• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Atmospheric Pollution.

Extracts from this document...


Atmospheric Pollution Pollution is defined as the contamination of air, water or soil by materials that interfere with human health, the quality of life, or the natural functioning of ecosystems. Air pollution is the pollution of the atmosphere by emissions from industrial plants, incinerators, internal combustion engines and other sources. Pollutants can be classified as either primary or secondary. Primary pollutants are substances directly produced by a process, such as ash from a volcanic eruption or the carbon monoxide gas from a motor vehicle exhaust. Secondary pollutants are not emitted. Rather, they form in the air when primary pollutants react or interact. An important example of a secondary pollutant is ozone-one of the many secondary pollutants that make up photochemical smog. The motor vehicle engine emits many types of pollutants including nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulates, sulphur dioxide (SO2) and lead. Listed below are the major air pollutants produced as a result of motor vehicles: Pollutant Sources Effects Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) A corrosive gas that cannot be seen or smelled at low levels but can have a "rotten egg" smell at high levels. Sulphur dioxide mostly comes from the burning of coal or oil in power plants. ...read more.


If the ozone in the stratosphere is destroyed, people are exposed to more radiation from the sun (ultraviolet radiation). This can lead to skin cancer and eye problems. Higher ultraviolet radiation can also harm plants and animals. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - evaporation of solvents - evaporation of fuels - incomplete combustion of fossil fuels - naturally occurring compounds like terpenes from trees - eye irritation - respiratory irritation - some are carcinogenic - decreased visibility due to blue-brown haze (1) Coal is the world's most abundant fossil fuel. It is a readily combustible rock composed primarily of carbon. Coal is an accumulation of many different complex hydrocarbon compounds. When a fuel burns, it reacts with oxygen to form oxides. If the fuel burns completely, then all the carbon in it is turned into carbon dioxide which is slightly acidic. If there is not much air available, the carbon may be turned into carbon monoxide, which is a very poisonous gas. Some fuels like, coal & coke, contain small amounts of sulphur. When coal is burned the sulphur is released into the atmosphere producing sulphur dioxide. The sulphur dioxide dissolves in water to form an acidic solution containing sulphurous acid. ...read more.


The raw material, sea-water, is made freely from the Firth of Forth and sulphate ions can be dumped at sea without significant change in the pH. Sea-water scrubbing is an environmentally benign way of reducing sulphurous and particulate emissions and it is also currently the cheapest way. It provides a safe way of reducing the overall sulphur burden our use of fossil fuel creates. The most recent arrangement for lowering NOx emissions is gas reburn. In this method, not only is less NOx produced but on the other hand any NOx formed is chemically removed. The boiler furnace consists of three burning zones. In the primary combustion zone, powdered coal is oxidised in less air than normal. This is an unusual process because of the injection of normal gas (mainly methane & ethane) into the boiler just above the flames in the reburning zone. Here the NOx reacts with the alkanes to produce nitrogen, carbon dioxide & water vapour: Summary Over the years, air pollution has become a major global problem causing great concern, both in urban and rural areas. Modernisation and progress have led to air getting more and more polluted over the years. Industries, vehicles, increase in the population, and urbanization are some of the major factors responsible for air pollution. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Environmental Management section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Environmental Management essays

  1. How Does Air Pollution Affect the Hong Kong People and Economy?

    Hong Kong and Guangdong co-operation: In 2004, The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department has teamed up with the Guangdong Environment Protection Bureau to create basic pollution measuring and control devices. 16 air quality monitoring stations have been setup around the Pearl River Delta region Addition of Public Transport: By creating

  2. Pollution. The main sources of these pollutants are industrial factories and motor vehicles. The ...

    Heavy industries based on fossil fuels are especially dangerous for our environment, and if we take a look at China and India for instance we can see that rapid economic development actually has rather high environmental price. Heavy pollution not only makes our environment ugly but is also the source

  1. Investigation into Fossil Fuels

    is built across a river estuary. When the tide goes in and out, the water flows through tunnels in the dam. The ebb and flow of the tides can be used to turn a turbine, or it can be used to push air through a pipe, which then turns a turbine.

  2. air pollution and acid rain

    The effect of acid rain on wildlife can be quite hazardous. If a population of one plant or animal is adversely affected by acid rain, animals that feed on that organism may also suffer. Ultimately, an entire ecosystem may become endangered.

  1. Ozone (O3) is an allotropic form of oxygen with three atoms in each molecule. ...

    Photochemical smog also leads to devastating agricultural loss (Green Nature 2004). Figure 3.2: The sources of nitrogen oxides 3.5 Other negative effects of low level ozone As ozone is a toxic, long-term exposure to it can cause various health problems to the respiratory system and exacerbate existing ailments such as emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and heart diseases.

  2. Emerging Chemical Contaminants: The Case of Perfluorochemicals

    analysis, Guy et al. postulated that the PFOA or a structurally related compound maybe the source of the organic fluorine. Subsequently, further studies have revealed wide spread part per billion presence of PFOS in non-occupationally exposed humans (OECD 2002; Olsen et al.

  1. A report concerning new business development in the local area, which is the Paddington ...

    As a result this can cause the decrease of plant and animal life. If the environment is seen to be damaging, it is possible that some pressure groups might form in order to protest against the development. As a result the developers might gain a poor reputation and many stakeholder groups will no longer support their development.

  2. The Ozone a Hole in the TheoryThe protective ozone layer around our world undergoes ...

    A NAS study is very telling. In 1980 Environmentalists predicted an eighteen percent ozone decrease, late! r in 1982 the estimate decreased itself to a seven percent depletion, yet again the prediction went down again to two to four percent decrease.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work