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Sources of Man-made Air Pollution

Most human inputs of air pollutants occur in industrialized and urban areas where
people, cars and factories are concentrated. These pollutants are generated mostly by
stationary and mobile sources. Stationary sources are sources in which pollutants
generated are in fixed location. Examples of stationary sources are smoke stacks/pipes
from factories, pollutants from industrial plants generating electricity. On the other hand,
sources of air pollution that are moving such as motor vehicles are called mobile
sources. [2a]
Main categories of Air Pollutants
Air pollutants are classified into two categories. Primary pollutants are harmful
chemicals emitted directly into the atmosphere from natural processes and human
SO 2
activities. It consists of CO,
, NO,
, volatile organic compounds
(hydrocarbons) and dust. While in the atmosphere, some primary pollutants react with
substances normally found in the atmosphere or with other air pollutants to form new
SO 3
harmful chemicals, called secondary pollutants. It consists of
, some ozone,
sulfuric and nitric acids. [2a]
Major Classes of Air Pollutants
1. Particulate Matter
Suspended particulate matter consists of variety of solid or liquid particles
suspended in air. Smoke, dust, soil particles, soot, lead, asbestos, sea salt, and
sulfuric acid droplets are examples. [2a]
2. Carbon Oxides
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic gas that forms during the incomplete
combustion of carbon-containing materials. About 93% of carbon dioxide in the
troposphere occurs as a result of the natural carbon cycle while the 7% of it
occurs as a result of human activities, mostly burning of fossil fuels. [2a]
3. Nitrogen Oxides
Nitrogen oxide (NO) forms when nitrogen and oxygen gas in air react at the highcombustion temperatures in automobile engines and coal-burning plants.
Nitrogen oxide can also be formed from lightening and certain soil bacteria. In the
air, NO reacts with oxygen to form
. Some of the
reacts with water
vapor in the air to form nitric acid (
) and nitrate salts (
3 ) which are
components of acid deposition. [2a]

Sulfur Oxides About one-third of SO 2 in the troposphere occurs naturally through the sulfur cycle. [2a] 6.4. Tropospheric Ozone is often referred to as bad ozone. Ozone It is a major component of photochemical smog. [2b] QUESTION Why is ozone 3000 times stronger as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? . [2a] Ozone also acts as a potent greenhouse gas  Ozone behaves differently at different altitudes in the atmosphere. H 2 SO 4 SO 2 can be converted to sulfuric acid ( 2−¿ ) and sulfate salts ( SO ¿4 ) that return to earth as a component of acid deposition. Examples are hydrocarbons emitted by the leaves of many plants and methane. It is an essential component that screens out UV radiation in the upper atmosphere. At the top of the troposphere ozone is a greenhouse gas and at the surface it makes smog. benzene. [2a] 5. Stratospheric Ozone is often referred to as good ozone. In the atmosphere. mostly combustion ( S +O2 SO 2 → ) of sulfur-containing coal and from oil refining and smelting of sulfide ores. Other VOCs include industrial solvents such as trichlorethylene (TCE). secondary air pollutant. There are two types. and vinyl chloride. it has positive effects on life at the surface. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) These are organic compounds that exists as gases or that evaporate into the atmosphere. CO2 Ozone is about 3000 times stronger as a greenhouse gas than . High in the stratosphere and at mid-troposphere. About two thirds of global methane emissions came from human sources and are related to photochemical smog and greenhouse gases. It is man-made pollutant in the lower atmosphere. The other two-thirds come from human sources.

[2a] . S. & Spoolman. At middle altitudes between the ground and the stratosphere. Ozone. Retrieved from http://www. Cengage Learning. Ozone at the Earth's surface is itself harmful.aoas. ozone captures heat much as carbon dioxide does. 370-372). G. damaging people's lungs and contributing to smog. It also acts as a potent greenhouse gas. [2b] Miller. ozone blocks harmful ultraviolet sunlight. (2008).. It traps up to one-third as much heat as the better known culprit in climate change.php?story=20080522125225466. pp.Ozone is 3000 times stronger as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide because in the stratosphere. [2b] REFERENCES Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society. carbon dioxide.. Environmental Science (13th ed. the Greenhouse (2010).