Air pollution is defined as the change in the chemical, physical, and biological structure of the atmosphere in which it causes adverse effects on different species and living organisms. The penultimate result is the change of the natural ecosystem and/or environment.
Common thought explains that the leading cause of air pollution is the smoke emissions coming from the industrial establishments and vehicles. Albeit smoke and massive Carbon discharges from different sources are a couple of the primary reasons for our deteriorating atmosphere, these are just two of the many man-made sources of air pollution.
Sulfur Oxides (SOx)
SO2 is generally produced by volcanoes, but it’s also found in different industrial plants and factories. The most common sources are industrial establishments dealing with the burning of coal and petroleum as these often contain sulfur compounds. The combustion of these materials leads to the generation of sulfur dioxide. If this compound is further oxidized than its original state, then it can become one of the main components for acid rain.
This chemical compound is often odorless, colorless, and non-irritating. However, don’t be fooled as it’s a very poisonous gas. It’s a product from an incomplete combustion of certain types of fuel such as wood, coal, or natural gas. One of the major sources of carbon monoxide is the exhaust coming from vehicles.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Volatile Organic Compounds, or more commonly known as VOCs, are an essential air pollutant commonly found outdoors. These compounds are further divided into different categories of non-methane and methane, in which the latter is a vital component in contributing to the greenhouse effect that induces enhanced global warming. There are also other hydrocarbon VOCs that play a significant role in bringing greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, such as benzene, xylene, and toluene.
Air pollutants can come in the form of particulate matter or otherwise called as fine particles. These are substances that are either liquid or solid suspended in gas. Sources of particulate air pollution can either come from natural or man-made sources, and these include persistent free radicals, toxic metals (i.e. cadmium, copper, and lead), ammonia, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Inhaling these particulate matters from the environment can lead to health complications such as increased risks of cancer and stroke.
Note that these aren’t the only types of man-made sources of air pollution. However, upon reading this post, you now have a general idea about the damaging methods we’re doing to the environment and the atmosphere.