There are several main types of pollution and well-known effects of it, which are commonly discussed. These include smog, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and „holes“ in the ozone layer. Each of these problems has serious implications for our health and well-being as well as for the whole environment. The moment you step out of the house and are on the road you can actually see the air getting polluted; a cloud of smoke from the exhaust of a bus, car, or a scooter; smoke billowing from a factory chimney, flyash generated by thermal power plants, and speeding cars causing dust to rise from the roads. Natural thing such as the eruption of a volcano and even someone smoking a cigarette can also cause air pollution is increasing because of four development and industrialization. The Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 19th century saw the beginning of air pollution, which has gradually become a global problem as we known it today. Pollution also needs to be considered inside our homes, offices, and schools. Some of these pollutants can be created by indoor activities such as smoking and cooking. We spend about 80 – 90% of our time inside buildings, and this our being indoors can be as harmful pollutants can be serious. It is therefore important to consider both indoor and outdoor air pollution. This topic will introduce you with smog, acid rain, the greenhouse effect and “holes” in the ozone layer.
One type of pollution is the release of noxious gases, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and chemical vapors. These can take part in further chemical reactions once they are in the atmosphere, forming smog and acid rain. Another type of air pollution is the release of particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. Diesel smoke is a good example of this particulate matter . The particles are very small pieces of matter measuring about 2.5 microns or about .0001 inches. This type of pollution is sometimes referred to as „black carbon“ pollution. The exhaust from burning fuels in automobiles, homes, and industries is a major source of pollution in the air. Some authorities believe that even the burning of wood and charcoal in fireplaces and barbeques can release significant quanitites of soot into the air.
Smog is a type of large-scale outdoor pollution. It is caused by chemical reactions between pollutants derived from different sources, primarily automobile exhaust and industrial emissions. Cities are often centers of these types of activities, and many suffer from the effects of smog, especially during the warm months of the year. For each city, the exact causes of pollution may be different. Depending on the geographical location, temperature, wind and weather factors, pollution is dispersed differently. However, sometimes this does not happen and the pollution can build up to dangerous levels. A temperature inversion occurs when air close to the earth is cooler than the air above it. Under these conditions the pollution cannot rise and be dispersed. Cities surrounded by mountains also experience trapping of pollution. Inversion can happen in any season. Winter inversions are likely to cause particulate and cabon monoxide pollution. Summer inversions are more likely to create smog. It is a combination of various gases with water vapour and dust. A large part of the gases that form smog is produced when fuels are burnt. Smog forms when heat and sunlight react with these gases and fine particles in the air. It can affect outlying suburbs and rural areas as well as big cities. Its occurrences are often linked to heavy
traffic, high temperatures, and calm winds. During the winter, wind speeds are low and cause the smoke and fog to stagnate; hence pollution levels can increase near ground level. This keeps the pollution close to the ground, right where people are breathing. It hampers visibility and harms the environment. Heavy smog is greatly decreases ultraviolet radiation. In fact, in the early part of the 20th century, heavy smog in some parts of Europe resulted in a decrease in the production of natural vitamin D leading to a rise in the cases of rickets. Smog causes a misty haze similar to fog, but very different in composition. In fact the word smog has been coined from a combination of the words fog and smoke. Smog refers to hazy air that causes difficult breathing conditions. The most harmful components of smog are ground-level ozone and fine airborne particles. Ground-level ozone forms when pollutants released from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles and oil-based solvents react with heat and sunlight. It is harmful to humans, animals, and plants. The industrial revolution in the 19th century saw the beginning of air pollution in Europe on a large scale and the presence of smog mainly in Britain. The industries and the households relied heavily on coal for heating and cooking. Due to the burning of coal for heat during the winter months, emissions of smoke and sulphur dioxide were much greater in urban areas than they were during the summer months. Smoke particles trapped in the fog gave it a yellow/black colour and this smog often settled over cities for many days.