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Air pollution

Air pollution

This animation demonstrates the main sources of air pollution: agriculture, industry and urban settlements.

Geography

Keywords

air pollution, smog, climate change, pollution, environmental pollution, contamination, environmental protection, greenhouse effect, greenhouse gas, global warming, light pollution, heat pollution, noise pollution, gas emission, acidic, agriculture, industry, transportation, settlement, air, rain, sulphur dioxide, soot, carbon dioxide, crop production, animal husbandry, geography, environment, nature, society

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Scenes

Air pollution

  • agricultural air pollution
  • urban air pollution
  • industrial air pollution
  • emission into the atmosphere
  • spreading in the atmosphere
  • condensation
  • acid rain - Motor vehicles and industrial plants emit sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. These chemical substances react with water droplets in the air and produce acids. These then fall to the ground in the form of acid rain, which seeps into the soil down to groundwater level.
  • smog - Pollutants released into the air by motor vehicles and through the burning of fossil fuels form smog (short for smoky fog).

Air is vital to life. Despite its importance, air pollution has become a global issue.
Air pollution occurs when excessive amounts of contaminating materials are released into the air. It is harmful to humans and other living things; it can lead to respiratory diseases, poisoning, suffocation or death. Air pollution can affect vast areas, as contaminating materials can travel large distances.

Agricultural air pollution

  • gas emission
  • chemical emission
  • carbon dioxide and soot emission
  • rice production
  • fertilisation, pesticide use
  • intensive farming - Chemicals and fertilisers enter the atmosphere due to spraying plants.
  • forest fire - During forest fires, ash, nitrates and organic carbon enter the atmosphere. These substances have a negative effect on the ecosystem.
  • intensive livestock farming - Animals release gases into the atmosphere.
  • lake - As a result of farming, pollutants enter natural waters, then, through the evaporation of water, into the atmosphere.

Agriculture contributes to air pollution too. Besides substances resulting from the evaporation of pesticides and fertilisers, methane and nitrogen oxides produced by the unique digestive system of ruminants also play a role in intensifying the greenhouse effect. Deforestation also leads to an increase in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, because the remaining vegetation can bind less carbon dioxide. Moreover, the burning of plant material releases toxic gases and solid particles into the atmosphere.

Industrial air pollution

  • emission into the atmosphere
  • smoke, soot, carbon dioxide sulphur dioxide
  • spreading in the atmosphere
  • crude oil extraction - Exhaust gases produced during extraction cause air pollution.
  • industrial byproduct - Waste, dust and exhaust gases resulting from industrial processes are released into the air.
  • radioactive waste - Incorrect radioactive waste management can lead to radioactive waste entering the atmosphere and poisoning the environment for several thousand years.

Industry is responsible for a great deal of air pollution. The branch that pollutes the atmosphere most is the energy industry, as power plants emit enormous amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and solid particles. The by-products of industrial processes, such as solvents, aerosols, dust and exhaust gases, also contaminate the air. Cement production is one of the most polluting industrial processes.

Urban air pollution

  • gas emission
  • noise pollution
  • traffic
  • traffic, industrial production
  • acid rain - Motor vehicles and industrial plants emit sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. These chemical substances react with water droplets in the air and produce acids. These then fall to the ground in the form of acid rain, which seeps into the soil down to groundwater level.
  • smog - Pollutants released into the air by motor vehicles and through the burning of fossil fuels form smog (short for smoky fog).
  • urban traffic - Motor vehicles emit nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, soot and over a thousand other types pollutants into the atmosphere.
  • household waste - Urban areas produce a lot of waste, which releases a huge amount of volatile toxic compounds into the atmosphere.
  • air transport - The engines of aircraft emit a lot of pollutants. Air transport is also the main source of noise pollution.
  • maritime traffic - Ships travelling in oceans are largely responsible for contaminating the air with sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides.
  • heat pollution - Waste heat, produced by buildings, factories and traffic, can be carried to large distances by winds, further raising the average temperature on Earth.

Urban areas emit a lot of carbon dioxide due to motorised traffic and the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas or coal. In large cities, the main reason for air pollution and the formation of smog is motorised traffic. Smog can form both in the winter and the summer, in areas with heavy traffic, where the air hardly moves. The majority of contaminating substances, for example, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, found in the air in urban areas are emitted by vehicles powered by combustion engines. These vehicles release thousands of other pollutants as well, such as soot.

What can you do?

  • fewer cars
  • waste management
  • electric instead of diesel
  • energy efficient household
  • Use cars less often. - Ride a bicycle, walk or use the various means of public transport. This way, we can reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air.
  • Dispose of household waste appropriately. - By burning waste, smoke, soot and toxic gases are released into the air.
  • Use electric vehicles instead of diesel vehicles. - Diesel vehicles release significant amounts of particles. The majority of these particles is soot, which binds unburned hydrocarbons.
  • Make your household more energy efficient. - Use renewable energy sources in your household for cooking, lighting and heating.

There are a whole lot of things you can do to preserve good air quality. Instead of driving your car, ride a bicycle, walk or use various means of public transport. However, if you choose to drive, use environmentally friendly electric vehicles. Do not burn waste materials. You can compost almost every kind of plant residue. Collect every other type of waste in selective containers. Use renewable energy sources in your household when it comes to cooking, lighting and heating.

What can we do? - At social level

  • renewable energy instead of coal
  • forest protection
  • less chemicals
  • environmentally friendly building
  • public transport
  • correct waste management
  • We must use renewable energy sources. - Power plants using fossil fuels emit huge amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere.
  • We must protect our forests. - Forest fires not only increase the risk of erosion but also release large amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere.
  • We must use less chemicals in the fields. - By using less pesticides and fertilisers, we can reduce the amount of chemicals released into the air.
  • We must make buildings more energy efficient. - By constructing environmentally-friendly and energy efficient buildings, we can improve air quality in urban areas.
  • It is important to improve public transport. - It is necessary to improve public transport and develop bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly road networks.
  • We must manage our waste correctly. - If regulations regarding waste management are violated, hazardous materials can be released into the atmosphere.

Collective action must be taken by the entire society to tackle the problem of air pollution. We must start to use renewable energy sources at social level, and we must make our buildings more energy-efficient. To be able to reduce the number of cars on the roads, we must improve public transport and build bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly road networks. If we used less chemicals in the fields, raised fewer animals, and burnt down less forests, then less toxic substances would be released into the air. We can also reduce air pollution through proper waste management.

Narration

Air is vital to life. Despite its importance, air pollution has become a global issue.
Air pollution occurs when excessive amounts of contaminating materials are released into the air. It is harmful to humans and other living things; it can lead to respiratory diseases, poisoning, suffocation or death. Air pollution can affect vast areas, as contaminating materials can travel large distances.

Industry is responsible for a great deal of air pollution. The branch that pollutes the atmosphere most is the energy industry, as power plants emit enormous amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and solid particles. The by-products of industrial processes, such as solvents, aerosols, dust and exhaust gases, also contaminate the air. Cement production is one of the most polluting industrial processes.

Agriculture contributes to air pollution too. Besides substances resulting from the evaporation of pesticides and fertilisers, methane and nitrogen oxides produced by the unique digestive system of ruminants also play a role in intensifying the greenhouse effect. Deforestation also leads to an increase in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, because the remaining vegetation can bind less carbon dioxide. Moreover, the burning of plant material releases toxic gases and solid particles into the atmosphere.

Urban areas emit a lot of carbon dioxide due to motorised traffic and the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas or coal. In large cities, the main reason for air pollution and the formation of smog is motorised traffic. Smog can form both in the winter and the summer, in areas with heavy traffic, where the air hardly moves. The majority of contaminating substances, for example, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, found in the air in urban areas are emitted by vehicles powered by combustion engines. These vehicles release thousands of other pollutants as well, such as soot.

There are a whole lot of things you can do to preserve good air quality. Instead of driving your car, ride a bicycle, walk or use various means of public transport. However, if you choose to drive, use environmentally friendly electric vehicles. Do not burn waste materials. You can compost almost every kind of plant residue. Collect every other type of waste in selective containers. Use renewable energy sources in your household when it comes to cooking, lighting and heating.

Collective action must be taken by the entire society to tackle the problem of air pollution. We must start to use renewable energy sources at social level, and we must make our buildings more energy-efficient. To be able to reduce the number of cars on the roads, we must improve public transport and build bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly road networks. If we used less chemicals in the fields, raised fewer animals, and burnt down less forests, then less toxic substances would be released into the air. We can also reduce air pollution through proper waste management.

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