THE CONTRIBUTION OF ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

THE CONTRIBUTION OF ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The concept of air pollution is a term that applies to any chemical, physical or biological agent that affects the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a dynamic, natural gas system that supports all life on earth. More than 4.6 million people die every year due to air pollution and most is attributed to indoor pollution. Indoor air pollution is one of the most overlooked threats to human health, affecting young children who spend an estimated 80% of their time indoors. Studies released in the past few years clearly demonstrates that poor indoor air quality not only increases asthma symptoms but can also be responsible for headaches, fatigue, nausea, allergic reactions, hormone imbalances and liver, kidney or central nervous system damage.

Some people think that outdoor pollution like green house gases and its effects are dangerous but studies have shown that indoor pollutions has the most significant effects. A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins` Bloomberg School of Public Health found that in many cases, the level of indoor pollution was five times higher than outdoor and that the presence of these elevated levels of pollution significantly increased asthma symptoms in the children being studied. These findings are all the more alarming paired with the fact that no regulations currently exist for indoor air quality; not in schools, day-care facilities or even in hospitals. Sources of indoor pollution are limitless and some of these sources include: household cleaning agents, pesticides, biological pollutants, building and remodelling materials; to mention but a few.

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The problems associated with air pollution are continuously on the rise; this is because of the alarming increase in anthropogenic activities that adversely affects the climate and environment and most importantly the health of individuals worldwide. Studies have revealed that the slightest decrease in air pollution can lead to a significant increase in the peoples’ health and increase the life expectancy of individuals world-wide. According to the epidemiology journal; the U.S government and agencies have made significant improvement in reducing the incidence of air pollution and in turn; there has been a decrease in the occurrence of respiratory diseases. However; the burning of fossils, oil spills, natural gas flares and increase in green house gases results in acid rain, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, depletion of the ozone layer and subsequently global warming.

This paper is an investigative approach on the contribution of air pollution on the changes and instability in climate and the disastrous effects of these changes on the health of the general population of human beings in Nigeria. A study conducted by scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Great Britain and published in the BMC Public health Journal has revealed that living with a smoker or in a major city places a person at greater risk of early death than living in the radioactive exclusion zone around Chernobyl. This can clearly tell us that the effects of air pollution on our environment, health and life as a whole cannot be over-emphasized.

1.3      OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The aim of this study is to assess the contribution of air pollution and the effect that pollutants have on the climate and the health of individuals. The main objectives are;

1.  To know the effects of air pollution on climate change.

2.  To know the effects of air pollution on human health.

3.  To know the ways that air pollution can be prevented.

4.  To know what humans can do to reduce the incidence of pollution.

1.4      RESEARCH QUSETIONS

1.  What are the effects of air pollution on climate change?

2.  What are the effects of air pollution on human health?

3.  What are the ways that air pollution can be prevented?

4.  What can humans do to reduce the incidence of pollution?

1.5      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hypothesis 1

Ho: Air pollution has no significant contribution on climate change.

Hi: Air pollution has significant contribution on climate change.

Hypothesis 2

Ho: Air pollution has no significant contribution on human health.

Hi: Air pollution has significant contribution on human health.

1.6      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The concept of air pollution is a huge one and while we can’t study every bit of air pollution; we can try to arm ourselves with enough information to try and maintain a pure and pollution-free atmosphere by reducing anthropogenic activities like operation of heavy machineries and automobiles, the emission of gases from traffic, fossil fuel combustion and learning important guidelines for reducing incidence of air pollution and the associated respiratory diseases.

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work.

1.7   Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study is on the contribution of air pollution on climate change and how it affects human health with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem. It is limited to Nigeria using Lagos State as case study.

Limitations of study

1.        Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

2.        Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8   Definition of Terms

Air Pollution: Is the introduction of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials into Earth's atmosphere, causing diseases, allergies, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, or the natural or built environment.

Climate Change: Is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years).


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