Factories like this are a major source of air pollution.
Click on image for full size
Air Pollution Sources
Air pollution comes from many different sources. Natural processes that affect air quality include volcanoes, which produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash particulates. Wildfires produce smoke and carbon monoxide. Cattle and other animals emit methane as part of their digestive process. Even pine trees emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Many forms of air pollution are human-made. Industrial plants, power plants and vehicles with internal combustion engines produce nitrogen oxides, VOCs, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates. In most megacities, such as Mexico City and Los Angeles, cars are the main source of these pollutants. Stoves, incinerators, and farmers burning their crop waste produce carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, as well as particulates. Other human-made sources include aerosol sprays and leaky refrigerators, as well as fumes from paint, varnish, and other solvents.
One important thing to remember about air pollution is that it doesn’t say in one place. Winds and weather play an important part in transport of pollution locally, regionally, and even around the world, where it affects everything it comes in contact with.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
Mexico City, where the field campaign MILAGRO takes place, is a "megacity." A megacity is defined as having 10 million or more inhabitants. The 21st century is definitely shaping up to be the Urban Century....more
The air is shared among all living things. When it is polluted by a factory in Asia, a fire in Australia, a dust storm in Africa, or car emissions in North America, the sharing continues despite the fact...more
What do smog, acid rain, carbon monoxide, fossil fuel exhausts, and tropospheric ozone have in common? They are all examples of air pollution. Air pollution is not new. As far back as the 13 th century,...more
Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are organic chemicals that form a gas at room temperature. They are called organic because they contain the element carbon.. There are many types of VOCs. Hydrocarbons...more
Acid rain is a general term used to describe different kinds of acidic air pollution. Although some acidic air pollutants return directly back to Earth, a lot of it returns in rain, snow, sleet, hail,...more
Carbon monoxide is kind of gas. It is poisonous. A molecule of carbon monoxide (CO) has one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. Earth's atmosphere has a small amount of carbon monoxide in it. The carbon monoxide...more
When you think of chemistry, do you think about mixing colored liquids in test tubes and maybe making an explosion... or at least a nice puff of smoke? Did you know that a lot of chemistry happens in Earth's...more