TYPES of AIR POLLUTION - Classification and examples

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The air quality of many cities on the planet has been harmed as a result of the emission of polluting gases. World capitals with exorbitant population and industrial growth are the main sources of air pollution. Among the main consequences of air or atmospheric pollution are the multiple respiratory disorders suffered by people who are most sensitive to exposure to polluting gases, as well as severe environmental problems derived from said air pollution.

Continue reading this article by Ecologist Verde if you want to know which are the main types of air pollution, as well as many of the effects and causes of air pollution.

Types of air pollution - summary

The concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere is directly related to the increase in the activity of certain human actions, such as industries, transportation, agriculture, the generation of waste and the emission of atmospheric pollutants from our own homes.

Either through energy consumption, making use of cars, or through the other emission sources mentioned above, the main air pollutants most frequently issued are:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Hydrocarbons (HC)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Ozone (O3)
  • Nitric oxide (NO)
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • Ammonia (NH3)
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • Lead (Pl)
  • Particulate matter

We recommend that you expand this information with these other articles on What are air pollutants and What is an air pollutant. Now that we know the main types of air pollutants, let us know in detail in the next sections each of the causes of air pollution most prominent.

Industries, the main causes of air pollution

According to data issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that around 600 million people are frequently exposed to concentrations of polluting gases from industries in Latin America. This fact can easily be extrapolated to other corners of the world, where people live with levels of polluting gases in the atmosphere much higher than those that could be considered harmless to our health and optimal development, as in China or India.

Industries related to the combustion of natural gases, as well as mining and other industrial processes for the extraction of natural resources, are guilty of emitting abundant and dangerous chemical products in the form of gases that pollute both the atmosphere of the most dangerous areas. close to the place where the industry is located, such as neighboring areas, due to the action of winds and rainfall.

Air pollution from transportation

More and more news, national and international, alert us to the high concentrations of polluting gases present in the atmosphere of urban centers, as a consequence of the excessive use of automobiles and other means of transport. The emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) exceed the maximum allowable concentrations (CMP) in many cities around the world, mainly in those that have capitalist development systems and not very sustainable.

Opting for the use of bicycles and public transport to move around the city in our day-to-day life must be accompanied by government measures linked to the supply of sustainable and quality public transport, which avoid the total emission of polluting gases into the atmosphere. .

You can learn more about this topic by entering this link to an article on vehicular pollution: what it is, types, causes and consequences.

Atmosphere polluted by agriculture and livestock

The agriculture and livestock sectors are one of the most important in the economic, environmental and cultural development of many parts of the world, they also lead to the emission of certain polluting gases. Mainly stand out methane and ammonia, as natural products of livestock gases and the natural nitrogen cycle of plants, respectively.

Methane is really harmful, as it is considered one of the greenhouse gases more harmful, worse even than carbon dioxide. For this reason, when various scientific studies and UN reports advise reducing the consumption of meat products, the reduction of methane emissions into the atmosphere is also included, since livestock farms should reduce their number of individuals. On the other hand, the pesticides and insecticides used in the intensive agriculture they lead to the drastic emission of nitric oxide, which also contributes to the deterioration of the ozone layer.

Types of air pollution: household pollutants

The domestic use of insecticides and air fresheners entails the release into the atmosphere of different polluting gases, among which the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Although they are emitted in smaller quantities than the other polluting gases that we have seen so far, they are also highly harmful, since once they are in the atmosphere, they come into contact with other reactive molecules, becoming gases that are very harmful, both for the people's health and the environment.

On the other hand, the use of air conditioning and heating, as well as fire extinguishers, chimneys and fluorescent tubes, are responsible for the direct or indirect elimination of refrigerant gases and carbon derivatives, which accumulate in a harmful way in the atmosphere.

However, the greater emission of polluting gases from our homes is due to the consumption of nonrenewable energy, which emit huge amounts of polluting gases into the atmosphere, as a result of burning fossil fuels. If you are interested in learning more about it, in this post you will learn about renewable and non-renewable energies with examples. And if you are thinking of improving your home and your negative footprint on the environment with the use of renewable energies, we suggest you learn about the current legislation with this other article on renewable energies in Spain.

Air pollution produced by our waste

When it comes to generating and managing our waste, we must be aware of environmental consequences involving. The existence of huge landfills in which the garbage that we generate accumulates is really harmful to the environment, due, among other reasons, to the polluting gases that are generated in them.

We must bear in mind that the life of our waste does not end once we deposit it in the appropriate container, but that it will later accumulate, making recovery impossible in many cases, thus leading to very negative effects, such as the combustion of organic matter. or the burning of certain materials, such as tires.

Expand this interesting information on the types of air pollution with this other complete article on Air Pollution: causes, consequences and solutions.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of air pollution, we recommend that you enter our Pollution category.

  • Celis, J. et al., (2007) Atmospheric air pollution by particulate matter in an intermediate city: the case of Chill├ín (Chile). Technology Information Magazine, Volume 18 (3), pp: 49-58.
  • Rojano, R. et al., (2016) Dispersion of air pollutants (PM10, NO2, CO, VOC and PAH), emitted from a modular natural gas compression, treatment and measurement station. Technology Information Magazine, Volume 27 (5).
  • Weitzenfeld, H. (1992) Air pollution and health in Latin America. Pan American Health Organization, Volume 112 (2), pp: 97-109.
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