Pollution is a byproduct of human activity, especially industrial activities.

All humans contribute to air pollution every day, even if they don’t realize it.

many macro and micro activities of humans or even nature itself cause air pollution.

In this article, we gathered the most important causes of air pollution to answer this general question which is:

what are air pollution causes?

1. Burning of fossil fuels

picture of gasoline pump at station

Air pollution can be caused by anything from cars, airplanes, factories, and other large manufacturing operations but all of these activities have one important thing in common which is the burning of fossil fuels

The most important cause of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels.

every day tons of oil and gas are being burned around the world.

whether for industrial or transport use, burning fossil fuels is releasing massive amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere which will cause air pollution, climate change, global warming and etc…

2. Agricultural activities

picture of a combiner in the field

Agriculture is one of the most polluting industries on Earth.

Agricultural activity includes everything from growing, transporting, and storing plants to feeding them to large amounts of livestock that we raise for our food or etc.

The huge amount of fertilizer and pesticides that we use, and all the manure from agricultural activities are just a few causes of air pollution from this industry.

agricultural activity produces massive amounts of CO2, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, many toxic organic compounds, pesticides, and particulate matter.

agricultural activities also contribute massively to climate change and global warming.

3. industrial smog and gas

nuclear energy power plant - nopolluting

most of the gas and smog released from industrial activities are the result of the burning of fossil fuels but there are other highly dangerous chemicals being involved as well.

in most countries, factories have to filter the toxic air from their activities by law, but in countries where there is a lack of Supervision from the related authorities, dangerous industrial gas is being released into the atmosphere alongside CO2, methane, and other greenhouse emissions.

4. Mining operations

picture of mining operation

mining operations often cause air pollution as well.

during the mining operations, massive amounts of methane and other emissions are being released from the mines which can cause Sevier health issues for miners and people living close to the mines.

5. wildfires

Wildfires are another important cause of air pollution.

Wildfires often happen due to a majority of reasons which are sometimes natural or due to the irresponsible behavior of humans.

In recent years, global warming and climate change increased the number of wildfires around the world.

Wildfires alone release extreme amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) into the atmosphere every year.

Particle pollution which is yet another cause of air pollution will be a byproduct of wildfires as well.

6. indoor air pollution


According to WHO, indoor air pollution was responsible for around 3.2 million deaths in 2020.

indoor pollution often happens for 3rd world countries where households have to burn wood, coal, or any other solid fuel for their use.

by burning these solid fuels, carbon monoxide, and various other toxins alongside fine particulates will be released into the air which causes severe air pollution for families and the atmosphere.

7. waste burning

picture of a trash truck and a lot of trash in india

Waste burning is a huge problem for countries with a lack of waste collection. Waste burning happens on a large and small scale.

From waste burning in huge landfills to trash burning of a small household, waste burning can cause critical health issues for anyone near these areas.

Waste burning can release highly toxic gas such as dioxins, furans, and black carbon which are all highly carcinogens.

What are air pollution effects?

picture of patient with doctor

So far we learned about what are the causes of air pollution, and now let’s learn about what are air pollution effects.

Air pollution can have many negative health impacts on the human body.

The World Health Organization estimates that outdoor air pollution causes approximately 7 million deaths each year.

air pollution can trigger asthma attacks and it can lead to cardiovascular disease.

it can also cause lung and colon cancer which are highly dangerous.

according to a new UK-based research, air pollution might increase the risk of dementia over time as well.

Can we protect ourselves from air pollution?

human wearing mask and under mask is smog

There are several things we can do to protect ourselves from air pollution.

First, avoid breathing polluted air by staying indoors when possible.

Second, limit outdoor activities during times of high pollution.

Third, wear a mask when the outdoor air is polluted.

Can we ever stop air pollution?

as we learned about the causes of air pollution, we understood that the most important cause of air pollution is fossil fuels.

One of the most misunderstood things about oil and gas is that we only use them for transport.

yes there are many things that you as an individual can do to reduce air pollution, such as using public transport, recycling or etc

but the truth is this problem is connected to everything from the plastic industry to our food system.

as long as we can’t find sustainable and reliable alternatives for our daily needs, we will face more and more environmental issues alongside air pollution every day.