The effects of air pollution on animals for kids

Written by jen kim
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The effects of air pollution on animals for kids
Air pollution can adversely harm the environment by contaminating food supplies, causing health problems and destroying natural habitats. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Air pollution is a serious environmental condition, which affects all living things, including plants, animals and humans. Sometimes the effects of air pollution are obvious, such as smog in the sky. Other times, the effect is subtle, for instance, depletion of the ozone layer. Inform your kids about the harmful effects of pollution on animals and other living things with these easy-to-understand concepts and ideas.

Global Warming

The Earth's temperature is rising because of global warming. Global warming is the result of the greenhouse effect, which occurs when polluted gases, such as fossil fuels, are released into the air. This warming effect melts the polar ice caps, destroying the natural habitat for many animals. Because of global warming, species of butterflies and birds have already become extinct while polar bears and certain types of penguins are near extinction, according to National Geographic News. Global warming is also responsible for reduced rainfall in some parts of the world, which hurts plant life and other food sources for animals.

Acid Rain

Acid rain may look like regular rain droplets, but they contain harmful pollutants, such as sulphuric and nitric acids, which are poisonous to plants, animals and people. When acid rain is absorbed into soil, it can contaminates or destroy trees, plants and vegetation, which in turn become toxic to the animals who depend on these sources for food. Much marine life has been killed because of acid rain contaminating the oceans. Acid rain is also responsible for severe breathing problems, which has been fatal to some people.


The ozone layer is Earth's only barrier from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. As more air pollutants are released into the environment, the ozone layer becomes weaker and creates holes. The more ultraviolet rays you are exposed to, the greater the likelihood of getting skin cancer. Ozone depletion also reduces the growth of phytoplankton, which is a major food source for marine life. Some scientists believe that frogs and other amphibians are vulnerable to skin cancer as well.


All people should do their part to mitigate the effects of air pollution. Reduce carbon dioxide emissions and opt to take public transportation or walking instead of driving a car. Turn off the lights and unplug appliances when you're not using them. Electricity is generated from burning fossil fuels and other harmful greenhouse gases. Reuse products when you can and recycle plastic, aluminium and paper. Get involved with community activist groups and reach out to others to spread awareness about how they can reduce air pollution.

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