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Air pollution

Air pollution

This animation demonstrates the main sources of air pollution: agricultural, industrial and urban air pollution.

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 - Vehicles and industrial complexes emit sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. These chemical substances react with water droplets in the air and produce acids. Then, they fall to the ground in the form of acid rain, which then infiltrates the soil and seeps down to groundwater level as well.
  • smog - Pollutants released into the air by vehicles and through the burning of fossil fuels form smoky fog.

Air is essential to life. Despite its importance, air pollution has become a global issue.
Air pollution occurs when an excessive amount of contaminating materials is released into the air, which is harmful to the health of humans and has a negative impact on the environment as well. Air pollution can lead to diseases, toxication, asphyxiation or even to 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 - By spraying plants, chemicals and fertilisers enter the atmosphere.
  • 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 - Animal byproducts and gases are released into the air.
  • lake - As a result of farming, pollutants filter into natural water bodies. Then, these contaminating materials enter the atmosphere through evaporation.

Agriculture contributes to air pollution too. Besides substances resulting from the evaporation of pesticides and fertilisers, methane and nitrogen oxides produced during the digestion of ruminant animals also play a role in intensifying the greenhouse effect. The carbon dioxide content of the air increases due to deforestation because the remaining vegetation is not able to take up the same amount of CO2. By burning crops, many toxic gases and solid particles are released into the air.

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.

The industry is one of the biggest air polluters in the world. The branch that contaminates air the most is the energy industry, as power plants mainly emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and solid particles. The byproducts of industrial processes, such as solvents, aerosols, dust and exhaust gases, also contaminate the air. Cement production is one of the most polluting processes within the industry.

Urban air pollution

  • gas emission
  • noise pollution
  • traffic
  • traffic, industrial production
  • acid rain - Vehicles and industrial complexes emit sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. These chemical substances react with water droplets in the air and produce acids. Then, they fall to the ground in the form of acid rain, which then infiltrates the soil and seeps down to groundwater level as well.
  • smog - Pollutants released into the air by vehicles and through the burning of fossil fuels form smoky fog.
  • urban traffic - Vehicles emit nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, soot and thousands of other pollutants to the air.
  • household waste - Urban areas produce a lot of waste. A huge amount of volatile toxic compounds resulting from waste enter 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 travel large distances thanks to winds, increasing, even more, the average temperature on Earth.

Urban areas emit a lot of carbon dioxide due to traffic and the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas or coal. In large cities, the main responsible for air pollution and the formation of smog is traffic. Smog, also known as smoky fog, usually forms in both winter and 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 above urban areas are emitted by vehicles. Besides the mentioned substances, an average vehicle emits 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 different means of public transport. This way, we can reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air.
  • Dispose of household waste properly. - By burning waste, smoke, soot and toxic gases are released into the air.
  • Use electric vehicles instead of diesel vehicles. - The particulate emission of diesel vehicles is very significant. The majority of these particles is soot, which binds unburned hydrocarbons.
  • Make your household energy efficient. - Use renewable energy sources in your household when it comes to cooking, lighting and heating.

There are a whole lot of things you can do to preserve good air quality. Ride a bicycle, walk or use different means of public transport instead of driving your car. However, if you choose to drive, use environmentally-friendly electric vehicles. Do not burn waste. You can make compost from almost every kind of crop residues. 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 to the atmosphere.
  • We must protect our forests. - Forest fires not only increase the risk of erosion but also many pollutants are released into the air.
  • 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 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 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 air.

The entire society must take action 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 less 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 essential to life. Despite its importance, air pollution has become a global issue.
Air pollution occurs when an excessive amount of contaminating materials is released into the air, which is harmful to the health of humans and has a negative impact on the environment as well. Air pollution can lead to diseases, toxication, asphyxiation or even to death. Air pollution can affect vast areas, as contaminating materials can travel large distances.

The industry is one of the biggest air polluters in the world. The branch that contaminates air the most is the energy industry, as power plants mainly emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and solid particles. The byproducts of industrial processes, such as solvents, aerosols, dust and exhaust gases, also contaminate the air. Cement production is one of the most polluting processes within the industry.

Agriculture contributes to air pollution too. Besides substances resulting from the evaporation of pesticides and fertilisers, methane and nitrogen oxides produced during the digestion of ruminant animals also play a role in intensifying the greenhouse effect. The carbon dioxide content of the air increases due to deforestation because the remaining vegetation is not able to take up the same amount of CO2. By burning crops, many toxic gases and solid particles are released into the air.

Urban areas emit a lot of carbon dioxide due to traffic and the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas or coal. In large cities, the main responsible for air pollution and the formation of smog is traffic. Smog, also known as smoky fog, usually forms in both winter and 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 above urban areas are emitted by vehicles. Besides the mentioned substances, an average vehicle emits thousands of other pollutants as well, such as soot.

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

The entire society must take action 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 less 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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