Cause: Air Pollution and Natural Sources

Topics: Air pollution, Smog, United States Environmental Protection Agency Pages: 5 (1379 words) Published: October 5, 2010
* Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or damages the natural 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. Natural sources

* Dust from natural sources, usually large areas of land with little or no vegetation. * Methane, emitted by the digestion of food by animals, for example cattle. * Radon gas from radioactive decay within the Earth's crust. Radon is a colorless, odorless, naturally occurring, radioactive noble gas that is formed from the decay of radium. It is considered to be a health hazard. Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in buildings, especially in confined areas such as the basement and it is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking. * Smoke and carbon monoxide from wildfires.

* Volcanic activity, which produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash particulates. Sources of air pollution refer to the various locations, activities or factors which are responsible for the releasing of pollutants in the atmosphere. These sources can be classified into two major categories which are: Anthropogenic sources (human activity) mostly related to burning different kinds of fuel * "Stationary Sources" include smoke stacks of power plants, manufacturing facilities (factories) and waste incinerators, as well as furnaces and other types of fuel-burning heating devices * "Mobile Sources" include motor vehicles, marine vessels, aircraft and the effect of sound etc. * Chemicals, dust and controlled burn practices in agriculture and forestry management. Controlled or prescribed burning is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Controlled burning stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest. * Fumes from paint, hair spray, varnish, aerosol sprays and other solvents * Waste deposition in landfills, which generate methane.Methane is not toxic; however, it is highly flammable and may form explosive mixtures with air. Methane is also an asphyxiant and may displace oxygen in an enclosed space. Asphyxia or suffocation may result if the oxygen concentration is reduced to below 19.5% by displacement, * Military, such as nuclear weapons, toxic gases, germ warfare and rocketry. Emission factors

* Air pollutant emission factors are representative values that attempt to relate the quantity of a pollutant released to the ambient air with an activity associated with the release of that pollutant. These factors are usually expressed as the weight of pollutant divided by a unit weight, volume, distance, or duration of the activity emitting the pollutant (e.g., kilograms of particulate emitted per megagram of coal burned).

* Such factors facilitate estimation of emissions from various sources of air pollution. In most cases, these factors are simply averages of all available data of acceptable quality, and are generally assumed to be representative of long-term averages.

* The United States Environmental Protection Agency has published a compilation of air pollutant emission factors for a multitude of industrial sources.[6] The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and many other countries have published similar compilations, as well as the European Environment Agency.[


* One of the most visible effects of air pollution is smog. A fog-like smoke (hence the term, "smog") that blankets many cities, it can be seen as a discolored haze that obscures...
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