Autumn is a time when many environmental entities conduct educational campaigns to spread environmentally friendly attitudes among the public. The basis for such activities is often the holidays that appear on the calendar. An example of this is Clean Air Day. Activities to mark the occasion are being organized by both the specialists in the field. environmental protection, as well as kindergartens, schools, community centers or non-profit organizations. Thanks to comprehensive activities carried out by various units, knowledge of air pollution is increasing, and this is the first step to counter it.

Clean Air Day is to raise awareness and educate

The cyclical holidays are intended to remind both the public and governmental and non-governmental entities of important environmental topics. It was for this purpose, among others, that the Ecological Foundation “Arka” of Bielsko-Biała initiated on November 14, 2005. Polish Clean Air Day. Since then, there have been annual campaigns focusing on what air pollution is and why this phenomenon is a threat to the environment and human health. There is also no shortage of information at this time about activities that have a negative impact on air quality and strategies to reduce the problem. Clean Air Day is an occasion for activities involving the Main and Provincial Environmental Inspectorates, the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Provincial Funds for Environmental Protection and Water Management, among others.

What is air pollution?

Air pollution, according to the official definition constructed by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a condition in which its chemical composition can adversely affect the functioning of humans, animals, plants and entire ecosystems. Highly poisonous chemicals that can pollute the air include nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and coal dust, among others. Agriculture, mining, transportation, metallurgy, and the chemical, clothing and food industries are cited as their sources. Clean Air Day is a great opportunity to learn more about the world around us and how humans can affect it: positively or, unfortunately more often, negatively.

Impact of air pollution on water quality

On Clean Air Day, experts from various industries educate about the ways in which pollution affects ecosystems. Many people live under the belief that smog and global warming are the main problems associated with this phenomenon. Meanwhile, it turns out that air pollution also negatively affects water quality. Compounds in the gaseous state, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, react with oxygen and water vapor. These chemical reactions produce acids that lower the pH of rainwater. Acid precipitation drastically alters environmental conditions. Many animal and plant species are unable to adapt to dynamic changes, so that their numbers are declining and, in extreme cases, entire populations are dying out.

Acid rain is a threat to the balance of aquatic ecosystems

Clean Air Day is an opportunity to raise awareness that air pollution problems are much more complex than they appear. An example of this is the impediment to the proper formation of shells and skeletons as a consequence of the limited availability of calcium carbonate, the main building block of the aforementioned structures. This phenomenon limits the development of numerous animal species, including small organisms included in the zooplankton – an important part of the food chain. In the case of saltwater ecosystems, reef-building corals and sea turtles, species under strict protection, are also affected.

In addition, too low a water pH prevents some animal species from functioning properly by disrupting natural biochemical processes. Fish living in water with too low a pH have trouble breathing, leading to deterioration and even death.

The ever-increasing development of civilization has a huge impact on the environment. Initiatives such as Clean Air Day are an important part of educating people about conservation, especially aquatic ecosystems. Without the active participation of the community, clean air will remain only a memory, so education is the first and one of the most important steps to protecting it.

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