Smoggy air may be aesthetically pleasing; making everything seem ethereal, or like you’ve just stepped into a Tim Burton movie, but this charming fog wreaks havoc on our lungs and bodies. So why is no one concerned about the fact that millions of factories worldwide are leaching poisonous fumes into our air every single day?
Air pollution is the release and presence of harmful particles (pollutants) into the air that are detrimental to human health and to the planet as a whole. Pollutants exist in both a gaseous form and in solid form (as particulate matter suspended in the air). Common air pollutants include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, insecticides and herbicides, just to name a few.
While it’s common knowledge that vehicles and factories release harmful toxins into our environment, one major source of air pollution which is deliberately overlooked is animal agriculture.
In order to keep up with the demand for animal products, humans force breed and slaughter over 56 billion animals per year! That’s 56 billion animals who need space to live, food and water to consume and that produce waste not only in the form of physical excrement but in the form of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
Deforestation is a major cause of air pollution, as trees and other plants naturally filter our air. In order to have enough space not only to raise animals bred for consumption, but to produce their food, we clear cut forests. In fact, 80% of the world’s agricultural land is allocated to farm animals, either for pasture or to grow food specifically to feed them, and 45% of Earth’s total land surface, once full of thriving ecosystems, is now devoted to livestock.
We also need machines and factories to slaughter these individuals, clean their bodies, process and transport their bodies, and to create packaging to put their body parts in. We then ship their packaged body parts long distances to grocery stores. All of these industrial processes require the use of fossil fuels and contribute to air pollution.
Waste produced by farm animals is commonly dumped into ‘poop lagoons’, which not only leak into nearby water sources, but emit toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia into the air. Roughly 80% of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal waste. Air pollutants generated by animal farms cause respiratory illness and lung inflammation, and the emissions of reactive organics and ammonia from animal farming also contributes to the formation of smog.
Animal agriculture is a major threat to our air quality. One of the best ways to preserve our clean air is to switch to a vegan diet. By refusing to consume animals and their products, you are effectively boycotting the animal animal agriculture industry and reducing the demand for animals to be bred and slaughtered. The lower the demand, the less animals will be bred, which means less chemicals will be released into our atmosphere and less land will be destroyed.
If something as simple as changing your diet can have such a profound, positive impact on our planet, then why wouldn’t you do it?
Save the planet, go vegan!
Diclaimer: This blog was written by volunteer contributor Nyx Rivers, all information and opinions are are of the authors capacity and are not necessarily reflected by HeartCure.