 ‘I’ll

go out for a breath of fresh air’ is an often-heard phrase. But how many of us realize that this has become irrelevant in today’s world, because the quality of air in our cities is anything but fresh.


What is Air Pollution?
 Air

is the ocean we breathe. Air supplies us with oxygen which is essential for our bodies to live. Air is 99.9% nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and inert gases. Human activities can release substances into the air, some of which can cause problems for humans, plants, and

One of the formal definitions of air pollution is as follows – ‘The presence in the atmosphere of one or more contaminants in such quality and for such duration as is injurious, or tends to be injurious, to human health or welfare, animal or plant life.’ It is the contamination of air by the discharge of harmful substances. Air pollution can cause health problems and it can also damage the environment and property. It has caused thinning of the protective ozone layer of the

The Maj or Ai r Pol lutan ts An d The ir Sour ces

Carbon monoxide (CO)is a colourless, odourless gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels including petrol, diesel, and wood. It is also produced from the combustion of natural and synthetic products such as cigarettes. It lowers the amount of oxygen that enters our blood . It can slow our reflexes and make us confused and sleepy.

 Lead

is present in petrol, diesel, lead batteries, paints, hair dye products, etc. Lead affects children in particular. It can cause nervous system damage and digestive problems and, in some cases, cause cancer.

 Ozone occur naturally in the

upper layers of the atmosphere. This important gas shields the earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. However, at the ground level, it is a pollutant with highly toxic effects. Vehicles and industries are the major source of ground-level ozone emissions. Ozone makes our eyes itch, burn, and water. It lowers our resistance to colds and pneumonia.

 Nitrogen

oxide (Nox) causes smog and acid rain. It is produced from burning fuels including petrol, diesel, and coal. Nitrogen oxides can make children susceptible to respiratory diseases in

 Suspended

particulate matter (SPM) consists of solids in the air in the form of smoke, dust, and vapor that can remain suspended for extended periods and is also the main source of haze which reduces visibility. The finer of these particles, when breathed in can lodge in our lungs and cause lung damage and respiratory problems.

 Chloroflorocarbons

(CFC) are gases that are released mainly from air-conditioning systems and refrigeration. When released into the air, CFCs rise to the stratosphere, where they come in contact with few other gases, which leads to a reduction of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

 Carbon

dioxide (CO2)is the principle greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gases.

 Sulphur

dioxide (SO2) is a gas produced from burning coal, mainly in thermal power plants. Some industrial processes, such as production of paper and smelting of metals, produce sulphur dioxide. It is a major contributor to smog and acid rain. Sulfur dioxide can lead to lung diseases.

There are several main types of air pollution

One type of air pollution is the release of particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. Diesel smoke is a good example of this particulate matter . The particles are very small pieces of matter measuring about 2.5 microns or about .0001 inches. This type of pollution is sometimes referred to as "black carbon" pollution. The exhaust from burning fuels in automobiles, homes, and industries

Another type of pollution is the release of noxious gases, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and chemical vapors. These can take part in further chemical reactions once they are in the atmosphere, forming smog and acid rain.  Pollution also needs to be considered inside our homes, offices, and schools. Some of these pollutants can be created by indoor activities such as smoking and cooking. In the United States, they spend about 80-90% of their time

Outdoor Air Pollution

Outdoor (ambient) pollutants come from both natural source and human (anthropogenic) activities. those emitted directly into the troposphere in a potentially harmful form,secondary pollutants, those primary pollutants that may react with one another or with the basic components of air to form new pollutants. Prevailing winds can be spread long-live primary and secondary air

Natural Sources Of Outdoor Air Pollution
    

Dust and other forms of suspended particulate matter. Sulfur oxides from volcanoes . Carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides from forest fire Hydrocarbons and pollen from plants. Methane and hydrogen sulfite from decaying plants.

 Outdoor




Indoo r a ir pol lution

It refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of air in the indoor environment within a home, building, or an institution or commercial facility. Indoor air pollution is a concern in the developed countries, where energy efficiency improvements sometimes make houses relatively airtight, reducing ventilation and raising pollutant levels. Indoor air problems can be subtle and do not always produce easily recognized impacts on health. Different

Sources Of Indoor Air Pollution.
 Tobacco

smoke, cooking and heating appliances, and vapors from building materials, paints, furniture, etc. cause pollution inside buildings. Radon is a natural radioactive gas released from the earth, and it can be found concentrated in basements in some parts of the United

How Can Air Pollution Hurt My Health

Air pollution can affect our health in many ways with both short-term and long-term effects. Different groups of individuals are affected by air pollution in different ways. Some individuals are much more sensitive to pollutants than are others. Young children and elderly people often suffer more from the effects of air pollution. People with health problems such as asthma, heart and lung disease may also suffer more when the air is polluted. The extent to which an individual is harmed by air

Short-Term Health Effects
 Examples

of short-term effects include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Other symptoms can include headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions. Short-term air pollution can aggravate the medical conditions of individuals with asthma and

Long-Term Health Effects
 Long-term

health effects can include chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys. Continual exposure to air pollution affects the lungs of growing children and may aggravate or complicate medical conditions in the elderly. It is estimated that half a million

Effects on Human Health, Materials and Economy
 Contributes

to respiratory disease bronchitis and asthma  Leach toxic metals such as lead and copper from water pipes to drinking water.  Damages infrastructures and car finishes.  Decrease atmospheric visibility  Lower profits, job losses due to lower productivity in fisheries, forest, and farms.

Effect on Aquatic Ecosystem
 Loss

of fish population.  Release of aluminum ions that stimulates excessive mucus formation. This asphyxiates the fish by clogging their gills.

How Can We Prevent The Damaging Effects Of Air Pollutions ?
 In

many countries in the world, steps are being taken to stop the damage to our environment from air pollution. Scientific groups study the damaging effects on plant, animal and human life. Legislative bodies write laws to control emissions. Educators in schools and universities teach students, beginning at


first step to solving air pollution is assessment. Researchers have investigated outdoor air pollution and have developed standards for measuring the type and

 Prevention

is another key to controlling air pollution. The regulatory agencies mentioned above play an essential ole in reducing and preventing air pollution in the environment .

Adequate Ventilation
 Adequate

ventilation is also a key to controlling exposure to indoor air pollution. Home and work environments should be monitored for adequate air flow and proper exhaust systems installed.

Restricting Smoking
 One

of the most dangerous air pollutants is cigarette smoke. Restricting smoking is an important key to a healthier environment. Legislation to control

Factors That Can Reduce Air Pollution
 Rain

and snow help cleanse the air pollutants.  Winds, that (1) helps sweep pollutants away, (2) dilute pollutants by mixing them with clean air, and (3) bring in fresh air. However, these pollutants are blown somewhere else or deposited onto surface water,

Factors That Can Increase Air Pollution
 Urban

buildings, slow wind speed and reduce dilution and removal of pollutants.  Hills and mountains, reduce the flow of air , and allow pollutant level to build up at ground levels.  High temperature, promote photo chemical reaction.

Only through the efforts of scientists, business leaders, legislators, and individuals can we reduce the amount of air pollution on the planet. This challenge must be met by all of us in order to assure that a healthy environment will exist for ourselves and our children.


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