Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere.
The atmosphere is a complex dynamic natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet Earth. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth's ecosystems.
A substance in the air that can cause harm to humans and the environment is known as an air pollutant. Pollutants can be in the form of solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases. In addition, they may be natural or man-made.
In many people’s mind air pollution is associated with contamination of urban air from automobiles exhaust and industrial influents. But every year the indoor air pollution is responsible for the death of 1.6million people ,that is a death in every 20 secondExposure is high among women and children who spend most of their time near the domestic hearth .
Major pollutants produced by human activity include:
Primary pollutants include:
* Sulfur oxides (SOx) - especially sulphur dioxide, a chemical compound with the formula SO2. SO2 is produced by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulphur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide. Further oxidation of SO2, usually in the presence of a catalyst such as NO2, forms H2SO4, and thus acid rain. This is one of the causes for concern over the environmental impact of the use of these fuels as power sources.
* Nitrogen oxides (NOx) - especially nitrogen dioxide are emitted from high temperature combustion. Can be seen as the brown haze dome above or plume downwind of cities. Nitrogen dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula NO2. It is one of the several nitrogen oxides. This reddish-brown toxic gas has a characteristic sharp, biting odor. NO2 is one of the most prominent air pollutants.
* Carbon dioxide (CO2) - a colourless, odorless, non-toxic greenhouse gas associated with ocean acidification, emitted from sources such as combustion, cement production, and respiration
* Volatile organic compounds - VOCs are an important outdoor air pollutant. In this field they are often divided into the separate categories of methane (CH4) and non-methane (NMVOCs). Methane is an extremely efficient greenhouse gas which contributes to enhanced global warming. Other hydrocarbon VOCs are also significant greenhouse gases via their role in creating ozone and in prolonging the life of methane in the atmosphere, although the effect varies depending on local air quality. Within the NMVOCs, the aromatic compounds benzene, toluene and xylene are suspected carcinogens and may lead to leukemia through prolonged exposure. 1,3-butadiene is another dangerous compound which is often associated with industrial uses.
* Formaldehyde - It is a component in the urea formaldehyde which is used as building material for insulation It is used as plywood , adhesive , a binder in particle board and a component in flor covering , fabrics .It may also causes cancer
Secondary pollutants include:
* Particulate matter formed from gaseous primary pollutants and compounds in photochemical smog. Smog is a kind of air pollution; the word "smog" is a portmanteau of smoke and fog. Classic smog results from large amounts of coal burning in an area caused by a mixture of smoke and sulfur dioxide. Modern smog does not usually come from coal but from vehicular and industrial emissions that are acted on in the atmosphere by ultraviolet light from the sun to form secondary pollutants that also combine with the primary emissions to form photochemical smog. * Ground level ozone (O3) formed from NOx and VOCs. Ozone (O3) is a key constituent of the troposphere. It is also an important...
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