What is it?
Air pollution can be created by both manmade and natural sources. Natural sources include windblown or kicked-up dust, dirt and sand, volcanic smoke, and burning materials. Manmade sources, meaning that pollution is created by the actions of human beings, tend to be the leading contributor to air pollution in cities and are inherently more able to be influenced by regulations.Those human sources primarily include various forms of combustion, such as from gas-powered transportation (planes, trains, and automobiles) and industrial businesses (power plants, refineries, and factories), biomass burning (the burning of plant matter or coal for heating, cooking, and energy), and agriculture.
Industries & heating
The combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil in industrial processes in power plants, refineries, and factories release a variety of pollutants, the majority of which are identical to those emitted by traffic and mobility.
On top of this, chemical processes and volatile industry byproducts also cause VOC emissions. In Europe, around 60% of sulfur oxides come from energy production and distribution. In the US, stationary fuel combustion sources like electric utilities and industrial boilers are responsible for 73.2% of sulfur dioxide pollution.
Traffic & mobility
Petrol and diesel engines of cars, ships, trains and other vehicles emit pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Friction from tires and brake wear also create primary – i.e. direct – particulate matter emissions. In addition, the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and VOCs released by road vehicles also undergo photochemical reactions to form ozone (O3).
In Europe, more than 40% of NOx and almost 40% of primary PM2.5 emissions are linked to road transport. In the United States, 35.8% of CO and 32.8% of NOx stem from road transport.
A wide range of nitrogen compounds (NO, NO2, N2), including ammonia (NH3), can be attributed to fertilizer production, farm machinery, and livestock waste management in agriculture. In addition, methane (CH4) is released by the digestive processes of livestock.
In Europe, agricultural activities cause approximately 90% of ammonia emissions and 80% of methane emissions. In the US, livestock and manure management are responsible for 46% of methane emissions. transport.
Burning of Fossil Fuels
Sulfur dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum for energy in power plants, and other factory combustibles is one the major cause of air pollution. Billions of vehicles run on roads are powered by gasoline and diesel engines that burn petroleum for releasing energy. Petroleum is made up of hydrocarbons, and engines don’t burn them cleanly.
As a result, pollutants such as PM, nitric oxide and NO2 (together referred to as NOx), carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and lead emit from vehicles including trucks, jeeps, cars, trains, airplanes, causing a high level of pollution. These modes of transportation form part of our daily basic needs, so we rely on them heavily. But, their overuse is killing our environment as dangerous gases are polluting the atmosphere.
Carbon Monoxide caused by improper or incomplete combustion and generally emitted from vehicles is another major pollutant along with Nitrogen Oxides, that is produced from both natural and man-made processes. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to outdoor air pollution contributes to as much as 0.6 to 1.4 percent of the burden of disease and 4.2 million deaths every year.