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AIR POLLUTION

Atmosphere
a gaseous envelope surrounding the earth and extends 500 km. above the earths surface
the composition of the atmosphere is as follows:

protects the earth from cosmic radiations


provides life sustaining oxygen, macronutrients like nitrogen and carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis
screens dangerous UV radiations from the sun
maintains the heat balance of the earth by absorbing the re-emitted radiation of the earth
medium of carriage of water from the oceans to the land in the hydrological cycle
Structure of the Atmosphere
4 Major Zones:
Troposphere
layer of air nearest to ground where temperature decreases with height
temperature drops from 15C to 56.5C at 11,000 m asl
most of the weather occurs
Stratosphere
sometimes called as ozone layer
layer of air above the troposphere where temperature increases with height
temperature rises to -2.5C at 50,000 m asl
Mesosphere
layer of air above stratosphere where temperature decreases with height
temperature drops to 90C at 90,000 m asl
coldest layer of the atmosphere
Thermosphere
sometimes called as ozone layer
layer of air above the mesosphere where temperature increases with height
the air becomes less and less dense as we reach space
How Solar Energy Warms the Atmosphere
Ozone
a natural gas composed of three atoms of oxygen; its chemical symbol is O3
it is blue in color and has a strong odor
2 Types:
Good Ozone
occurs naturally in the upper Stratosphere
Bad Ozone
ground level ozone found in the troposphere, the layer that forms the immediate atmosphere
Ozone Layer
a layer in the stratosphere containing a relatively high concentration of ozone
protects the earth from the suns UV Rays
Ozone Depletion
simply the wearing out (reduction) of the amount of ozone in the stratosphere
Air Pollution
defined as the presence of one or more contaminants in such quantities and duration, which is detrimental to
the health of plants, animals, property
can be caused both by natural and man-made sources
Natural sources
Volcanic eruptions Electric storms
Forest and wild fires Pollen and fungal spores
Plan and animal decay Bacteria
Sand storms Marsh gas
Man-made sources
Industry Agriculture
Transport Radio active material
Air Pollutants
A
classification:
Primary Pollutants
those emitted into the atmosphere
o Carbon Monoxide
o Nitrogen Oxides
o Sulfur Oxides
o Hydrocarbons
Secondary Pollutants
interaction between the Primary Pollutants
o Ozone
o Smog
o Acyl Nitrate
Organic Pollutants
Hydrocarbons, Aldehydes, Ketones, Alcohols, etc.
Inorganic Pollutants
Carbon Oxides, Nitrogen, Sulfur, Halogen Compounds, etc.
Gaseous Pollutants
freely mix with air and do not settle
Particulate Matter
fine solid dust or liquid droplets
Smoke, fumes, fog, smoke, sprays, etc.
Outdoor air pollutants
affects ambient air quality
includes:
o Primary and secondary pollutants
o Particulate matter
o Volatile organic compounds
Indoor air pollutants
poor ventilation can lead to a build-up of air pollutants (CO, NO2) from faulty gas heaters and
cookers
CO and Benzene from cigarette smoke
Volatile organic compounds from synthetic furnishings, vinyl flooring and paints
Impacts of Air Pollution on Man and Environment
major impacts:
Global Warming
increase in the average temperature of the earth
attributed mainly to the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in increasing
quantities into the atmosphere
Acid Rain
precipitation becomes more acidic when converted to sulphuric and nitric acids caused by
gaseous atmospheric pollutants (sulphur and nitrogen oxides)
What produces sulphur and nitrogen oxides?
o Burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas)
o Added with water vapor, it becomes sulphuric and nitric acids
Example: Effects of Acid Rain in Taj Mahal (Agra)
o Large numbers of power plants and industries in the area
o Contains serious levels of sulphur and nitrogen oxides
o It reacted with the marble (calcium carbonate of Taj Mahal affecting its wonderful
structure
Ozone layer depletion
occurs when the natural balance between the production and destruction of stratospheric
ozone is disturbed in favor of removal
Ozone: filters out incoming radiation from the sun the cell-damaging ultraviolet (UV) part of the
spectrum
causes:
o man-made emissions of Halogens like Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals
used in refrigeration, aerosols and cleansing agents
consequences:
o UV radiation can cause a variety of health problems in humans (skin cancers, eye
cataracts, etc)
o affect the global climate
o damage the microscopic life in the surface of oceans which is the basis of the worlds
marine food chain
o damage crops like rice and soya and polymers use in paints and clothing
in 1985, large ozone hole was discovered in Antarctica
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was made in 1987
Damage to materials
materials: surface coatings and paints
Polymeric materials: rubber, plastics, paper and textiles, metals and alloys, leather and building
materials
in the form of corrosion, abrasion, deposition or direct chemical reaction
Damage to vegetation and animals
in the form of acid precipitation, flourides, smog, ozone, organic compounds
damages like loss of chorophyll, stunted growth, discoloration and banding of leaves
pollutants in plants are consumed by animals
Acid deposition: reduces PH of water bodies resulting to destruction of flora and fauna
Reduction in visibility
in the form of heavy smoke, dust storms, smog
causes disruption of road and air traffic
Impacts on human health and activities
Respiratory illnesses: chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, lung cancer, etc.
Convulsions, coma, cardio vascular diseases, kidney and liver damages, etc.
Examples:
o Bhopal Gas tragedy (Dec. 2, 1984, India)
Worlds worst industrial disaster
Gas leak (30 tons of highly toxic gas called methyl isocyanate
Deaths: estimates 3,800 to 16,000
Examples:
o The Great Smog of London (Dec. 5-9, 1952)
4-day severe air pollution event
Sulphur particles mixed with fumes from burning coal
Deaths: more than 12,000, hospitalized: 150,000
Air Pollution Control
Government (or community) level prevention
RA 8749 - Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999
Ordinance No. 0367-12 New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance
Individual level prevention
use public mode of transportation
conserve energy
reduce, re-use and recycle
emphasis on clean energy sources
use energy efficient devices
Air Pollution Challenges
Common pollutants
both visible and invisible pollution are harmful
mostly affects public health
Toxic pollutants
damage health and environment
Climate Change
affects both public health and the environment
Protecting stratospheric ozone layer
reduce CFCs and other ozone depleting chemicals

Current Situation
Which country has the worst air pollution? Clue: it's not China