One way to get people interested in the environment and its sustainability is to start young. This involves educating children on the environment, pollution, and methods of reducing impacts. If this is done in a fun and exciting manner, it may create life-long environmentalists! The following are some fun facts for kids concerning air pollution.
- If you think of the Earth as an apple, then the thickness of the amount of air we can breath is like the thickness of the apple’s skin. That is thin!
- The air we breathe today is the same air the dinosaurs breathed and will be the only air we ever have. That is why we need to keep the air healthy.
- There are many types of air pollution, here are a few:
- Ground Level Ozone – This is made when chemicals and gases heat in the sun. Ozone is good in the stratosphere, which is located about 10-30 miles above our heads, but is harmful to our lungs when it is at the ground level.
- Particulate Matter (PM) – PM is like airborne dust made up of tiny particles from smoke stacks, car exhausts and other dust.
- Carbon Dioxide – This is made when fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas are burned. Too much carbon dioxide in the air can warm our Earth too rapidly.
- Harmful effects occur because of air pollution including:
- Global Warming – when there is too much heat trapped above the Earth
- Acid Rain – This occurs when pollution in the air mixes with water vapor and then comes back down as acid rain. This can hurt plants, humans, soil, and water.
- Human Health Problems – Air pollution can make us sick! Sometimes emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, skin diseases and even cancer can be caused by air pollution.
- So how can kids help? There are a number of ways to reduce air pollution:
- Using less energy will help to reduce carbon dioxide levels. You can do this by turning off lights, watching less TV, and riding your bike!
- Plant a tree!
- Share car rides with friends!
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle!
- Tell your friends and family about air pollution and what they can do to help!
The EPA has a lot of great resources for kids, parents and teachers to help children understand about all types of pollution. To access this information, click here! Additionally, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality in Arizona offers a fun printout with games and facts on air pollution. To download this pamphlet, click here!