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Causes of Air Pollution

The incorporation of unwanted impurities in the atmosphere which could alter the composition of the atmosphere is known as pollution. 
These unwanted impurities are called pollutants. The deterioration of environment; air, water and soil cause pollution in these bodies.
There are several chemical substances which contribute to air pollution. 
There are several chemicals which are harmful for the composition of air such as Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxides, and other organic compounds. 
These sources usually originates from natural and human sources. But out of these sources;only anthropogenic activities contribute to the air pollution problem. 

Some natural resources of air pollution are forest fires, eruption in volcano, erosion in wind, dispersal of pollen grain and evaporation of organic compounds. 
These natural factors do not contribute much in air pollution as there are several ecological cycles which can control the positive or negative effects of these resources. Therefore, anthropogenic effects are main issue for air pollution.

 We know that the atmosphere is a layer around our earth which can divide in to five layers. 
Out of these five layers; troposphere is the lowest layer which is close to earth surface and next layer is known as Stratosphere which contains high concentration of ozone gas. 

This ozone gas acts as protective layer for living bodies as ozone molecules have tendency to absorb the ultra-violet radiations which are very harmful for human beings.  
But due to the human activities a whole lot of air pollutants and especially CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) get released in the air which reacts with Ozone gas and destroys it gradually. 
The depletion of Ozone gas in stratosphere layer increases the effect of Ultra-Violet rays on Earth surface. 

The Troposphere layer is mainly effected due to the Oxides of Nitrogen, Sulphur and Carbon which are continually added into the atmosphere due to human activities such as excess use of automobiles, industrial smoke etc. 

The presence of oxides of sulphur and nitrogen in the atmosphere causes acid rain which mainly contains sulphuric acid and nitric acid with water. It is extremely harmful for living and non-living bodies. 

The deterioration of Taj Mahal is best example of effect of acid rain.  The main resource of oxides of sulphur is burning of fossil fuel which is added excess of sulphur in air in the form of SO2 gas. 

The Sulphur di-Oxide gas is harmful for animals and human beings as it can further react with atmospheric oxygen to form sulphur tri Oxide gas. 
The reaction of SO3 gas with water results the formation of poisonous sulphuric acid.  
We know that there is 79% of N2 in atmosphere which is not harmful for living or non-living system as it is a non-reactive molecule due to the presence of triple bond between two nitrogen atoms. 

Therefore N2 gas cannot react with any of the other compound under normal conditions. 
But in the presence of lighting and low pressure it reacts with O2 to for various oxides such as NO, NO2, N2O3 etc. which could further react to form several poisonous compounds like HNO3 (nitric acid).  

Another major source of Oxides of Nitrogen in automobile engines in which due to the presence of high temperature, nitrogen reacts with O2 to form oxides. 
These oxides of nitrogen and sulphur are quite harmful for human beings as they cause irritation in lungs and create breathing problems. 

They also reduce the rate of photosynthesis in plant and can cause an acute respiratory disease in human beings. 
The heavy industrialization and population explosion are major causes of air pollution as it increases the demands of automobiles and our everyday needs. 
Oxides of Carbon such as Carbon Monoxide, Carbon di-Oxide are mainly produced due to incomplete combustion of Carbon. 

Out of these two oxides; CO is more harmful as it has tendency to bind with haemoglobin in blood and block the availability of Hb for O2 binding.


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From Wikipedia


A pollutant is a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil, and is the cause of pollution.

Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, its concentration and its persistence. Some pollutants are biodegradable and therefore will not persist in the environment in the long term. However the degradation products of some pollutants are themselves polluting such as the products DDE and DDD produced from degradation of DDT

Types of pollutants

Stock pollutants

Pollutants that the environment has little or no absorptive capacity are called stock pollutants (e.g. persistent synthetic chemicals, non-biodegradable plastics, and heavy metals). Stock pollutants accumulate in the environment over time. The damage they cause increases as more pollutant is emitted, and persists as the pollutant accumulates. Stock pollutants can create a burden for future generations by passing on damage that persists well after the benefits received from incurring that damage have been forgotten.

Fund pollutants

Fund pollutants are those for which the environment has some absorptive capacity. Fund pollutants do not cause damage to the environment unless the emission rate exceeds the receiving environment's absorptive capacity (e.g. carbon dioxide, which is absorbed by plants and oceans). Fund pollutants are not destroyed, but rather converted into less harmful substances, or diluted/dispersed to non-harmful concentrations.

Notable pollutants

Notable pollutants include the following groups:

Zones of influence

Pollutants can also be defined by their zones of influence, both horizontally and vertically.

Horizontal zone

The horizontal zone refers to the area that is damaged by a pollutant. Local pollutants cause damage near the emission source. Regional pollutants cause damage further from the emission source.

Vertical zone

The vertical zone is referred to whether the damage is ground-level or atmospheric. Surface pollutants cause damage by concentrations of the pollutant accumulating near the Earth's surface Global pollutants cause damage by concentrations in the atmosphere



Pollutants can cross international borders and therefore international regulations are needed for their control. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which entered into force in 2004, is an international legally binding agreement for the control of persistent organic pollutants. Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) are systems to collect and disseminate information on environmental releases and transfers of toxic chemicals from industrial and other facilities.

European Union

The European Pollutant Emission Register is a type of PRTR providing access to information on the annual emissions of industrial facilities in the Member States of the European Union, as well as Norway.

United States

Clean Air Act standards. Under the Clean Air Act, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are standards developed for outdoor air quality. The National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants are emission standards that are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which are not covered by the NAAQS.

Clean Water Act standards. Under the Clean Water Act, EPA promulgated national standards for municipal sewage treatment plants, also called publicly owned treatment works, in the Secondary Treatment Regulation. National standards for industrial dischargers are calledEffluent guidelines(for existing sources) andNew Source Performance Standards, and currently cover over 50 industrial categories. In addition, the Act requires states to publish water quality standards for individual water bodies to provide additional protection where the national standards are insufficient.

RCRA standards. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the management, transport and disposal of municipal solid waste, hazardous waste and <

From Yahoo Answers

Question:pointwise and serially please . the first one to give a proper answer will get 10 points . in very brief words . 2 points for each

Answers:Air Pollution Effects: Bad health on people who breath bad air Deseases such as lung cancer Dust gathers pollutants from air and settles in lakes, soils, sediment, indoors and has bad effects too. Causes: Smoke stacks Refinery emmisions Burning Cars/Trucks Cow farts Tree pollen Check out the EPA TRI Explorer Water Pollution: Effects: Health affects of bad surface and groundwater water Aquatic life impacts in surface water Less groundwater avaialbe Causes: Polluted dust from air pollution (see above) Runoff from farms, urban areas, factories Point sourses like wastewater treatment plants, sewers. Dumping, spills. Leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) Land Pollution (aka soil contamination). Effects: Health affects from contact Dust from contaminated soils can spread pollution Land values go down Leaching of soils of chemical by water causes water pollution Causes: Spills Inproper industrial and construciton practices Dumping Dust settling on soils from contaminated air These are just a few, there are lots more effects and causes. travel to indoors be

Question:what are the different types of air pollution and how is it measured?

Answers:what causes air pollution is when a a power station uses coal to make electricity. when the coal is burned it releases Nox and Sox ( nitrus oxide, and sulphur oxide) into the atmosphere. This cause air pollution and acid rain. air pollution can be meased by a carbon menoxide measurer, or even by the amount of weathering on statues due to acid rain.

Question:What can you tell me? Are there any good websites about this? What about solutions to this? I have a project and can't really find anything. Thanks so much. Mickey

Answers:no, factories do not make pollution, you do. If you don't buy goods from a factory, then the factory would not be there. People want to dodge the blame, but all pollution is shared by all. SO, if you believe in sharing, then its your pollution.

Question:Can anyone tell me what are the: 1. Causes of air pollution 2. Effects of air pollution 3. Preventions of air pollution 4. Why should we prevent air pollution? Thanks for your answer :)

Answers:We had the option in the 1980's to fit filters onto chimneys on power stations but we didn't... From burning coal we get acid rain (destroying leaves on trees). Combusting petrol in car engines etc., (pollution) linked to serious respiratory diseases... Benzene particles in lead-free petrol are so fine they enter deep into lungs... Catalytic converters don't work... We need fresh rich oxygen to breathe. Without that, we feel tired / exausted / exhausted... Better hurry - I can feel we're fading fast...

From Youtube

What are the Causes of Air Pollution? :pollutioncontrol.free-health-care.info What are the Causes of Air Pollution? There are many different sources that can be sited as causing air pollution, and they all fall into two different categories. These two categories are natural sources and human sources. The first category, natural causes of air pollution, can not be controlled by us. wildfires These causes include things like smoke that comes from wildfires, which as you know we cant control. Wildfires are a necessary part of life and nature takes these measures to renew an area of land naturally. Another natural source would be volcanoes, which put sulfur and ash out into the air as perform their typical activities. You might not ever guess this one but, methane is another natural cause of air pollution that is produced when animals digest food. cattle An example of this type you might recognize is cattle. One other, not so well known natural pollutant is dust that comes from large barren areas of land. This dust blows around polluting the air around it and anywhere the wind may take it. These causes of air pollution are all real, even though they are not as bad for your health and the environment as the ones caused by our daily activities as humans. Now that you know natural sources of air pollution are not as harmful to us, we can explore human related pollution. from human activity The second source of air pollution, which comes from human activity, is usually caused by burning different types of fuel we need ...

Air Pollution Causes Asthma :