Air pollution

Air pollution

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, students will be able to

• Explain Air Pollution

• Describe the source of Air pollution

• Discuss the effect of Air pollution

• Discuss control of Air pollution


• Air Pollution

• Source of Air pollution

• Effect of Air pollution

• Air pollution Management and Control

Pollution – Definition

• Any undesirable change in physical, chemical or biological characteristics of air, land, water

• Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms

• Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat, or light

• Air pollution may be defined as any atmospheric condition in which certain substances are present in such concentrations that they can produce undesirable effects on man and his environment

• Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems in societies at all level of economic development

• The result can be lung disease, eye problems, and increased risk of cancer

Unit of measurement

• Concentrations of air pollutants are commonly expressed as the mass of pollutant per Unit volume of air mixture, as mg/m3, μg/m3, ng /m3

Types of pollutants

• CONVENTIONAL: Sulfur Dioxide, Nitric oxide (NO), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Hydrocarbons, Lead Etc

• NON-CONVENTIONAL: Asbestosis (lung scaring), Mesothelioma (cancer of the lung and the abdominal lining), Mercury (Lung cancer), Beryllium, Copper, Super phosphate, Glass and enamel factories, Aluminum plants, Hydrogen, Lameness.

Air Pollution    



A  cloud  of  smoke  from the exhaust of a vehicle

Increasing traffic

Smoke  from  a  factory chimney


Eruption of a volcano 

Rapid  economic development

Cigarette smoke 

Growing cities

Burning leaves 

Apathetic people


Effects of Air Pollution

• Health problems

• Damage to the environment

• Damage to property

• Thinning of the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere which is leading to climate changes

Air Pollutants and its impact on human health

Particulate Matter

• Dust and smoke particles cause irritation of the respiratory tract and produce bronchitis, asthma and lung diseases.

• Dust and smoke function as nuclei for condensation of water vapors and produce smog which attract chemicals like SO2, H2S, NO2,etc.

• Smog not only reduce visibility but is also harmful due to its contained chemicals.

Carbon Monoxide

• It is formed by incomplete combustion of carbon fuels in various industries, motor vehicles, etc

• It causes impairment of judgment and vision, headache and dizziness

Sulphur Dioxide

• It is produced in large quantity during smelting of metallic ores.

• It causes tracheal irritation, cough, bronchial spasms.


• It is present in volcanic eruptions and emitted in processes involving use of chlorinated chemicals

• It causes eye and respiratory ailments

• Chlorine rising up in the atmosphere poses danger to ozone layer


• Smog is the combination of smoke and fog. It is a man-made air pollutant in urban areas.

• The term smog was coined by H.A.Des Voeux

• Industrial Smog –“London” Smog

“London” smog:  fog soot particles Sulfur Dioxidetar. This forms a highly acidic mist.

• Some incidents of deaths associated with sulfurous smog:

1930- Meuse Valley, Belgium- 63

1948- Donora, Pennsylvania -20

1952 -London (5 days)- 4000

1962 -London -700

These deaths lead to a reduction in coal consumption and an increase in alternative fuels, such as gasoline...

Air Pollution Solutions

• Encourage your family to walk more

• Take the school bus

• Reduce the amount of spray bottles

• Do not burn leaves in your yard- put them in a compost

• Keep your family cars in tune

• Put catalytic converters on cars

• Share your room with others when the air conditioner is on

• Take care of your trees


• Any undesirable change in physical, chemical or biological characteristics of air, land, water is pollution

• Smog is the combination of smoke and fog

• A disease of the lungs characterized by fibrosis and caused by the chronic inhalation of mineral dusts, especially silica and asbestos is Pneumoconiosis

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