Understanding Air-Pollution

 What is Air pollution? 

Air pollution may be defined as the occurrence of any foreign materials or gases such as oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen in the air beyond prescribed limit, which are harmful for man, vegetation, animals or buildings.
Air pollution is the presence of harmful foreign substances (pollutants) in the atmosphere, emitted by both natural and anthropogenic (human activity) sources.
It’s the contamination or presence of unwanted substances in the air making it harmful and detrimental for human and animal health.
 
Air pollution refers to the release of large amounts of harmful gases and solid particles into the atmosphere by industrial and agricultural processes, electricity generation and transport.
 
What is Particulate matter?
 
Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air many of which are hazardous. This complex mixture includes both organic and inorganic particles such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets.
 
Particulate matter (PM), also known as particle pollution, is made up of tiny solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Particulate Matter is made up of acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals and soil or dust particles.
 
Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot and smoke, are large or dark enough to see with the naked eye. Others are so small, often less than one-hundredth the width of a human hair, they can only be detected using a microscope.
 
PM10 :-Particles less than or equal to 10 micrometers in diameter are so small that they can get into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems. Ten micrometers is less than the width of a single human hair. Coarse dust particles (PM10) are 2.5 to10 micrometers in diameter.
These "PM2.5 particles" are known to produce respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Short for "Particulate Matter, 2.5 micrometers or less" "PM2.5 particles are air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, small enough to invade even the smallest airways. 
 
Where does particulate matter come from?
Primary particles: are emitted directly from a source, such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks or fires.
Secondary Particles form in complicated reactions when chemicals that are emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the atmosphere. These particles make up most of the fine particle pollution in the country.
Every day we come across headlines screaming in our face on the imminent dangers of the polluted air engulfing our surroundings.
We could probably go three weeks without food, three days without water, but it’s difficult to go beyond three minutes without air. We breathe almost 3000 gallons of air every day, but do we really know how clean it is? We know when food is dirty or water is impure but when it comes to air we do not realize how polluted it is because we cannot see it.
Particulate matter (PM), made up of very tiny solid and liquid particles, is a widespread air pollutant, present all around us. These suspended particulates are 25 to 100 times thinner than a human hair (which is why we can’t see it) and can travel into the respiratory tract, penetrate deep into the lungs and even into the blood stream and cause severe health damage. The coarser particles, between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (from about 25 to 100 times thinner than a human hair) are called PM10. The very fine particles, smaller than 2.5 micrometers (more than 100 times thinner than a human hair) are called PM2.5.
 
How can particulate matter affect us? 
Health : The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles, less than 10 micrometers in diameter, pose the greatest problems because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.
PM exposure has been linked to the following health problems:
 
 

 

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