The Effects of Air Pollution on Animals

by Heather Burdo - Updated October 25, 2018
Swans Swimming In Lake

Pollution in the air can wreak havoc on all forms of life, including animals. Air pollution negatively impacts the health of animals, just as it does humans.

How Does Pollution Affect Animals?

All animals, despite their size, can be affected by pollution. Animals depend on oxygen that comes from the air, and when the air is contaminated, harmful gases and particulates are inhaled. Experts agree that pollution affects animals in the same way as it does humans. The pollution that animals inhale can accumulate in their tissues over time, causing damage to their organs. Not only do animals inhale harmful gases from pollution, but contaminants are also absorbed through the skin and come from food and water.

Types of  Air Pollution

Air pollution is a major global concern and it's important to familiarize yourself with the various kinds of pollutants that affect the health of both animals and humans.

Acid Rain – When water droplets in clouds combine with acidic air pollutants, the water turns acidic. Once the droplets hit the ground, acid rain causes damage to the environment. Not only does acid rain harm animals and fish, but it also kills trees. Once the acid rain soaks into the ground, the soil becomes unfit for habitat and living creatures.

Thinning Ozone Layer – Air pollutants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been known to destroy parts of the ozone layer. Located in the stratospheric layer of the atmosphere is the ozone layer. The stratosphere shields the planet from the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation harms wildlife, damages plants and causes skin cancer in humans.

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Global Warming – The planet is warming due to greenhouses gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. These gases are released into the atmosphere from air pollution.

Tropospheric Ozone – Ozone molecules show up near the surface of the Earth, leading to air pollution. When ozone molecules are near the ground, it causes damage to the lung tissues of animals.

How to Help Protect Animals

You can do your part to keep the pets in your home safe from air pollutants by keeping your home well-ventilated and provide some air purification with a humidifier. Unfortunately, this doesn't protect wildlife, but it's a step in the right direction to protect your beloved pet's health. There is only so much to do on your part when it comes to saving wildlife against pollution. A few things to consider to help the earth and animals are to use less energy, reduce the number of materials and prepackaged items you use, reuse as much as possible, recycle always. Additionally, whenever possible try to use non-toxic biodegradable cleaners.

About the Author

Heather Burdo has been personally involved in business for six years. Her passion is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs through engaging and insightful content.

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