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What are the sources of air pollutants?

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Air pollutants are added in the atmosphere from different sources. These include:

  1. Natural activities:
    Natural decomposition and fires, cyclones, volcanoes, storms produce dust particulates and different types of gases.
  2. Combustion of fossil fuel:
    > Burning of coal produces smoke, SO2 and hydrocarbons.
    > Combustion of petroleum, diesel and oils produce CO, CO2, smoke, carbon particles, leaded gas and hydrocarbons.
  3. Industries and factories:
    Industries are the major sources of air pollutants. They produce smoke, carbon particles, fumes, toxic gases and metallic particles such as Mercury, Lead and Cadmium.
  4. Agricultural sources:
    Agricultural activities release spores, pollen grains, biocides, hydrocarbons and organic phosphates in the atmospheric air.
  5. Automobiles:
    Various transportation system and vehicles produce dust, smoke and noise.
  6. Construction and demolition:
    Construction of roads, buildings add dust particles of cement and asbestos.
  7.  Nuclear activities:
    Nuclear tests, atomic explosions and atomic reactors produce radiations, heat, noise, and harmful gases.
  8. Other sources:
    Mists, Fog, Smog, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are added from different sources. H2S is produced by decomposition of organic wastes.
  9. Secondary air pollutants:
    Smoke, dust particles and different gases and different gases are primary air pollutants. These are produced from direct sources. Primary pollutants react photo-chemically with the contents of air and produce secondary air pollutants:
    eg. Acid rain, ozone, Peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), Fog, and smog, etc.
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