Definition of Air Pollution

1. Definition of air pollution 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.

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Indoor air pollution and urban air quality are listed as two of the world’s worst pollution problems in the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World’s Worst Polluted Places report. [1] Define Air pollutants Pollutants Main articles: Pollutant and Greenhouse gas Before flue gas desulfurization was installed, the emissions from this power plant in New Mexico contained excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide. Schematic drawing, causes and effects of air pollution: (1) greenhouse effect, (2) particulate contamination, (3) increased UV radiation, (4) acid rain, (5) increased ground level ozone concentration, (6) increased levels of nitrogen oxides.

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. [2] Pollutants can be classified as primary or secondary. Usually, primary pollutants are directly emitted from a process, such as ash from a volcanic eruption, the carbon monoxide gas from a motor vehicle exhaust or sulfur dioxide released from factories. Secondary pollutants are not emitted directly.

Rather, they form in the air when primary pollutants react or interact. An important example of a secondary pollutant is ground level ozone — one of the many secondary pollutants that make up photochemical smog. Some pollutants may be both primary and secondary: that is, they are both emitted directly and formed from other primary pollutants. About 4 percent of deaths in the United States can be attributed to air pollution, according to the Environmental Science Engineering Program at the Harvard School of Public Health. [citation needed]

Major primary pollutants produced by human activity 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. [2] 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 monoxide – is a colourless, odorless, non-irritating but very poisonous gas. It is a product by incomplete combustion of fuel such as natural gas, coal or wood.

Vehicular exhaust is a major source of carbon monoxide. * 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. * Particulate matter – Particulates, alternatively referred to as particulate matter (PM) or fine particles, are tiny particles of solid or liquid suspended in a gas.

In contrast, aerosol refers to particles and the gas together. Sources of particulate matter can be man made or natural. Some particulates occur naturally, originating from volcanoes, dust storms, forest and grassland fires, living vegetation, and sea spray. Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and various industrial processes also generate significant amounts of aerosols. Averaged over the globe, anthropogenic aerosols—those made by human activities—currently account for about 10 percent of the total amount of aerosols in our atmosphere.

Increased levels of fine particles in the air are linked to health hazards such as heart disease,[3] altered lung function and lung cancer. * Persistent free radicals connected to airborne fine particles could cause cardiopulmonary disease. [4][5] * Toxic metals, such as lead, cadmium and copper. * Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – harmful to the ozone layer emitted from products currently banned from use. * Ammonia (NH3) – emitted from agricultural processes. Ammonia is a compound with the formula NH3. It is normally encountered as a gas with a characteristic pungent odor.

Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to foodstuffs and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or indirectly, is also a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceuticals. Although in wide use, ammonia is both caustic and hazardous. * Odors — such as from garbage, sewage, and industrial processes * Radioactive pollutants – produced by nuclear explosions, war explosives, and natural processes such as the radioactive decay of radon. 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 constituent of certain regions of the stratosphere commonly known as the Ozone layer. Photochemical and chemical reactions involving it drive many of the chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere by day and by night. At abnormally high concentrations brought about by human activities (largely the combustion of fossil fuel), it is a pollutant, and a constituent of smog. Peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) – similarly formed from NOx and VOCs. Minor air pollutants include: * A large number of minor hazardous air pollutants. Some of these are regulated in USA under the Clean Air Act and in Europe under the Air Framework Directive. * A variety of persistent organic pollutants, which can attach to particulate matter. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes.

Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, biomagnify in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment. Sources Main article: AP 42 Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas Controlled burning of a field outside of Statesboro, Georgia in preparation for spring planting Sources of air pollution refer to the various locations, activities or factors which are responsible for the releasing of pollutants into 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 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 * Vegetation, in some regions, emits environmentally significant amounts of VOCs on warmer days. These VOCs react with primary anthropogenic pollutants—specifically, NOx, SO2, and anthropogenic organic carbon compounds—to produce a seasonal haze of secondary pollutants. 6] * Volcanic activity, which produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash particulates Emission factors Main article: AP 42 Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors Air pollutant emission factors are representative values that people 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. [7] The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and many other countries have published similar compilations, as well as the European Environment Agency. [8][9][10][11][12] Indoor air quality (IAQ)

Main article: Indoor air quality A lack of ventilation indoors concentrates air pollution where people often spend the majority of their time. Radon (Rn) gas, a carcinogen, is exuded from the Earth in certain locations and trapped inside houses. Building materials including carpeting and plywood emit formaldehyde (H2CO) gas. Paint and solvents give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as they dry. Lead paint can degenerate into dust and be inhaled. Intentional air pollution is introduced with the use of air fresheners, incense, and other scented items.

Controlled wood fires in stoves and fireplaces can add significant amounts of smoke particulates into the air, inside and out. [13] Indoor pollution fatalities may be caused by using pesticides and other chemical sprays indoors without proper ventilation. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and fatalities are often caused by faulty vents and chimneys, or by the burning of charcoal indoors. Chronic carbon monoxide poisoning can result even from poorly adjusted pilot lights. Traps are built into all domestic plumbing to keep sewer gas, hydrogen sulfide, out of interiors.

Clothing emits tetrachloroethylene, or other dry cleaning fluids, for days after dry cleaning. Though its use has now been banned in many countries, the extensive use of asbestos in industrial and domestic environments in the past has left a potentially very dangerous material in many localities. Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory medical condition affecting the tissue of the lungs. It occurs after long-term, heavy exposure to asbestos from asbestos-containing materials in structures. Sufferers have severe dyspnea (shortness of breath) and are at an increased risk regarding several different types of lung cancer.

As clear explanations are not always stressed in non-technical literature, care should be taken to distinguish between several forms of relevant diseases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO)[dead link], these may defined as; asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma (generally a very rare form of cancer, when more widespread it is almost always associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos). Biological sources of air pollution are also found indoors, as gases and airborne particulates.

Pets produce dander, people produce dust from minute skin flakes and decomposed hair, dust mites in bedding, carpeting and furniture produce enzymes and micrometre-sized fecal droppings, inhabitants emit methane, mold forms in walls and generates mycotoxins and spores, air conditioning systems can incubate Legionnaires’ disease and mold, and houseplants, soil and surrounding gardens can produce pollen, dust, and mold. Indoors, the lack of air circulation allows these airborne pollutants to accumulate more than they would otherwise occur in nature. Health effects

The World Health Organization states that 2. 4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1. 5 million of these deaths attributable to indoor air pollution. [14] “Epidemiological studies suggest that more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease linked to breathing fine particle air pollution. . . “[15] A study by the University of Birmingham has shown a strong correlation between pneumonia related deaths and air pollution from motor vehicles. [16] Worldwide more deaths per year are linked to air pollution than to automobile accidents. citation needed] Published in 2005 suggests that 310,000 Europeans die from air pollution annually. [citation needed] Causes of deaths include aggravated asthma, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies. [citation needed] The US EPA estimates that a proposed set of changes in diesel engine technology (Tier 2) could result in 12,000 fewer premature mortalities, 15,000 fewer heart attacks, 6,000 fewer emergency room visits by children with asthma, and 8,900 fewer respiratory-related hospital admissions each year in the United States. citation needed] The worst short term civilian pollution crisis in India was the 1984 Bhopal Disaster. [17] Leaked industrial vapors from the Union Carbide factory, belonging to Union Carbide, Inc. , U. S. A. , killed more than 25,000 people outright and injured anywhere from 150,000 to 600,000. The United Kingdom suffered its worst air pollution event when the December 4 Great Smog of 1952 formed over London. In six days more than 4,000 died, and 8,000 more died within the following months. citation needed] An accidental leak of anthrax spores from a biological warfare laboratory in the former USSR in 1979 near Sverdlovsk is believed to have been the cause of hundreds of civilian deaths. [citation needed] The worst single incident of air pollution to occur in the United States of America occurred in Donora, Pennsylvania in late October, 1948, when 20 people died and over 7,000 were injured. [18] The health effects caused by air pollution may include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions.

These effects can result in increased medication use, increased doctor or emergency room visits, more hospital admissions and premature death. The human health effects of poor air quality are far reaching, but principally affect the body’s respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. Individual reactions to air pollutants depend on the type of pollutant a person is exposed to, the degree of exposure, the individual’s health status and genetics. citation needed] A new economic study of the health impacts and associated costs of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley of Southern California shows that more than 3800 people die prematurely (approximately 14 years earlier than normal) each year because air pollution levels violate federal standards. The number of annual premature deaths is considerably higher than the fatalities related to auto collisions in the same area, which average fewer than 2,000 per year. [19] Diesel exhaust (DE) is a major contributor to combustion derived particulate matter air pollution.

In several human experimental studies, using a well validated exposure chamber setup, DE has been linked to acute vascular dysfunction and increased thrombus formation. [20][21] This serves as a plausible mechanistic link between the previously described association between particulate matter air pollution and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Effects on cystic fibrosis Main article: Cystic fibrosis A study from around the years of 1999 to 2000, by the University of Washington, showed that patients near and around particulate matter air ollution had an increased risk of pulmonary exacerbations and decrease in lung function. [22] Patients were examined before the study for amounts of specific pollutants like Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Burkholderia cenocepacia as well as their socioeconomic standing. Participants involved in the study were located in the United States in close proximity to an Environmental Protection Agency. [clarification needed] During the time of the study 117 deaths were associated with air pollution. Many patients in the study lived in or near large metropolitan areas in order to be close to medical help.

These same patients had higher level of pollutants found in their system because of more emissions in larger cities. As cystic fibrosis patients already suffer from decreased lung function, everyday pollutants such as smoke, emissions from automobiles, tobacco smoke and improper use of indoor heating devices could further compromise lung function. [23] Effects on COPD Main article: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and some forms of asthma. 24] A study conducted in 1960-1961 in the wake of the Great Smog of 1952 compared 293 London residents with 477 residents of Gloucester, Peterborough, and Norwich, three towns with low reported death rates from chronic bronchitis. All subjects were male postal truck drivers aged 40 to 59. Compared to the subjects from the outlying towns, the London subjects exhibited more severe respiratory symptoms (including cough, phlegm, and dyspnea), reduced lung function (FEV1 and peak flow rate), and increased sputum production and purulence.

The differences were more pronounced for subjects aged 50 to 59. The study controlled for age and smoking habits, so concluded that air pollution was the most likely cause of the observed differences. [25] It is believed that much like cystic fibrosis, by living in a more urban environment serious health hazards become more apparent. Studies have shown that in urban areas patients suffer mucus hypersecretion, lower levels of lung function, and more self diagnosis of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. [26] Effects on children

Cities around the world with high exposure to air pollutants have the possibility of children living within them to develop asthma, pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections as well as a low initial birth rate. Protective measures to ensure the youths’ health are being taken in cities such as New Delhi, India where buses now use compressed natural gas to help eliminate the “pea-soup” smog. [27] Research by the World Health Organization shows there is the greatest concentration of particulate matter particles in countries with low economic world power and high poverty and population rates.

Examples of these countries include Egypt, Sudan, Mongolia, and Indonesia. In the United States, the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, however in 2002 at least 146 million Americans were living in non-attainment areas—regions in which the concentration of certain air pollutants exceeded federal standards. [28] Those pollutants are known as the criteria pollutants, and include ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead. Because children are outdoors more and have higher minute ventilation they are more susceptible to the dangers of air pollution.

Health effects in relatively “clean” areas Even in areas with relatively low levels of air pollution, public health effects can be significant and costly. This is because effects can occur at very low levels and a large number of people breathe in such pollutants. A 2005 scientific study for the British Columbia Lung Association showed that a small improvement in air quality (1% reduction of ambient PM2. 5 and ozone concentrations) would produce a $29 million in annual savings in the Metro Vancouver region in 2010. 29] This finding is based on health valuation of lethal (death) and sub-lethal (illness) effects. Reduction efforts There are various air pollution control technologies and land use planning strategies available to reduce air pollution. At its most basic level land use planning is likely to involve zoning and transport infrastructure planning. In most developed countries, land use planning is an important part of social policy, ensuring that land is used efficiently for the benefit of the wider economy and population as well as to protect the environment.

Efforts to reduce pollution from mobile sources includes primary regulation (many developing countries have permissive regulations),[citation needed] expanding regulation to new sources (such as cruise and transport ships, farm equipment, and small gas-powered equipment such as lawn trimmers, chainsaws, and snowmobiles), increased fuel efficiency (such as through the use of hybrid vehicles), conversion to cleaner fuels (such as bioethanol, biodiesel, or conversion to electric vehicles). Control devices

The following items are commonly used as pollution control devices by industry or transportation devices. They can either destroy contaminants or remove them from an exhaust stream before it is emitted into the atmosphere. * Particulate control * Mechanical collectors (dust cyclones, multicyclones) * Electrostatic precipitators An electrostatic precipitator (ESP), or electrostatic air cleaner is a particulate collection device that removes particles from a flowing gas (such as air) using the force of an induced electrostatic charge.

Electrostatic precipitators are highly efficient filtration devices that minimally impede the flow of gases through the device, and can easily remove fine particulate matter such as dust and smoke from the air stream. * Baghouses Designed to handle heavy dust loads, a dust collector consists of a blower, dust filter, a filter-cleaning system, and a dust receptacle or dust removal system (distinguished from air cleaners which utilize disposable filters to remove the dust). * * Particulate scrubbersWet scrubber is a form of pollution control technology.

The term describes a variety of devices that use pollutants from a furnace flue gas or from other gas streams. In a wet scrubber, the polluted gas stream is brought into contact with the scrubbing liquid, by spraying it with the liquid, by forcing it through a pool of liquid, or by some other contact method, so as to remove the pollutants. * Scrubbers * Baffle spray scrubber * Cyclonic spray scrubber * Ejector venturi scrubber * Mechanically aided scrubber * Spray tower * Wet scrubber * NOx control Low NOx burners * Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) * Selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) * NOx scrubbers * Exhaust gas recirculation * Catalytic converter (also for VOC control) * VOC abatement * Adsorption systems, such as activated carbon * Flares * Thermal oxidizers * Catalytic converters * Biofilters * Absorption (scrubbing) * Cryogenic condensers * Vapor recovery systems * Acid Gas/SO2 control * Wet scrubbers * Dry scrubbers * Flue gas desulfurization * Mercury control * Sorbent Injection Technology Electro-Catalytic Oxidation (ECO) * K-Fuel * Dioxin and furan control * Miscellaneous associated equipment * Source capturing systems * Continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) Legal regulations Smog in Cairo In general, there are two types of air quality standards. The first class of standards (such as the U. S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards and E. U. Air Quality Directive) set maximum atmospheric concentrations for specific pollutants. Environmental agencies enact regulations which are intended to esult in attainment of these target levels. The second class (such as the North American Air Quality Index) take the form of a scale with various thresholds, which is used to communicate to the public the relative risk of outdoor activity. The scale may or may not distinguish between different pollutants. Cities Air pollution is usually concentrated in densely populated metropolitan areas, especially in developing countries where environmental regulations are relatively lax or nonexistent.

However, even populated areas in developed countries attain unhealthy levels of pollution. Governing Urban Air Pollution – a regional example (London) In Europe, Council Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management provides a common strategy against which member states can “set objectives for ambient air quality in order to avoid, prevent or reduce harmful effects on human health and the environment . . . and improve air quality where it is unsatisfactory”. 30] On 25 July 2008 in the case Dieter Janecek v Freistaat Bayern CURIA, the European Court of Justice ruled that under this directive[30] citizens have the right to require national authorities to implement a short term action plan that aims to maintain or achieve compliance to air quality limit values. [31] This important case law appears to confirm the role of the EC as centralised regulator to European nation-states as regards air pollution control. It places a supranational legal obligation on the UK to protect its citizens from dangerous levels of air pollution, furthermore superseding national interests with those of the citizen.

In 2010, the European Commission (EC) threatened the UK with legal action against the successive breaching of PM10 limit values. [32] The UK government has identified that if fines are imposed, they could cost the nation upwards of ? 300 million per year. [33] In March 2011, the City of London remains the only UK region in breach of the EC’s limit values, and has been given 3 months to implement an emergency action plan aimed at meeting the EU Air Quality Directive. [34] The City of London has dangerous levels of PM10 concentrations, estimated to cause 3000 deaths per year within the city. 35] As well as the threat of EU fines, in 2010 it was threatened with legal action for scrapping the western congestion charge zone, which is claimed to have led to an increase in air pollution levels. [36] In response to these charges, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has criticised the current need for European cities to communicate with Europe through their nation state’s central government, arguing that in future “A great city like London” should be permitted to bypass its government and deal directly with the European Commission regarding its air quality action plan. 34] In part, this is an attempt to divert blame away from the Mayors office, but it can also be interpreted as recognition that cities can transcend the traditional national government organisational hierarchy and develop solutions to air pollution using global governance networks, for example through transnational relations. Transnational relations include but are not exclusive to national governments and intergovernmental organisations [37] allowing sub-national actors including cities and regions to partake in air pollution control as independent actors.

Particularly promising at present are global city partnerships. [38] These can be built into networks, for example the C40 network, of which London is a member. The C40 is a public ‘non-state’ network of the world’s leading cities that aims to curb their greenhouse emissions. [38] The C40 has been identified as ‘governance from the middle’ and is an alternative to intergovernmental policy. [39] It has the potential to improve urban air quality as participating cities “exchange information, learn from best practices and consequently mitigate carbon dioxide emissions independently from national government decisions”. 38] A criticism of the C40 network is that its exclusive nature limits influence to participating cities and risks drawing resources away from less powerful city and regional actors. Carbon dioxide emissions Total CO2 emissions Main article: List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions Per capita CO2 emissions[41] Main article: List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita Atmospheric dispersion Main article: Atmospheric dispersion modeling The basic technology for analyzing air pollution is through the use of a variety of mathematical models for predicting the transport of air pollutants in the lower atmosphere.

The principal methodologies are: * Point source dispersion, used for industrial sources. * Line source dispersion, used for airport and roadway air dispersion modeling * Area source dispersion, used for forest fires or duststorms * Photochemical models, used to analyze reactive pollutants that form smog Visualization of a buoyant Gaussian air pollution dispersion plume as used in many atmospheric dispersion models The point source problem is the best understood, since it involves simpler mathematics and has been studied for a long period of time, dating back to about the year 1900.

It uses a Gaussian dispersion model for buoyant pollution plumes to forecast the air pollution isopleths, with consideration given to wind velocity, stack height, emission rate and stability class (a measure of atmospheric turbulence). [42][43] This model has been extensively validated and calibrated with experimental data for all sorts of atmospheric conditions. The roadway air dispersion model was developed starting in the late 1950s and early 1960s in response to requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the U. S.

Department of Transportation (then known as the Federal Highway Administration) to understand impacts of proposed new highways upon air quality, especially in urban areas. Several research groups were active in this model development, among which were: the Environmental Research and Technology (ERT) group in Lexington, Massachusetts, the ESL Inc. group in Sunnyvale, California and the California Air Resources Board group in Sacramento, California. The research of the ESL group received a boost with a contract award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to validate a line source model using sulfur hexafluoride as a tracer gas.

This program was successful in validating the line source model developed by ESL inc. Some of the earliest uses of the model were in court cases involving highway air pollution, the Arlington, Virginia portion of Interstate 66 and the New Jersey Turnpike widening project through East Brunswick, New Jersey. Area source models were developed in 1971 through 1974 by the ERT and ESL groups, but addressed a smaller fraction of total air pollution emissions, so that their use and need was not as widespread as the line source model, hich enjoyed hundreds of different applications as early as the 1970s. Similarly photochemical models were developed primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, but their use was more specialized and for regional needs, such as understanding smog formation in Los Angeles, California. What Are the Six Common Air Pollutants? The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for six common air pollutants. These commonly found air pollutants (also known as “criteria pollutants”) are found all over the United States.

They are particle pollution (often referred to as particulate matter), ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. These pollutants can harm your health and the environment, and cause property damage. Of the six pollutants, particle pollution and ground-level ozone are the most widespread health threats. EPA calls these pollutants “criteria” air pollutants because it regulates them by developing human health-based and/or environmentally-based criteria (science-based guidelines) for setting permissible levels.

The set of limits based on human health is called primary standards. Another set of limits intended to prevent environmental and property damage is called secondary standards. Click on one of the pollutants below for information on sources of the pollutant, why the pollutant is of concern, health and environmental effects, efforts underway to help reduce the pollutant, and other helpful resources. * Ozone * Particulate Matter * Carbon Monoxide * Nitrogen Oxides * Sulfur Dioxide * Lead Air Pollution Trends

For each of these pollutants, EPA tracks two kinds of air pollution trends: air concentrations based on actual measurements of pollutant concentrations in the ambient (outside) air at selected monitoring sites throughout the country, and emissions based on engineering estimates of the total tons of pollutants released into the air each year. Despite the progress made in the last 30 years, millions of people live in counties with monitor data showing unhealthy air for one or more of the six common air pollutants.

For EPA’s most recent evaluation of air pollution trends for these six pollutants, click on the following: * Latest Findings on National Air Quality: Status and Trends Health Effects Information Exposure to these pollutants is associated with numerous effects on human health, including increased respiratory symptoms, hospitalization for heart or lung diseases, and even premature death. Try these helpful resources: * Air Quality Index (AQI) * Ozone – Good Up High, Bad Nearby * Ozone and Your Health * Particle Pollution and Your Health * Air Quality Guide for Ozone Air Quality Guide for Particle Pollution * Smog – Who Does it Hurt? State Implementation Plan Status and Information EPA must designate areas as meeting (attainment) or not meeting (nonattainment) the standard. The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires states to develop a general plan to attain and maintain the NAAQS in all areas of the country and a specific plan to attain the standards for each area designated nonattainment for a NAAQS. These plans, known as State Implementation Plans or SIPs, are developed by state and local air quality management agencies and submitted to EPA for approval.

Detailed information about state SIP elements and their status can be found on the State Implementation Plan Status and Information page. Pollutants in the Ambient Air ;;Previous Next;; | + Air Pollution Menu The composition of “unpolluted” air is unknown to us. Humans have lived on the planet thousands of years and influenced the composition of the air through their many activities before it was possible to measure the constituents of the air. Air is a complex mixture made up of many chemical components. The primary components of air are nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), and water vapor (H2O).

About 99 percent of air is nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). The remaining percent includes trace quantities of substances such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), hydrogen (H2), argon (Ar) and helium (He). Figure:What’s in the air? In theory, the air has always been polluted to some degree. Natural phenomena such as volcanoes, wind storms, the decomposition of plants and animals, and even the aerosols emitted by the ocean “pollute” the air. However, the pollutants we usually refer to when we talk about air pollution are those generated as a result of human activity.

An air pollutant can be considered as a substance in the air that, in high enough concentrations, produces a detrimental environmental effect. These effects can be either health effects or welfare effects. A pollutant can affect the health of humans, as well as the health of plants and animals. Pollutants can also affect non-living materials such as paints, metals, and fabrics. An environmental effect is defined as a measurable or perceivable detrimental change resulting from contact with an air pollutant. Human activities have had a detrimental effect on the makeup of air.

Activities such as driving cars and trucks, burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels, and manufacturing chemicals have changed the composition of air by introducing many pollutants. There are hundreds of pollutants in the ambient air. Ambient air is the air to which the general public has access, i. e. any unconfined portion of the atmosphere. The two basic physical forms of air pollutants are particulate matter and gases. Particulate matter includes small solid and liquid particles such as dust, smoke, sand, pollen, mist, and fly ash.

Gases include substances such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Pollutants can also be classified as either primary pollutants or secondary pollutants. A primary pollutant is one that is emitted into the atmosphere directly from the source of the pollutant and retains the same chemical form. An example of a primary pollutant is the ash produced by the burning of solid waste. A secondary pollutant is one that is formed by atmospheric reactions of precursor or primary emissions. Secondary pollutants undergo a hemical change once they reach the atmosphere. An example of a secondary pollutant is ozone created from organic vapors given off at a gasoline station. The organic vapors react with sunlight in the atmosphere to produce the ozone, the primary component of smog. Control of secondary pollutants is generally more problematic than that of primary pollutants, because mitigation of secondary pollutants requires the identification of the precursor compounds and their sources as well as an understanding of the specific chemical reactions that result in the formation of the secondary pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has further classified ambient air pollutants for regulatory purposes as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and criteria pollutants. Criteria pollutants are pollutants that have been identified as being both common and detrimental to human welfare and are found over all the United States (ubiquitous pollutants). EPA currently designates six pollutants as criteria pollutants. These criteria pollutants are: carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), lead (Pb), and particulate matter (PM).

On the other hand, EPA refers to chemicals that cause serious health and environmental hazards as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) or air toxics. Hazardous air pollutants are those pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental effects. Units 5 and 6 of this module discuss in more details the criteria pollutants and the hazardous air pollutants. Causes of air pollution Air pollution is something that we cannot really ignore now-a-days.

This is evident from the moment we step out of our house and are greeted with black colored smog that hits us directly reminding us that breathing clean air is more of a distant dream. It is so easy for us to endlessly rant and rave about the causes of air pollution and its ill effects, but little do we realize that each person is responsible for all the causes of air pollution and the situation that we face today. Take a look around you at the dismal state of affairs. The thick smog that is seen in the morning hours is not really due to somebody else but rather due to each and every one of us.

Here is a look at the causes of air pollution and how it can affect us if the matter is not taken care of at this stage itself. Causes of Air Pollution: Carbon dioxide is one the main pollutants that causes air pollution. This is because, although living beings do exhale carbon dioxide, this gas is harmful when emitted from other sources, which are caused due to human activity. An additional release of carbon dioxide happens due to various such activities. Carbon dioxide gas is used in various industries such as the oil industry and the chemical industry.

The manufacturing process of most products would require the use of this gas. There are various human activities that add to the increased proportions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The combustion of fossil fuels and the harmful effects of deforestation have all contributed towards the same. show that amongst the various gasses emitted during a volcanic eruption, carbon dioxide remains to be at least 40% of the emission. Scientists have now therefore identified carbon dioxide as one of those elements that have contributed to global warming. Causes of air pollution are not limited to this.

The combustion of fuels in automobiles, jet planes etc all cause the release of several primary pollutants into the air. The burning of fossil fuels in big cities which is seen at most factories, offices and even a large number of homes, it is no wonder that air pollution is increasing at an alarming rate. The release of other harmful gases all adds to the state that we see today. Although carbon dioxide plays an important role in various other processes like photosynthesis, breathing an excess of the same also causes harmful effects towards one’s health.

The various causes of air pollution that releases harmful gases into the atmosphere are caused due to the increasing number of power plants and manufacturing units or industries that mostly have activities related to the burning of fuels. Besides, as mentioned earlier, most automobiles, marine vessels, activities that involve the burning of wood, fumes that are released from aerosol sprays, military activities that involve the use of nuclear weapons, all are the numerous causes of air pollution. Carbon monoxide is another such gas which, although was present in the atmosphere earlier, is now considered to be a major pollutant.

An excess of the same has a harmful effect on our system. There are many reasons why carbon monoxide can be released into the atmosphere as a result of human activities. This is also produced due to any fuel burning appliance and appliances such as gas water heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves, gas stoves, gas dryers, yard equipments as well as automobiles, which add to the increased proportion of this gas into the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide is yet another harmful pollutant that causes air pollution.

Sulfur dioxide is emitted largely to the excessive burning of fossil fuels, petroleum refineries, chemical and coal burning power plants etc. Nitrogen dioxide when combined with sulfur dioxide can even cause a harmful reaction in the atmosphere that can cause acid rain. Nitrogen dioxide is one more gas that is emitted into the atmosphere as a result of various human activities. An excess of nitrogen dioxide mainly happens due to most power plants seen in major cities, the burning of fuels due to various motor vehicles and other such sources, whether industrial or commercial that cause the increase in the levels of nitrogen dioxide.

These and a number of other hazardous air pollutants are emitted with the various numbers of activities that we carry out during the day which are the main causes of air pollution. How you can help to prevent Air Pollution: * Carpool- This will help to reduce the number of vehicles on the already congested roads. * Always keep your car tuned properly so that it remains in a good condition. * Save energy- Try to use minimum amounts of natural gas and even electricity. Whenever possible, avoid the use of air conditioner and use a fan instead. * Always buy recycled products. * Reuse things such as paper and plastic bags, paper etc.

This will contribute a lot towards reducing the effects of air pollution and global warming. * Avoid the use of firecrackers. You don’t really need it to express your feeling of happiness. * Go in for water-based paints instead of varnishes. * If you really cannot avoid using your car, plan your work systematically to reduce air pollution. The causes of air pollution can be many to name if one really scrutinizes this subject closely. With a little effort from our side, we can help to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution so that we can breathe in a clean and healthy environment. |

Causes continue 10 Causes of Air Pollution By Nicky LaMarco, eHow Contributor 1. * Air pollution is caused by a wide variety of things. The earth is great at cleaning the air on its own. However, air pollution has grown so much, the earth can no longer clean all of it. This is starting to have adverse effects on the environment such as causing acid rain, smog and a wide variety of health problems. 2. Combustion Engine Exhaust * Cars, trucks, jet airplanes and other combustion engine vehicles cause air pollution. The exhaust from these contains carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and gaseous oxide.

This type of air pollution creates smog (as seen in Los Angeles) which causes respiratory health problems and holes in the ozone layer, which increases the exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. Factories * Factories, office buildings, homes and power-generating stations burn fossil fuels, which cause air pollution. The burning of oil and coal (fossil fuels) also contributes to smog. This air pollution destroys plants, damages buildings and creates oxidation on iron. Petroleum * Petroleum refineries release hydrocarbons and various particulates that pollute the air.

Power Lines * Some power lines are not insulated and are high voltage. This creates air pollution. Pesticides * Pesticides used to kill indoor and outdoor pests, insecticides used to kill insects and herbicides use to kill weeds all cause air pollution. Radioactive Fallout * Radioactive fallout causes air pollution from the nuclear energy dispersed, which is a dust. Fertilizer Dust * Dust from fertilizers used to help plants grow causes air pollution. Indoor Air Pollution * Sick building syndrome (SBS) is the term used when there is indoor air pollution.

This happens when there is not enough ventilation to disburse the toxic fumes from new carpet, paint and/or cleaning chemicals that are used indoors. Mold can also cause SBS. Mining Operations * Mining causes air pollution by releasing a variety of particles. Mills and Plants * Mills and plants, include paper mills, chemical plants, iron mills, steel mills, cement plants and asphalt plants, release emissions into the air causing air pollution. * Diabetes Typestalabidiabetescentre. org Understanding the types of Diabetes easily

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