Causes of air pollution


There are many types of pollutants produced from a variety of sources; essentially the
introduction of particles into the atmosphere that do not belong there.


carpoll_shutterstock_40584751NATURAL CAUSES

Pollution from natural events are rare, these include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen, evaporation of organic compounds and natural radioactivity. 


Air pollution is caused directly through our use of electricity, fuels, and transportation and indirectly, when we buy goods and services that use energy in their production and delivery.

Human activities that result in air pollution include:

  • The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline to produce electricity and power our vehicles.
  • Emissions from manufacture and other industry activities
  • Chemicals including crop dusting, fumigating homes, household cleaning products or paint supplies, over the counter insect/pest killers.




Health Effects

Environmental Effects

Nitrogen Dioxide   Road transport is the main source, followed by the electricity supply industry Lung damage, respiratory illnesses, ozone (smog) effects.

Ozone (smog) effects; precursor of acid rain which damages trees, lakes, and soil; aerosols can reduce visibility.

Acid rain also causes buildings, statues, and monuments to deteriorate.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Road transport, residential and industrial, burning of fuel. Reduces ability of blood to bring oxygen to body cells and tissues.
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Burning of coal and oil, especially high-sulfur coal; industrial processes (paper manufacturing, metal smelting). Respiratory illness, breathing problems, may cause permanent damage to lungs.

Precursor of acid rain, which can damage trees, lakes, and soil; aerosols can reduce visibility.

Acid rain also causes buildings, statues, and monuments to deteriorate.

Lead and other heavy metals Smelters and the combustion of coal or iron and steel combustion. Brain and nervous system damage, impacts on learning & memory (esp. children), digestive and other problems. Some lead-containing chemicals cause cancer in animals

Harmful to wildlife, accumulates in the food chain.

Particulate Matter (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1) In the UK the biggest human-made sources are stationary fuel combustion and transport. Short term exposures can worsen lung disease and cause respiratory problems. Long term can cause heart or lung disease and possibly premature death.

Source of haze which reduces visibility.

Ashes, smoke, soot, and dust can dirty and discolor structures and property, including clothes and furniture.

Ozone (O3) Arises from chemical reactions between various air pollutants, primarily NOX and VOCs, initiated by strong sunlight. Respiratory problems, reduced lung function, asthma, irritates eyes, stuffy nose, reduces resistance to colds and infections, premature aging of lung tissue. Damages crops, forests, and other vegetation; damages rubber, fabric, and other materials; smog reduces visibility.
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