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15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Christopher McFadden

Air pollution poses a serious risk worldwide. Towns and cities are choked with smog and dangerous emissions, which are damaging both the environment and the health of global populations.

However, we're gradually developing ways to help solve this problem . With cutting-edge technologies, government initiatives, and innovative projects, we could someday put an end to air pollution once and for all. Here are some of the projects that might make a difference.

What are the main causes of air pollution and why is it a problem?

In short, the main causes of air pollution are the expulsion of very small solid and liquid particles into the atmosphere, solids such as soot, dust, and gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. These can cause harm to people if they are inhaled, and can also damage the environment.

Air pollution can stem from several sources; such as domestic consumption of wood and coal, vehicle exhausts, industrial outgassing, and natural sources such as dust and wildfires. When particles coming from these sources become suspended in the air, they are technically referred to as aerosols. 

These air contaminants are particularly bad for the environment, as well as  human health . Health effects of air pollution include symptoms like:

air pollution health impacts

Air pollution also has some potentially very serious effects on the environment too. Some common environmental impacts include: 

For this reason, it is in everyone's, and every nation's interest to keep track of pollutants and work to minimize their release as much as possible. The more potent aerosols are released into the atmosphere whenever fossil fuels are burned. But they also come from natural sources like volcanoes and forest fires. 


Aerosols can either enter the atmosphere directly or can form in the air through chemical reactions . Another seriously damaging air pollutant is ozone — the very compound that constitutes the protective barrier around the Earth to stave off the worst effects of solar radiation. But when ozone reaches lower altitudes, it can be incredibly damaging to the environment and to people's health. 

air pollution city

According to NASA , "Ground-level ozone is created when sunlight reacts with certain chemicals that come from sources of burning fossil fuels, such as factories or car exhaust. When particles in the air combine with ozone, they create smog.   Smog is a type of air pollution that looks like smoky fog and makes it difficult to see."

Air pollution can also have a very serious impact on the Earth's climate too. Aerosols, like those formerly mentioned, can directly impact how the Sun's light hits the Earth's surface.  Some aerosols , such as certain sulfates and nitrates, can reflect sunlight back into space while others, like black carbon, can absorb it. How these particles interact with sunlight depends entirely on their physical properties like color and composition. 

Generally speaking, according to NASA , "B right-colored or translucent particles tend to reflect radiation in all directions and back towards space. Darker aerosols can absorb significant amounts of light".

This particular feature of air pollution can have serious effects on the Earth's climate. For example, after the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, more than 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), as well as fine ash particulate, were ejected into the Earth's atmosphere.

air pollution mount pinatubo

SO 2 reacts with other substances in the atmosphere to form fine particulate sulfate aerosols. These small particles tend to form high above the cloud level, around 37 miles (60 km)  above, and can remain there for a very long time as they don't get washed from the sky through precipitation. As a result, average global temperatures dropped by 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) for roughly two whole years. Interesting indeed, but is there anything that we can do to eliminate, or at least mitigate the problems associated with air pollution? Let's take a look at some interesting proposals. 

What are some of the most interesting air pollution solutions?

And so, without further ado, here are some interesting solutions to air pollution . This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order. 

1. Friends of the Earth: Letting citizens test their own air quality

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

One of the best tools in the fight against air pollution is education . By educating people on the importance of clean air, what they can do to lower their own emissions, and how to be aware of the air quality in their area, the problem of pollution can be better addressed.

Friends of the Earth is an environmental charity in the UK which has started supplying citizens with testing kits so they can learn more about the quality of the air in their local areas. The kits include a monitoring tube and an easy-to-follow guide, so that concerned citizens can get accurate answers about the air they're breathing.

2. The Nanjing vertical forest: Growing an urban forest to clean the air

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Due to the heavily industrialized areas all across China, they've been suffering from some of the highest levels of air pollution worldwide. Thankfully, these past few years China proposed and implemented numerous pollution-busting initiatives in an effort to make their air healthy again.

One such project is the Nanjing Vertical Forest in the Jiangsu province. It's been estimated that the forest will be able to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide , and release enough oxygen to make the air 3,000 times healthier than its current state. The design features 3,000 different species of plants and was completed in 2018.

3. AIR-INK: Printing w ith inks made from polluted air

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Some of the most interesting projects seeking to combat air pollution are also looking to utilize the pollutants drawn from the air in creative ways. One such project is AIR-INK  - an ink made from carbon emissions.

The product is made by Graviky Labs and was funded via Kickstarter. People simply have to connect the KAALINK device to their car exhaust pipe, and within 45 minutes of driving, they'll have 1 fluid ounce (30 ml) of ink . The captured pollutants are then purified in a lab and manufactured into usable ink.

4.  The smog-free tower: Transforming smog into jewelry

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Ink is one thing, but what if you could turn pollution into glittering gems? Sounds too good to be true? Then take a look at the Smog-Free Tower , a vacuum that sucks in smog and condenses the particles into gemstones.

It's the brainchild of Dutch artist, Dan Roosegaarde. The Smog-Free Tower uses relatively little energy, sending positive ions into the air which connect themselves to dust particles.

A negative ion in the vacuum then draws the positive ions back inside, bringing the particles with them.  The fine carbon particles that the tower collects can be condensed to create tiny "gemstones" that can be embedded in jewelry like rings and cufflinks. Each of the tiny stones is the equivalent of 265,000 gallons (1,000 cubic meters) of purified air.

The tower made its debut in Rotterdam in 2015, it is now being used in other cities around the world.

5. Free transport: Encouraging citizens to ditch their cars

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

By now it's pretty much common knowledge that our cars are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to polluting the air. That's why Germany is considering making public transport free  to encourage citizens to cut down on their carbon footprint by leaving their cars at home.

While a great initiative, it must be noted that such a project is not actually "free", per se . They will be paid for indirectly through taxation . 

The announcement was made in February of 2018, and trials look set to take place throughout the country before the year is out. It's a controversial suggestion and one that hasn't convinced everyone. If they can pull it off, however, it could make a massive impact on the quality of air in Germany. A 2019 survey revealed that 2/3rds of the public seem to be in favor of this .

6. The world's largest air purifier: Cleaning the air with a skyscraper

air pollution china air purifier

In January 2018, work began on the world's largest air purifier in Xian, China .

The massive structure measures 328 feet (100 meters) and can improve the air quality within an almos t 4-mile radius (10 square kilometers) .

The tower is just one of the many Chinese efforts to combat air pollution. The future will determine how effective the tower is, and it won't be surprising to see similar towers erected across the country if the results are positive.

7. Pollution vacuum cleaners: Sucking up the air's contaminants

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

What if we could place giant vacuum cleaners on top of buildings, which could clean the surrounding air? This is the question that spurred the Envinity Group , a Dutch collective of inventors, into action. In 2016, they debuted an enormous, industrial vacuum designed to remove airborne contaminants.

The vacuum removes fine and ultra-fine particles, which have been identified to be carcinogens by the World Health Organization. The inventors claim that the vacuum can eliminate 100% of fine particles and 95% of ultra-fine particles within a 984-foot radius (300 meters).

8. Fuel bans: Taking fossil fuels off the roads for good

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Removing contaminants from the air is great as a short-term solution, but it doesn't address the long-term effects of carbon emissions. One way that many countries are looking to create a greener, cleaner future is through the banning of cars that use petrol and diesel.

The United Kingdom  is among the countries legislating to make the change. The country plans to effectively ban all new petrol and diesel vehicles from the road by 2035. With the rapidly growing interest in electric vehicles worldwide, initiatives like these have a high chance of succeeding. 

9. CityTree: Purifying urban areas the natural way

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Urban areas are the worst-hit when it comes to air pollution. The lack of green areas and trees in cities means that there's little opportunity for carbon dioxide to be absorbed, leaving the air quality poor. That's why the German start-up, Green City Solutions, created the CityTree .

The CityTree is a vertical unit, sort of like a billboard, that incorporates moss and lichen. Thanks to these hard-working plants, each unit can absorb as much as 240 tons of carbon dioxide a year. This means they can perform the task of 275 trees while demanding a fraction of the space and cost.

10. All electric: Setting the stage for zero-emissions vehicles

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

When many countries across the world finally succeed in banning combustion engine vehicles from their roads, they'll need a lot of electric vehicles to take their place. India, to name just one country, has announced that as of 2030 they will only be selling electric vehicles.

This would be a huge game-changer for India, whose population currently suffers 1.2 million air pollution-related deaths a year. The change could also save the country $60 billion in energy costs. The brave move is one that many other countries are sure to follow.

11. Fuel from pollutants: Creating hydrogen fuel from air pollution

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Today's pollution could very well become tomorrow's fuel. That's thanks to research from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven . In May of 2017, scientists struck upon a startling new method that allowed them to purify the air and create hydrogen fuel from the extracted pollutants at the same time.

The researchers created a device containing a thin membrane. On one side of the membrane, the air was purified. On the other side, hydrogen gas resulting from the degradation of the contaminants was collected. The gas could then be used as fuel. The device was powered by solar energy, making it entirely clean.

12. Pollution sensors: Providing data on air quality everywhere

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

One issue that has stalled the fight against air pollution is a lack of comprehensive data. While urban areas are well-tested for their quality of air, suburban and rural areas have fewer resources when it comes to measuring air quality.

In India , government initiatives are working to install pollution sensors across all areas of the country in a bid to detect and manage air pollution better. A new, cutting-edge series of sensors are were certified in 2019 and have already gone on to provide valuable data in the fight against air pollution in India.

13. Smart streetlights and sensors: Working in tandem to clean the air

air pollution prague

India isn't the only place looking to install state-of-the-art sensors. The Czechia announced that they would be installing carbon dioxide monitors inside the streets' smart lights in its capital city  Prague .

The sensors can provide real-time information on the worst affected areas when it comes to air pollution, allowing for more effective strategies in combating pollution and letting residents know which areas of the city are of the greatest risk to their health.

14. Anti-smog guns: Shooting pollution down from the air

air pollution solutions anti-smog gun

The idea of an anti-smog gun might sound ridiculous, but it could be an effective method of clearing smog-afflicted areas during times of high pollution. The government of Delhi, India tested the guns in 2017, and has since brought them on line to help bring down the dangerous levels of smog in Anand Vihar.

The guns work by spraying water vapor into the air, which absorbs the pollutants before falling to the ground like rain. While it doesn't remove the pollutants entirely, it's an effective short-term solution for smog-heavy days  where breathing the air could present a serious health risk to residents.

15. Project air view: Tracking pollution in your area

15+ Projects That Could End Air Pollution Around the World

Apparently, Google Earth is useful not only for creating accurate maps of the world but also for giving us insight into the quality of air. In a project launched by Google in 2015, Google Street View cars traveled around West Oakland taking air samples. 

Through this, they were able to put together comprehensive data about the quality of air in the city, and how it fluctuated over time. Thanks to this research, they could potentially use the system to allow users to examine the average air quality in their area, and other areas around the world in the future.

Access to such information would allow for more effective targeting of anti-pollution initiatives and would give people a heads-up on the more dangerous areas in the vicinity in terms of poor air quality.

16. Check out the Mandragore Carbon Sink Tower

carbon capture buildings mandragore

Designed by the architecture firm Rescubika , this amazing concept project envisions a "green" residential tower on New York's Roosevelt Island. Called Mandragore , the building really pushes the envelope on the current limits of sustainability practices. 

Its design is based on the mandrake plant, and it will be packed with a lot of innovative energy-saving, and carbon capture technologies and strategies. 

It would make use of the best passive heating and cooling techniques on offer to condition the interior space and would incorporate as many natural materials as possible, as well as a literal forest of plants and trees.

In its current design, the scheme would have   1,600 trees and almost 300,000 square feet of living plant walls across its 160 levels.

And that's all for now folks. Will any of these solutions ring the death knell on human-created air pollution or not? Many of them are very promising. The future will show if they will make a significant dent in the problem of air pollution.

More innovation like this is always welcome to tackle the problem. 

air pollution project in odia

Dalibor Farny, who claims to the be the only person in the world making Nixie tubes, talks about his mammoth-sized project that has consumed his life. Farny's work includes making calibrated displays for NASA and Nixie tube clocks for exhibitions.

128 invaluable Google Sheets functions and formulas for engineers

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Project report on air pollution.

air pollution project in odia

An exclusive project report on Air Pollution. This project report will help you to learn about: 1. Meaning of Air Pollution 2. Sources of Air Pollution 3. Causes 4. Major Air Pollutants that Affects Environment 5. Prevention 6. Objectives of Air Pollution Control Devices 7. Case Studies.

Project Report # 1. Meaning of Air Pollution:


The main components of the atmosphere are — oxygen (O 2 ) to breath, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) for photosynthesis, nitrogen (N 2 ) for forming products as ferti­lizers for plants and making the air inert and ozone (O 3 )-layer against sun rays. Any imbalance in quality of air so as to cause adverse effects on the living organisms is called air pollution.

Air pollution may also be defined as the presence of contaminants which are injurious to human beings, plants and animals (aquatic or terrestrial).

The natural air contains trace amounts (about 1 ppm) of gases like methane (CH 4 ), ammonia (NH 3 ), sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ), hydrogen sulphide (H 2 S), carbon mono-oxide (CO), hydrogen (H 2 ), argon (< 1 ppm) and variable amounts of dust particles.

The composition of pure and respiratory air is given in Tables 1 and 2:

So it is clear from the tables that chemical substances occur around us. They are fundamental parts of air, earth and oceans. The author is of the view that under very specific conditions, the combination of these chemical substances gave birth to creatures (male and female). The first to take birth was perhaps female ant, followed by birds and animals. Later on special species of animals changed into men and women.

Air pollution is a release into the atmosphere of any substances, e.g., chemicals or airborne particles, which are harmful both to the human and animal health as well as the health of the wider environment.

Atmospheric pollution occurs because the release of air pollutants takes place at a rate much faster than they can be accommodated by the environment or removed from the atmosphere without causing serious harm.

Every day, the average person inhales about 20,000 liters of air. Every time we breath in , we risk inhaling dangerous chemicals that have found their way into the air.

Air pollution includes all contaminants found in the atmosphere. These dangerous substances can be either in the form of gases or particles.

Air pollution can be found both outdoors and indoors. Pollutants can be trapped inside buildings, causing indoor pollution that lasts long.

Project Report # 2. Sources of Air Pollution:

The sources of air pollution are both natural and human based. As one might expect, human beings have been producing increasing amounts of pollutants as time has progressed, and they now account for the majority of pollutants released into the air.

Pollution had been known to exist centuries beach, but it became an issue of serious concern only in the last 200 years mostly due to the industrial revolution.

Atmospheric pollution originates from all the parts of the world and travels all around. It knows no borders. The effects of air pollution are diverse and numerous. Air pollution can have serious consequences for the health of human beings, and also severely affects natural ecosystems. This trans-boundary nature of air pollution makes it even more dangerous and difficult to control.

Some areas now suffer more than others from air pollution. Cities with large number of automobiles or those that use great quantities of coal often suffer more severely from problems of air pollution.

The Arctic Haze is perhaps one of the best examples of that. It is a visible reddish brown haze, which appears above the Arctic during winter months. The Arctic Haze is caused by air pollution from coal-burning which arrives mainly from Asia.

Project Report # 3. Causes of Air Pollution:

Natural causes of air pollution:.

Natural causes of pollution may include forest fires and volcanic eruptions as well as vegetation, oceans and decay processes in soil.

Fossil fuels (oil, gas & coal) are the largest anthropogenic sources of air pollution-they are widely used in industry and everyday life. But they are not the only ones.

The biggest source of using fossil fuels is running of power plants and automobiles that combust fuel. These two sources are responsible for about 90% of all air pollution.

Some cities suffer severally because of heavy industrial use of chemicals that cause air pollution. Places like Mexico City and Sao Paulo have some of the most deadly pollution levels in the world.

(i) Forest Fires :

A fire that occurs in a highly infested area through natural causes is known as a bush fire, and this is a very potent natural source of air pollution. There are several different causes that lead to forest fires, and the fact is that they are caused naturally without any human intervention.

These fires spread very rapidly, and release pollutants like smoke and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Though carbon monoxide is present in living bodies in small amounts, it can be toxic in nature when sniffed in larger amounts. Forest fires also lead to unpredictable weather changes and cyclones, and all this leads to a severe loss of life in the long run.

(ii) Volcanic Eruptions :

A volcano is an open fissure on the surface of the earth through which lava and volcanic ash escapes on a regular basis. There are several active volcanoes that are found around the planet today, and along with the air pollution that they cause, they also lead to a serious danger to life forms.

Carbon dioxide and sulpur dioxide are the primary gases that are released during volcanic eruptions, and these lead to dire consequences to the earth’s atmosphere and to all the life forms that reside there. Other gases like hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, carbon monoxide, halocarbons and some metal chlorides are also released into the atmosphere in smaller traces.

The materials released also lead to acid rain in many parts, and the volcanic ash that follows disrupts air travel and many other activities. The recent eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull over Iceland in 2010 also led to several restrictions in air travel over Europe.

(iii) Wind Erosion :

Though dust particles and dirt do not cause toxic effects on the human body, they are capable of inducing many respiratory diseases in human beings. These dust particles move around in the atmosphere due to strong winds, especially in geographical areas where wind erosion is a common occurrence.

This factor is not a very major contributor towards air pollution, but it does play a small role and is one of the most underestimated types of air pollution.

(iv) Methane Expulsion :

Farm animals like cattle release methane into the atmosphere during the end stages of their digestive cycles. Methane gas affects the ozone layer in the atmosphere since it is a very potent greenhouse gas, and it is also highly inflammable when it combines with other elements in the air.

Moreover, it can lead to severe asphyxiation if someone is trapped in a closed room with the presence of methane gas in the air. This is a factor that building construction sites also take into account, since the presence of methane in the airways of the buildings can lead to dire consequence.

(v) Radon Expulsion:

Nuclear elements like uranium are found inside the earth surface, and when these elements decompose they release a noble gas known as Radon into the atmosphere. This gas is highly radioactive in nature, and it can cause some serious health damage to people who breathe the air that contain it.

Interestingly, after smoking, Radon intake is the second largest contributing factor to lung cancer in human beings, so all possible measures to prevent the spread of Radon must be taken.

Other factors like the dispersal of large amount of pollen from flowers and the emission of VOCs (Voltage Organic Compounds) which get oxidized and transformed into aerosols from plants and trees also lead to air pollution which is not caused by man-made sources. There are plenty of natural causes of air pollution that are out of our control as well.

Anthropogenic Sources of Air Pollution :

During the last couple of centuries we have witnessed an emergence of several fundamental trends that became the major forces behind the dramatic levels of air pollution worldwide.

Industries are the main cause of anthropogenic air pollution.

The global industrial development gave rise to a large number of economic sectors, each generating air pollution to some degree.

So these economic sectors act as pollution causes in their own way.

Some major sources and types of major air pollutants produced by each of them are shown in Table 3:

Air pollutants are basically the waste products generated by the above mentioned economic sectors.

They come in the form of gases and finely divided solid and liquid particles suspended in the air (aerosols).

Air pollutants can also be of primary or secondary nature. Primary pollutants are the ones that are emitted directly into the atmosphere by the sources (e.g., power plants). Secondary pollutants are the ones that are formed as a result of reactions between primary pollutants and other elements in the atmosphere.

Air pollutants are direct pollution cause, in other words they are the actual polluting agents, which directly affect the health of living beings as well as the wider environment.

Project Report # 4. Major Air Pollutants that Affects Environment:

Some of the major air pollutants that pollutes the environment are:

i. Sulphur Dioxide (SO 2 ):

Sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) is a colourless gas with a pungent, suffocating odour. SO 2 is corrosive to organic materials and it irritates the eyes, nose and lungs; therefore it is quite dangerous air pollutants.

Sulphur is contained within all fossil fuels, and is released in the form of sulphur dioxide during fossil fuel combustion. Fossil fuel combustion accounts for almost all anthropogenic sulphur emissions.

Effects of Sulphur Dioxide Emission:

Sulfur dioxide found in the air produces following effects:

I. Irritates eyes, nose, throat

II. Damages lungs when inhaled

III. As part of acid rain:

i. Acidifies lakes and streams

ii. Destroys plant and fish life in lakes and streams

iii. May deplete mineral nutrients in the soil

v. May cause reduction of forests and agricultural yields

v. Corrodes metals and

vi. Damages surfaces of buildings.

ii. Oxides of Nitrogen, NO i :

Nitrogen oxides (NO x ) are produced by combustion of all fossil fuels including coal-and gas-fired power stations and motor vehicles.

There are two main nitrogen oxides nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 )

NO is a colorless gas while NO 2 is a reddish-brown colour gas with a distinct sharp, biting odour.

Fossil fuel combustion produces both NO 2 and NO.

But almost 90% of the total NO x combustion products are released in the form of NO, which is then converted to NO 2 in the air.

Effects of Nitrogen Dioxide:

Depending on its different concentrations in the air, effects of nitrogen dioxide on human health include:

i. Increased incidence of respiratory illness

ii. Increased airway resistance (due to inflammation)

iii. Damage of lung tissues

iv. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD (narrowing of the airways)

v. Emphysema (as part of COPD)

vi. Pulmonary edema (accumulation of excessive fluid in the lungs) and

vii. Infant and cardiovascular death.

Exposure to high concentration of nitrogen dioxide can make living organisms more susceptible to bacterial infections and lung cancer.

Nitrogen dioxide affects people with existing medical conditions more severally than healthy people. Children are affected more easily than adults.

It is also a major component of the photochemical smog, which brings its own negative effects.

iii. Carbon Monoxide (CO) :

Fossil fuel combustion normally produces carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) but sometimes, when such combustion is incomplete it also becomes a source of carbon monoxide.

Effects of Carbon Monoxide :

i. Toxicity of the central nervous system and heart

ii. Headache, dizziness, nausea and unconsciousness

iii. Loss of vision

iv. Decreased muscular coordination

v. Abdominal pain

vi. Severe effects on the baby of a pregnant woman

vii. Impaired performance on simple psychological tests and arithmetical loss of judgment of time and

viii. In cases of prolonged exposure to high CO concentration, unconsciousness, convulsions and death may occur.

Carbon monoxide is the most common type of fatal poisoning in many countries around the world.

iv. Ammonia (NH 3 ):

Ammonia is a hazardous gas with pungent odour.

Agriculture, specifically livestock farming & animal waste, is the main source of ammonia emissions.

Effect of Ammonia:

i. Nose and throat irritation and burns (their severity increasing with the increased ammonia concentration)

ii. Swelling of the throat and airways; airways destruction

iii. Pulmonary edema

iv. Chronic lung disease

vii. Lung fibrosis

viii. Inhaling large amounts of ammonia may be fatal

ix. Skin burns

x. Skin conditions, ex. Dermatitis

xi. Burning sensation in the eyes

xii. Ulceration & perforation of the cornea (can occur months after exposure); blindness and

xiii Cataracts & glaucoma

v. Ozone (O 3 ):

Ozone (O 3 ) is a colourless, poisonous gas with a sharp, cold, irritating odour.

It can be found in:

i. The stratosphere (lowest layer of the atmosphere) where it occurs naturally and

ii. The troposphere (lowest of the atmosphere) where it occurs both naturally and as a product of anthropogenic emissions.

Effects of Ozone :

Ozone in the troposphere can have the following negative effects on animals (including human) and the natural environment:

i. Irritation of the respiratory system causing coughing, throat irritation and an uncomfortable sensation in the chest.

ii. Susceptibility of respiratory infections

iii. Compromised lung function harming the breathing process which may become more rapid and more shallow than normal

iv. Inflammation and damage to the lining of the lungs

v. Aggravation of asthma

vi. Reduction in agricultural yield

vii. Interference with photosynthesis and suppression of growth of some plant species.

viii. Burning nose and watering eyes

ix. Tightening of the chest

x. Coughing, wheezing and throat irritation and

xi. Rapid, shallow, painful breathing

vi. Other Air Pollutants:

Other air pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCS), persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and air-bone particles.

VOCs are organic compound which easily evaporate and enter the atmosphere. They may affect human and animal health directly, or indirectly as contributors to the formation of tropospheric ozone.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are defined as organic compounds, which easily evaporate and enter the atmosphere.

VOCs may include a wide range of organic air pollutants from pure hydrocarbons to partially oxidized hydrocarbons to orangic compound containing chlorine, sulphur, or nitrogen.

Historically, the definition of VOCs did not include methane compounds (non – methane VOCs:NMVOCs) since the atmospheric concentration of methane was considered to be a stable natural background. But it was ultimately recognized that methane is also an anthropogenic air pollutant that comes from intensive animal and rice production.

Though some of these compounds can have direct toxic effects, they have been grouped together because of their role in Ozone formation.

Air Pollutants: Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) :

Persistant organic pollutants are compounds which are resistant to degradation and are persistent in the environment, with half-life of years in the soil or sediment and days in the atmosphere.

Such compounds may include diexins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organ chlorine pesticides such as DDT.

They enter the food chain via the process of bio-magnification, get accumulated in human and animal tissues, and are capable of long-range transport being attached to airborne particles.

Sources of Persistent Organic Pollutants :

Some POPs are used as pesticides.

Others are used in industrial processes as well as in the production of goods such as solvents, polyvinyl chloride and medicines.

Effects Persistant organic pollutants takes place through diet (specifically, consumption of animal fat) environmental exposure or accidents.

POPs may lead to:

i. Death and illness including disruption of endocrine, reproductive and immune systems

ii. Neurobehavioral disorder and

iii. Cancers

Please note that when POPs are present in the atmosphere in the form of aerosols, they may be classified as airborne particle (see below) rather than gaseous pollutants.

Airborne Particles as Air Pollutants :

Airborne particles are very small fragments of solid or liquid nature suspended in the air. Human and animal health may be affected by particles through inhalation. Airborne particles present one more type of air pollutants.

They are tiny fragments of solid or liquid nature suspended in the air (aerosols).

Particles may be primary-when emitted directly into the atmosphere by sources, or secondary-when particles and

Solid particles between 1 and 100 pm (micrometer) in diameter are called dust particles, while solid particles less than 1 pm in diameter are called fumes, or smoke.

Anthropogenic Sources of Airborne Particles:

Anthropogenic particles account for around 10% of the total amount of particles in the atmosphere.

Fossil fuel combustion is one of the main processes which cause vast amounts of particles to be emitted into the atmosphere.

The major anthropogenic sources of airborne particles are :

i. Road transport.

ii. Power generating plants.

Natural Sources of Airborne Particles:

i. Erosion of soil by wind which generates dust particles that travel around the globe

ii. Evaporation of droplets of sea water resulting in sea salt crystals being suspended in the air

iii. Volcanoes

iv. Forest fires

v. Living vegetation

vi. Stuffy noses, sinusitis

vii. Sore throats

viii. Wet cough, dry cough, phlegm

ix. Head colds

x. Burning eyes

xi. Wheezing; shortness of breath and

xii. Chest discomfort or pain

Project Report # 5. Prevention of Air Pollution:

Air pollution is a phenomenon wherein the release of harmful chemicals in the atmosphere results in contamination of air, and makes it unsuitable for various life forms on the planet. It is considered to be one of the most serious environmental issues in the world.

If air pollution statistics compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) are to be believed, more than 3 million people in the world die due to health problems related to environmental air pollution every year. That’s not at all surprising, considering that the harmful effects of air pollution range from various health disorders in human beings to the destruction of the ozone layer of the atmosphere.

Air pollution is caused when various chemical substances are released into the Earth’s atmosphere, as a result of some natural occurrences or some human activities. Natural causes of air pollution include volcanic eruptions, release of methane gas, wildfires etc.; while the anthropogenic causes of the same include use of automobiles, power plants, use of solvents, waste deposits, use of nuclear weapons and a lot more.

The list of chemical substances which have the tendency to contaminate the air include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, ammonia, etc.

The high concentration of these substances in the atmosphere makes human and animal life more vulnerable to their hazardous effects. In fact, the effects of air pollution are much more intense than we can possibly imagine.

For instance, studies reveal that as many as 500,000 people die from cardiopulmonary disease, which is caused as a result of inhaling fine particles in the atmosphere, in the United States alone every year. Natural hazards such as global warming and acid rain are also associated with air pollution to a significant extent.

Due to these disastrous effects it becomes necessary to control air pollution. To accomplish this, governments, scientists and environmentalists are using or testing a variety of methods aimed at reducing pollution.

There are two main types of pollution control:

Air pollution is caused by gases and particles, both liquid and solid, which contaminate the environment. Scientists link this kind of contamination of the air to adverse health effects such as respiratory diseases and even cancer.

Some of the other harmful effects of air pollution are: damage to heritage buildings and artifacts, for example, due to air pollution in the city of Athens there is evidence of corrosion on the marble statues of the Parthenon; damage to agricultural products causing reduction in the growth of trees and crop yield; reduction in visibility in the atmosphere; and change in the climate, since particulate pollutants are absorbed by the gases in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming.

The anthropogenic causes of air pollution are more as compared to natural causes and it becomes necessary to control these sources.

Some efforts to control air pollution are discussed below:

Five major input control methods may be adopted. People may try to restrict population growth, use less energy, improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, and move to non-polluting renewable forms of energy production. Also, automobile-produced pollution can be decreased with highly beneficial results.

Output control, the opposite method, seeks to fix the problems caused by air pollution. This usually means cleaning up an area that has been damaged by pollution. Input controls are usually more effective than output controls. Output controls are also more expensive, making them less desirable to tax payers and polluting industries.

It is essential to know the cause of air pollution in order to look for methods to prevent them.

As doing so will help reduce the air pollution caused for its generation. Insulation of house with energy efficient equipment’s would save a lot of electricity consumption. Use Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) to save electricity. Switch off the lights when not in use.

Use manual garden equipment’s rather than using an electric or gas-powered one. Use of fans or open windows for cool air as they are more beneficial than air conditioners. One of the air pollution facts is that air conditioners release harmful gas known as chlorofluorocarbons which leads to air pollution.

Using solar equipment’s is considered as the best of all alternatives for conserving electricity. When possible, walk or bike, or use roller blade or skateboards to close by work locations. Use of carpool or mass transit is also one of the most efficient ways to prevent air pollution.

Use other communication methods as well, instead of travelling all the way and losing out on fuel. Tailpipe emissions from vehicles are one of the most common and major reasons of air pollution. Service your vehicles on time and at regular intervals and always insist on cleaning air filters.

Switch off your vehicles in case you halt at a place for more than 30 sec, especially at railroad crossings, traffic signals, etc. One of the other ways to stop air pollution is to check the air conditioners used in vehicles at regular times of interval in order to prevent leakage of CFC (chloro carbon fluoro).

Fires emit harmful gases in the form of smoke. This smoke pollutes the environment and may sometimes be very harmful to the lungs when inhaled. Hence, prevention of smoke and any kind of fire is very essential. That also includes the use of fireplace in homes.

Buy and use only products or goods that are marked recyclable, as they can be reused and help in reducing pollution. Can sprays should be avoided for any purpose, as they contain Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a poisonous gas. Packing of goods consumes a huge amount of electricity, and when burnt produces carbon dioxide as well as carbon monoxide further leading to be a greenhouse gas.

Plant trees to reduce the effects of air pollution. That will also help to maintain a cooling effect in surroundings. You should use organic products while gardening and avoid raising dust while gardening or digging. Input control involves preventing a problem before it occurs, or at least limiting the effects the process will produce.

A few other ways to stop air pollution include using water based paints or paints categorized as zero-VOC for painting. While purchasing appliances like refrigerators, television, etc. buy low energy consuming ones. Instead of using a heater, dry your clothes on a clothesline in the backyard. Using brooms or rakes instead of blowers to clean yard will raise less amount of dust in the area.

Project Report # 6. Objectives of Air Pollution Control Devices:

I. t o reduce particulate matter:.

(i) Wet Scrubbers:

These include a number of devices that remove pollutants from furnace flue gas as well as other gas streams. The pollutants are removed by the polluted gas stream being forced through a scrubbing liquid or by using some other method of bringing it into contact with the liquid. Wet scrubbers are used in a number of industries such as large power plants, asphalt plants, steel plants, fertilizer plants, and acid plants.

(ii) Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) :

Also known as Electrostatic Air Cleaners, this air polluting control system is a particulate collecting device which uses the force created by an induced electrostatic charge to remove particulate matter from any flowing gas, e.g., air.

These filtration devices are highly efficient and are very effective in removing fine particles like smoke and dust from the air stream. ESPs are used for controlling particulate emissions in various industries like oil refineries, pulp mills, and oil and coal fired utilities that generate electricity, which produce smoke.

(iii) Dust Cyclones :

These are used to remove particulate matter from a gas or air stream, without using filters, using vortex separation instead. Mixtures of fluids and solids are separated by using gravity and rotational effects. There is large scale use of cyclones in oil refineries as well as the cement industry wherein they form a part of the kiln preheaters.

ii. T o Reduce NO x (Nitrogen Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide) :

(i) Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) :

This is a technique used for reducing NO x that is used in most diesel and gasoline engines. A part of the exhaust of an engine is recirculated back into its cylinders. When the incoming air is intermixed with the recirculated exhaust gas, it results in diluting the mixture with inert gas, reducing the adiabatic flame temperature and also lowering the excessive oxygen in diesel engines.

The peak combustion temperature is also lowered because the specific heat capacity of the mix is increased by the exhaust gas. Since high temperatures cause NO x to form much faster, EGR helps in limiting NO x from being generated. NO x is produced when a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen is subjected to high temperature.

(ii) Catalystic Converter :

This is a device that is used to diminish the toxicity of emissions that are produced by internal combustion engines. First introduced in 1975 in the US in order to comply with the tightening regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, catalytic converters are still used most commonly in the exhaust systems of motor vehicles.

Some of the other places they are used are – trains, mining equipment, forklifts, generator sets, and other machines equipped with engines.

iii. T o Decrease Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) :

(i) Gas Flare :

Also called a flare stack, this is a chimney that is erected on oil rigs or oil wells, as well as landfills, chemical plants, and refineries. When in flammable gas or unusable waste gas plus liquids are discharged by pressure relief valves, this device is used to burn them off. This device is also used in landfills to burn and/or vent the waste gas that is produced by the decomposing materials.

(ii) Biofilters:

This is a technique for pollution control, which uses living matter to trap and biologically degrade pollutants. In air pollution control, the pollutants in the air are subjected to microbiotic oxidation. In other words, when it is applied in the filtration and purification of air, microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria that are embedded in a biofilm, are used to degrade the air pollutant.

(iii) Photochemical Smog :

The smog is a combination of smoke and fog prevent in London. The word smog was first used in 1905. This is, however, chemical reducing with high levels of SO2 and is called reducing smog, whereas photochemical smog is on oxidizing smog having a high concentration of oxidants.

Photochemical smog is characterized by brown, hazy fumes which irritate the eyes and lungs, lead to the cracking of rubber and extensive damage of plant life. The probable mechanism of smog-forming reactions is illustrated in the flow charts.

Project Report # 7. Case Studies of Air Pollution:

Human body is composed of chemicals both simple and intricate. All that we breathe eat and drink is chemical and that which we prepare is also chemical. A body requires about 25 kilograms of air a day for its requirement of oxygen. So one can well imagine the consumption of oxygen per day and its deficiency environmental pollution.

A person in an industrialized country produces about 1 tonne of garbage a year. In any developed nation, families of three discharges nearly 50 kg of refuse every week. In India, Bombay alone vitiates the land with 3500 tonnes of garbage every day and 400 million gallons of sewage pollutes the ocean daily.

It costs the city Rs.10 crores annually to collect the refuse and treat it partly. The proper use of city sewage in agriculture will cost more than Rs.200 crore a year.

Daily 1500 tonnes of pollutants, mostly from automobiles and industries, are befouling the atmosphere, which contains three times more sulphur dioxide than the tolerance limit. The amount of carbon particles is four times higher than the permissible limit.

The quantities of benzopyrenes and other hazardous chemicals have not been estimated till now but the effect is apparent as cancer has increased about three times higher in polluted areas like Chemibur and Lalbaug than other places, reports the Bombay Municipal Corporation. Cases of asthma, bronchitis, emphysema are also increasing.

It has been estimated that a man of an industrialized country will need:

1200 barrels of petroleum

26.2 million gallons of water

50 tonnes of food

28 tonnes of iron and steel

1300 pounds of paper and

$ 10,000 in public expenses.

The man pollutes the environment by throwing out:

27000 bottle caps

2.3 automobiles

35 rubber tyres

126 tonnes of garbage and

9.8 tonnes of particulate

According to the reports of the independent commission on International Development issues under Chairmanship of Willy Brandt, more than a million people are added to the population of the world every five days.

The human life has added hundreds of pollutants in the atmosphere. The important are SO 2 , CO 2 , hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen, solid particles and heat. With the advent of industrializations, the presence of obnoxious gases and metal particles has increased tremendously in the atmosphere.

In Delhi, the Indraprastha thermal power station has an installed capacity of 284 MW but its normal generation is between 150 and 200 MW. For this generation, the power house consumes 2500 tonns of coal and 70 to 80 kilo litre of furnace oil daily.

The consumption of 2500 tonnes of coal leaves behind 1000 tonnes of ashes, out of which 200 tonnes settle down at the bottom. The remaining 800 tonnes is diverted into the three chimneys, to be tackled by their electrostatic precipitators.

The other two power stations at Rajghat and Badarpur also discharge the fly ash emission over the city. Thus at Delhi, the three power stations, 55000 industrials units and 6.50 lakh vehicles of various types combine to make Delhi’s atmosphere full of avoidable diseases which run the risk of serious respiratory oilments and lung diseases.

A recent study by the Central Pollution Control Board has brought out startling facts. The study covered Najafgarh Road, Lawrence Road, Wazirpur, Kirti Nagar, DLF industrial area and Moti Nagar. The Najafgarh area which has chemical, fertilizer, iron and steel rolling mills was found to be the most polluted.

According to Board’s findings, the Najafgarh Road area has 32 air polluting units which emit every month 75.3 tonns of sulphur dioxide and 794.5 tonnes of particulate matter (dust). The Lawrence Road area has 27 air polluting units, spewing into the atmosphere 20.4 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 140.2 tonnes of dust every month. The Wazirpur area has 90 air polluting units, emitting every month 18.2 tonnes of sulphur dioxide and 254.1 tonnes of dust.

So the above data clearly indicate the pollution around the residents whether it is caused by industrial units in regular industrial area or in residential areas. This pollution is causing skin, eye and respiratory ailments.

In 1981, extensive pollution of the environment was reported in a cluster of 10 villages about 7 km. from Surat. The polluter was a refrigeration gas manufacturing factory at Bhestan located in the Udhna industrial belt. Large quantities of fluoride are discharged in the air, which ultimately settle down on the earth and finally mix in the Mindhola River, thus contaminating the potable water.

The result is that small children have dental lesions and even bone decay. Adults get afflicted with shooting pain in their joints. Bullocks, buffaloes and cows are slowly getting deformed and the fishes are fast disappearing from the river, due to enmasse destruction by the fluoride contaminant. The situation is worst today.

Calcutta releases 1100 tonnes of polluted matter per day from industries, energy houses, vehicles etc. The level of suspended particulate matter in the air is over three times the permissible limit. The people living even in Durgapur and Asansole have complaint of stomach and respiratory ailments.

The industries located on the banks of the Hoogly and Damodar Rivers discharge pollutants into the atmosphere which settle down causing pollution of cyanide, phenols, nitrogen oxides etc. in the rivers.

Similar is the case with Ganga at Farrukhabad, Varanasi and Kanpur. We know that cadmium and mercury can cause paralysis and damage bones. Methyl mercury can cause Minamata one of the most horribly wasting diseases ever suffered by man.

A large number of trace metals found in inorganic aerosols as well as in the air, constitute carcinogens and mutagens which cause cancer and genetic disorders respectively. Sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and particulates are effective poisons.

Environmental pollution has made the sky a virtually overloaded sewer, fertile land a wasteland, and rivers a poisonous sink (According to Thermax Pollution Control System).

In India Environmental Pollution is increasing with increase of industrialisation. About 50 tonnes of dust, grime, muck and general yech per kilometer is said to settle down on each of our big cities every year. The concentration of pollutants in the ambient air is high enough to cause adverse effects of any kind – whether to human health, factors of production, aesthetic, wild life or whatever.

The Man and Biosphere Committee in the Department of Environment and Forests of the Govt. of India better known as ‘MAB’ has selected. Somlipal as one of the 40-odd rich natural spots in the country suitable for implementation of the biosphere programme. The UNESCO launched a worldwide “MAB” programme in order to increase our understanding of the human impacts on its dynamics.

Under this programme an International network of Biosphere Reserve is being set up to preserve the representative samples of the earth eco-system with the genetic materials they contain and to provide testing grounds where the tolerance limits of these eco-systems to human manipulations can be studied.

In 1989, the Academy of Environmental Sciences, Meerut held seminar in which Dr. V. P. Kudesia had pleaded for a total rest of at least 5 years for the Simplipal forest. The society inventory of the floral and faunal wealth of Simplipal has called for immediate and effective measures for the upkeep of the environmental stability and protection of the ecological balance.

According to a study (1988), America had vitiated 22 crores tonnes of obnoxious gases along with particulate matter into the air every year out of which 10 crore tonnes is the carbon monoxide. America releases about 3 crore tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 3 crore tonnes of hydrocarbon and 3 crore tonnes of particulate matter (dust) every year.

In Tokyo, the situation is still worse. Due to obnoxious gases present in the atmosphere, the policeman on duty has the need of oxygen booth after every half an hour to inhale pure oxygen. There are many automatic machines filled with oxygen to cater the need of policemen on duty machines filled with oxygen to cater the need of policemen on duty controlling traffic in Tokyo.

According to data of 1980, the industries on Tokyo discharge 67 tonnes of particulate matter per year due to which more than 20% people of the city are suffering from bronchitis, asthma, no stril and ear diseases.

If this state continues then within 50 years, almost all trees will be destroyed and the beautiful mountain Fuziama will become a hilly chamber of foul gases. It will not be a big surprise if by 2030; every person of Tokyo will have to carry this oxygen cylinder on his back throughout the day.

On April 10, 1974 a storm hit a small town of Scotland and set a new record of air pollution. The rained storm was found to contain as much acid as in Vinegar. Similarly the presence of giant copper—nickel smelter complex in Canada showered so much acid in the environment that even fishes could not survive in the lakes in an area of 80 km. radius around it.

Beautiful man-made structures like Aeropolis in Greece, Lincon Memorial in U.S.A., Taj Mahal in India are showing signs of decay due to acid rain. The release of acid-producing pollutants by the factories in U.K. is killing salmon and trout in the lakes of Norway and Sweden drastically affecting their fishery industries and economy.

Most of these gases combine with water vapour to produce sulphurous and sulphuric acid along with nitrous and nitric acids (strong acids) thus destroying the fertility of soil and causing ailments to the living creatures.

During the last more than 200 years, the acidity in rains and snow over the eastern America and Western Europe has changed from almost neutral to dilute solutions of nitric, nitrous, sulphurous and sulphuric acids.

Some scientists claim that every year about 5, 26 and 70 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide gas being discharged into the atmosphere by various human activities in Canada, U.S. and Europe respectively. In India sulphur dioxide emissions are estimated to be much higher than permissible limits in Calcutta, Kanpur and Bombay.

In 1980 China extracted over 600 million tonnes of coal and used nearly one third of it as household fuel, either as lump coal or in the form of coal-dust briquettes. In Beijing during winter as much as 39 tonnes of soot per sq. km. descends each month in certain sections of the city.

Sri Lanka is also facing the problem of environmental pollution where smoke of a thousand chimneys taints the air and the waste from a thousand factories pollutes rivers, streams and seas. Besides Sri Lanka the other South Asian countries like Pakistan, Afganistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Maldives, Nepal and India also suffer from environmental pollution.

These countries have jointly established a South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) in 1981. The experts of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are helping the aforesaid agency in solving the problems.

According to a survey of 1975 Sweden is releasing 10 tonnes carbon dioxide, 4 lakh tonnes sulphur dioxide and 2 lakh tonnes of particulate matter into the atmosphere per year. The data of France is more than double of Sweden. France is vitiating more than 30 lakh tonnes of sulphur compounds into the atmosphere per year.

According to a survey (1986), West Germany is polluting the atmosphere with 60 lakh tonnes of sulphur compounds in the air. It is also releasing vanadium in the atmosphere from petroleum fuel. This vanadium is very injurious to health and causes bone diseases and cancer. The vehicles are releasing 5 lakh tonnes of lead in the atmosphere per year.

Air pollution in Bhopal in 1984 due to leakage of methyl isocyanate and phosgene gas had killed more than 5000 persons and about 1 lakh human beings had become insane besides serious damages to animals and plants. The gases have decreased the reproduction capacity of living beings for at least 10 years. Is this not a serious warning against air pollution for the developing countries?

Air pollution due to rapid industrial expansion is becoming a cause of public concern in developing countries. The substances which pollute the air may be gaseous or particulate. The particulate may be organic or inorganic depending on the type of raw materials processed.

The inorganic particulates which are generally conglomerates of chemically heterogeneous substances are known to affect the flora and fauna in the area of their emission.

Air pollution is caused by discharge of contaminants such as dust, fume, gas, mist, odour, smoke or vapour in the atmosphere. Mainly sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, freon, pesticides, fumigants, fluoride, phosphate, As, Cd, Hg, Pb, Ag, V and dust particles are destroying the plants, animals, human beings, soils water.

One can appreciate the importance of clean air as on an average a man inhales about 17 kg. air per day in comparison to 500 gm of solids. The discharge of contaminants into atmosphere may be due to some activity of man or natural processes but major source of air pollution is industrialization.

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