants.

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