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Human Impacts

on Air Pollution
Air Pollution
Air pollution is the condition in which air is contaminated by foreign
substances, or the substances themselves. Air pollution consists of
gaseous, liquid, or solid substances that, when present in sufficient
concentration, for a sufficient time, and under certain conditions, tend
to interfere with human comfort, health, and cause environmental
Air Pollution
Smog hanging over cities is the most familiar and obvious form of air
pollution. But there are different kinds of pollution—some visible,
some invisible—that contribute to global warming. Generally any
substance that people introduce into the atmosphere that has
damaging effects on living things and the environment is considered
air pollution.
Causes of Air Pollution
Causes of air pollution
1. Burning of Fossil Fuels
2. Agricultural Activities
3. Exhaust from factories and industries
4. Mining operations
5. Indoor air pollution
1. Burning of Fossil Fuels
Sulfur dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal,
petroleum and other factory combustibles is one of the major cause of
air pollution. Pollution emitting from vehicles including trucks, jeeps,
cars, trains, airplanes cause immense amount of pollution. We rely on
them to fulfill our daily basic needs of transportation. But, there
overuse is killing our environment as dangerous. Carbon monoxide
caused by improper or incomplete combustion and generally emitted
from vehicles is another major pollutant.
2. Agricultural activities
Ammonia is a very common by product from agriculture related
activities and is one of the most hazardous gases in the atmosphere.
Use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers in agricultural activites
has grown quite a lot. They emit harmful chemicals into the air and
can also cause water pollution.
3. Exhaust from factories
and industries
Manufacturing industries release a large amount of carbon monoxide,
hydrocarbons, organic compounds, and chemicals into the air thereby
depleting the quality of air. Manufacturing industries can be found at
every corner of the earth and there is no area that has not been
affected by it. Petroleum refineries also release hydrocarbons and
various other chemicals that pollute the air and also cause land
4. Mining operations
Mining is a process wherein minerals below the earth are extracted
using a large equipments. During the process dust and chemicals are
released in the air causing massive air pollution. This is one of the
reason which is responsivle for the deteriorating health conditions of
workers and nearby residents.
5. Indoor air pollution
Household cleaning products, painting supplies emit toxic chemicals
in the air and caise air pollution. Have you ever noticed that once you
paint walls of your house, it creates som sort of smell which makes it
literally impossible for you to breathe.

Suspended particulate matter popular by its acronym SPM, is

another cause of pollution. Referring to the particles afloat in the air,
SPM is usually caused by dust, combustion etc.
The leading pollutant
Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is the main pollutant that is
warming Earth. Though living things emit carbon dioxide when they
breathe, carbon dioxide is widely considered to be a pollutant when
associated with cars, planes, power plants, and other human activities
that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline and natural
Other Greenhouse Gasses
Other greenhouse gases include methane—which comes from such
sources as swamps and gas emitted by livestock—and
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were used in refrigerants and
aerosol propellants until they were banned because of their
deteriorating effect on Earth’s ozone layer.
Other Greenhouse Gasses
Another pollutant associated with climate change is sulfur dioxide, a
component of smog. Sulfur dioxide and closely related chemicals are
known primarily as a cause of acid rain. But they also reflect light when
released in the atmosphere, which keeps sunlight out and causes
Earth to cool. Volcanic eruptions can spew massive amounts of
sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, sometimes causing cooling that
lasts for years.
Types of air pollution
• Natural - It includes the volcanic activities, winds and air currents,
wildfires, microbial decaying processes, radioactive decay
processes, and increasing temperatures.
• Anthropogenic - It includes mining and smelting, mine tailing
disposal, foundry activities, industrial processes, transportation,
construction and demolition, coal power plants and heating of the
buildings, waste incineration, etc.
Top 10 Gases in Air Pollution
1. Sulfur Dioxide 9. Unburned hydrocarbons
2. Carbon monoxide 10. Lead and heavy metals
3. Carbon dioxide
4. Nitrogen Oxides
5. Volatile Organic Compounds
6. Particulates
7. Ozone
8. Chlorofluorocarbons
What can be done?
Every time we drive to school, use our heater or air conditioner, clean
our windows, or even style our hair, we make choices that affect air
pollution. Here are some ways we can do to reduce air pollution.

Plant trees
Conserve energy
Use public transportation
Choose sustainable products
Use eco-friendly products in your home
Effects of Air Pollution
Effects of air pollution
• Smog and soot - Smog can irritate the eyes and throat and also
damage the lungs.
• Acid rain – is precipitation containing a harmful amounts of nitric
and sulfuric acids. These acids are formed primarily by nitrogen
oxides and sulfur oxides released into the atmosphere when fossil
fuels are burned. These acids fall to the Earth either as wet
precipitation (rain, snow, or fog) or dry precipitation (gas and
Effects of air pollution
• Global Climate Change – The Earth’s atmosphere contains a
delicate balance of naturally occurring gases that trap some of the
sun’s heat near the Earth’s surface. This “greenhouse effect” keeps
the Earth’s temperature stable. Unfortunately, evidence is mounting
that humans have distributed this natural balance by producing
large amounts of some of these greenhouse gases, including
carbon dioxide and methane.
Global Warming and
Climate Change
Global Warming
Global warming is the current increase in temperature of the Earth’s
surface as well as it’s atmosphere. Average temperatures around the
world have risen by 0.75˚C over the last 100 years about two thirds of
this increase has occurred since 1975. In the past, when the Earth
experienced increases in temperature it was the result of natural causes
but today it is being caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere produced by human activities.
Climate Change
A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change
apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely
to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the
use of fossil fuels.
A climate change unlike any
The planet has experienced climate change before: the Earth’s
average temperature has fluctuated throughout the planet’s 4.54
billion-year history. The planet has experienced long cold periods (ice
ages) and warm periods (interglacial) on 100,000-year cycles for at
least the last million years.
Global warming vs Climate
Global warming only refers only to the Earth’s rising surface
temperature, while climate change includes warming and the “side
effects” of warming—like melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more
frequent drought. Said another way, global warming is one symptom of
the much larger problem of human-cause climate change.
Causes of climate change
• Water vapor: The most abundant greenhouse gas, but importantly,
it acts as a feedback to the climate. Water vapor increases as the
Earth’s atmosphere warms, but so does the possibility of clouds and
precipitation, making these some of the most important feedback
mechanisms to the greenhouse effect.
• Carbon dioxide: A minor but very important component of the
atmosphere, CO2 is released through natural processes such as
respiration and volcano eruptions and through human activities such
as deforestation, land use changes, and burning fossil fuels.
Causes of climate change
• Nitrous oxide: A powerful greenhouse gas produced by soil
cultivation practices, especially the use of commercial and organic
fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, nitric acid production, and biomass
• Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): Synthetic compounds entirely of
industrial origin used in a number of applications, but now largely
regulated in production and release to the atmosphere by
international agreement for their ability to contribute to destruction of
the ozone layer. They are also greenhouse gases.
Effects of Climate Change
1. Precipitation (rain and snowfall) has increased across the globe, on
2. The sea level has been rising more quickly over the last century.
3. Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have moved farther north
or to higher, cooler areas.
4. Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This
includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and
Greenland, and Arctic sea ice.
Fun Facts!
Did you know?
Rising levels of air pollution in Beijing has brought a new disease –
Beijing cough.

Did you know?

Air pollution that causes smog affects dolphines and makes them
suffer from black lung diseases.

Did you know?

A single bus carries passengers which are likely to drive 40 cars.
Fun Facts!
Did you know?
Air pollution in China can travel up to Central Valley of California.

Did you know?

2 million cars in Manila Philippines cause 80% of air pollution.

Did you know?

During heavy traffic jam, pollutants outside can seep into your car,
making the air inside your car 10 tumes more polluted than typical city
All of us face a variety of risks to
our health as we go about our
day-to-day lives….
Indoor air pollution is one risk
that you can do something about.


Any questions?
1. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014

United States Global Change Research Program, “Global Climate

Change Impacts in the United States,” Cambridge University
Press, 2009

Naomi Oreskes, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,”

Science 3 December 2004: Vol. 306 no. 5702 p. 1686 DOI:
2 Mike Lockwood, “Solar Change and Climate: an update in the light
of the current exceptional solar minimum,” Proceedings of the Royal
Society A, 2 December 2009, doi 10.1098/rspa. 2009. 0519

3 Judith Lean, “Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate,”

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 1,
January/February 2010, 111-122.