Impacts Of Air Pollution On The Environment – As well as having effects on human health, air pollution can also be harmful to our natural environment. Pollutants in the air can be toxic to sensitive plants and trees, while pollutants in rainfall damage habitats by depositing acid or excess nutrients. Water bodies such as rivers and lakes are also exposed to the effects of air pollution.

The most significant air pollution for our natural environment occurs when reactive nitrogen compounds, such as ammonia and nitrogen oxides, are deposited in sensitive locations. Deposition can occur through direct contact between polluted air and plants. This type of deposition is called “dry deposition” and mostly occurs near pollution sources.

Impacts Of Air Pollution On The Environment

Deposition also occurs when pollution is dissolved in precipitation (rain and snow), which falls on sensitive places. We call this “wet deposition”, and it can happen at long distances from the pollution source.

The Effects Of Air Pollution

Ammonia is by far the largest contributor to nitrogen deposition and comes from agricultural activities such as animal husbandry, storage and spreading of slurry/manure and use of manure. More information about ammonia emissions in Northern Ireland can be found here.

Another source of nitrogen deposition is from nitrogen oxides, which are produced from road transport (petrol and diesel engines) and certain types of industry.

Sulfur dioxide is another air pollutant that has harmful effects on vegetation, and it is produced from burning fuels, especially coal.

The nitrogen cascade showing the cycling of nitrogen in the environment (Ulli Dragosits, UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)

Environmental Impacts Of Air Pollution By Vanessa Rey On Prezi

Northern Ireland has 294 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 54 Special Areas of Conservation and 16 Special Protection Areas designated as being in need of protection because of the importance of the species and habitats they support. The sites include peatlands, native woodlands, species-rich grasslands and freshwater and coastal habitats. For more information on protected sites, see here.

Ammonia can have a direct toxic effect on sensitive vegetation, such as lichen and moss. Ammonia and nitrogen deposition reduce plant species richness and diversity, favoring species tolerant of excess nutrients. This leads to changes in plant and animal communities in our habitats and can also change their ecosystem function. For example, peatlands bind carbon and are therefore crucial in the fight against climate change. If peatlands are damaged by ammonia and nitrogen deposition, they will not be able to store carbon as efficiently.

DAERA monitors the condition of designated sites, and assessments can help identify where damage from air pollution is a contributing cause of habitat damage and species loss.

Working with partners UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology, Ulster Wildlife and the National Trust, NIEA’s Air Quality and Biodiversity Unit delivers a program of monitoring and evidence work. The work aims to identify and quantify sources of atmospheric nitrogen input to the NI-designated site network, to inform mitigation strategies and to evaluate how these naturally N-poor ecosystems are affected by the addition of nitrogen.

Where Does Air Pollution Come From?

Ammonia concentrations have been monitored at Ballynahone Bog since September 2014. Ammonia monitoring has been ongoing since June 2020 at a further seven SACs (Curran Bog, Garry Bog, Moneygal, Peatlands Park, Sliabh Beagh, Cuilcagh Mountain and Turmennan). At Cuilcagh SAC and Ballynahone Bog, ammonia monitoring is accompanied by wet deposition monitoring. From July 2022, ammonia monitoring will also be initiated at Murlough SAC.

Most ammonia air pollution samplers are replaced at monthly intervals. This monitoring is in line with the UK National Ammonia Monitoring Network (ongoing since the 1990s) as well as a network of 25 rural location sites operated by AFBI.

Just above NI, as well as the amount of nitrogen deposited in precipitation. These estimates are used to make comparisons with the critical levels calculated for NH

The image on the right shows a wet deposition monitor at Ballynahone Marsh: rainfall is collected and then sampled every month to be analyzed for the presence of nitrogen pollution.

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Biomonitoring is also carried out at a number of locations to determine the effect of nitrogen on the vegetation. Samples for leaf analysis are taken in winter or spring before the temperature rises and growth starts.

Local prevailing wind patterns play a key role in atmospheric nitrogen pollutant delivery to designated sites, in terms of local ammonia concentrations and N deposition originating from local, regional and transboundary sources. To examine local wind patterns and their temporal variability with locally measured weather data, and to analyze these data in conjunction with NH

As a statutory nature conservation body, NIEA is consulted on planning proposals to identify possible risks to the natural environment. Through this process, potential impacts from air pollution to protected areas can be identified. Standing advice is available here.

A new integrated air pollution assessment tool, UK AERIUS, is currently under development. The project is led by JNCC, with funding from DEFRA and DAERA. Find out more here.

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NIEA commissions and researches the effects of air pollution in sensitive locations here. To find out more click here.

The NIEA Natural Environment Division has led an evidence program to evaluate and reduce the impact of ammonia and nitrogen (N) deposition on Northern Ireland’s natural ecosystems. This work is in collaboration with the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) and project partners: Ulster Wildlife, National Trust, Monaghan County Council and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

To find out more, watch the joint DAERA – UKCEH webinar hosted on 15 June 2023 for Clean Air Day:

How to request information from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, including Freedom of Information (FOI), Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) and the use of our publication scheme.

How Does Air Pollution Affect Health?

Future Operational Protocol to Assess the Impacts of Air Pollution on the Natural Environment – A Call for Evidence Visible air pollution in New Delhi, one of the most dangerous cities in the world in terms of air quality. Photo by Sumita Roy Dutta/Wikimedia Commons

Most of the growing global attention to air pollution focuses on the effects that ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants have on human health. This is natural; the numbers in the headlines are striking. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that indoor and outdoor air pollution is responsible for around 7 million premature deaths worldwide. Most of these deaths – 4.2 million – are associated with ambient (outdoor) pollution. It is a leading environmental risk factor affecting urban and rural populations around the world.

Growing public awareness of the health consequences is encouraging, but we need to look at the bigger picture of what air pollution is doing to our planet and ourselves. The social costs of air pollution – and the social benefits of reducing it – extend far beyond health, including climate, water, renewable energy and agriculture.

Most people know how much water they should drink – eight glasses per day, or about 2 litres. But do you know how much air you breathe in? An average adult inhales and exhales about 7 to 8 liters of air per minute while resting. There is a minimum of around 11,000 liters of air per day.

Air Pollution And Its Impact On Air Quality, Human Health And Climate Change

Breathing in dirty air affects more than just the lungs and causes more than premature death. Air pollution affects almost every organ in the body. A recent study from the Forum of International Respiratory Societies shows that air pollution contributes to everything from diabetes and dementia to fertility problems and childhood leukaemia.

“Dirty air” can also be invisible. Breathing in soot or smoke with particulate matter – often referred to by size in micrometres, PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 – blackens the lungs and leads to breathing and heart problems, and diseases such as asthma and cancer. Some PM10 is visible, but a microscope is required to see PM2.5 and an electron microscope to detect “ultrafines”. The smaller the particle, the deeper into the lungs it can go, together with the chemicals it is composed of. This type of air pollution arises from incomplete combustion (of wood and plants as well as fossil fuels); dust; and combinations of other pollutants from different sources, including agriculture.

Ozone, a gas formed by combinations of other pollutants from traffic, landfills, agriculture and other sources, is invisible. It contributed to 500,000 deaths worldwide in 2017, and as many as 23 million emergency room visits in 2015. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), one of the ozone precursors that comes largely from burning fossil fuels, can cause respiratory and heart – and vascular diseases, as well as reproductive and developmental influences.

Often called short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP), black carbon (a component of PM), tropospheric ozone and methane contribute to both climate warming and air pollution. According to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, these three highly potent pollutants are responsible for 30-40% of global warming to date. They must be dampened together with carbon dioxide (CO

Environmental Impacts Of Air Pollution And Its Abatement By Plant Species: A Comprehensive Review

) to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) and prevent catastrophic climate impacts such as sea level rise and water insecurity.

Black carbon and ozone persist in the atmosphere for only a few days and methane for up to a few decades; it takes more than 100 years to eliminate CO

This means that measures that reduce SLCP can produce almost immediate reductions in their concentrations, with benefits for the climate and human health. Importantly, some particulate matter can too

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