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Air Pollution
Mar 07, 2019

Air pollution, also known as air pollution, according to the definition of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), air pollution usually refers to: due to human activities or natural processes, certain substances enter the atmosphere, present sufficient concentration, enough time, And thus endangering human comfort, health and welfare or the environment.

In other words, as long as the quantity, nature and time of a certain substance are sufficient to affect humans or other creatures or property, we can call it air pollutants; and the phenomenon caused by its existence is air pollution.

On October 27, 2017, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer published a preliminary list of carcinogens. Outdoor air pollution is listed in a list of carcinogens.


The atmosphere is a mixture of a certain proportion of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and solid impurity particles. In terms of dry air, by standard, nitrogen accounts for 78.08%, oxygen accounts for 20.94%, rare gas accounts for 0.93%, carbon dioxide accounts for 0.03%, and other gases and impurities are about 0.02% by volume. Various natural changes often cause changes in atmospheric composition.

For example, when a volcanic eruption, a large amount of gas such as dust and carbon dioxide is sprayed into the atmosphere, causing volcanic eruption in the volcanic eruption area and poisonous gas; large-scale forest fires caused by natural causes such as thunder and lightning [2] will increase carbon dioxide and soot. Content and so on.

Source of pollution

The source of atmospheric pollution is the source of atmospheric pollutants, mainly the following:

(1) Industry: Industrial production is an important source of air pollution. Industrial production emits a wide variety of pollutants into the atmosphere, including soot, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, organic compounds, halides, and carbon compounds. Some of them are smoke and some are gases.

(2) Living stoves and heating boilers: A large number of civilian life stoves and heating boilers in the city need to consume a large amount of coal. In the process of burning, coal should release a large amount of dust, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other harmful substances to pollute the atmosphere. Especially in the winter, when the heating is used, the smog in the polluted area is often filled, and people are coughing. This is also a source of pollution that cannot be ignored.

(3) Transportation: Automobiles, trains, airplanes, and ships are the main transportation tools of the day. The exhaust gases from coal or oil are also important pollutants. In particular, the cars in the city are large and concentrated. The pollutants emitted by the exhaust gas can directly invade the human respiratory organs, and the air pollution to the city is very serious, which has become one of the major pollution sources of air in large cities. The exhaust gases emitted by automobiles are mainly carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. The first three substances are very harmful.

(4) Smoke from forest fires.


There are many types of air pollution, and more than 100 types of hazards have been found. Air pollutants can be classified according to their different chemical and physical properties:

(1) Reduced pollution: It often occurs in areas where coal and oil are used. The main pollutants are sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

(2) Oxidized pollution: automobile exhaust pollution and photochemical pollution caused by it.

(3) Petroleum pollution: mainly from automobile emissions, petroleum smelting and petrochemical plants, including nitrogen dioxide, olefins, alkanes, alcohols, etc.

(4) Other special pollution: mainly various chemical substances discharged from various industrial enterprises.


The main hazards of air pollution are as follows:

Harm the human body

The harm of air pollutants to the human body is multi-faceted. The main manifestations are respiratory diseases and physiological dysfunction, as well as mucous membranes such as the eyes and nose are stimulated and diseased. It is a chronic factor causing asthma in the elderly, and the lack of lungs leads to physical decline.

When the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere is high, it can cause acute pollution poisoning, or worsen the condition, and even kill thousands of lives in a few days. In fact, even if the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere is not high, the human body will breathe this polluted air for years, causing diseases such as chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, emphysema and lung cancer.

Among the latest rankings of deaths among urban residents in China, the National Health and Family Planning Commission ranks first in malignant tumor deaths, with lung cancer ranking first. The incidence of lung cancer in China is 27% higher than that of males and 22% in females.

Harm to plants

Air pollutants, especially sulfur dioxide and fluoride, are harmful to plants [10]. When the concentration of pollutants is high, it will cause acute damage to plants, causing damage on the surface of plant leaves, or directly causing leaves to wither and fall off; when the concentration of pollutants is not high, it will cause chronic damage to plants, causing plant leaves to chlorotic. Or, on the surface, no harmful symptoms can be seen, but the physiological functions of the plants have been affected, resulting in a decrease in plant yield and deterioration in quality.

Impact climate

The effects of atmospheric pollutants on weather and climate are very significant and can be explained in the following aspects:

1 Reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the ground: A large amount of soot particles emitted from the factory, power station, automobile, and home heating equipment into the atmosphere make the air very turbid, obstructing sunlight, and reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the ground. According to observations, in the days when smoke is not scattered in large industrial cities, the amount of sunlight directly shining on the ground is reduced by nearly 40% compared to the days without smoke. Cities with severe air pollution, every day, will cause people, animals and plants to grow and develop due to lack of sunlight.

2 increase the amount of atmospheric precipitation: particles from large industrial cities, many of which have the role of water condensation nuclei. Therefore, when there are other precipitation conditions in the atmosphere to match it, precipitation weather will occur. In the downwind areas of large industrial cities, precipitation is more [2].

3 Acid rain: Sometimes, the rainwater falling from the sky contains sulfuric acid. This acid rain is a pollutant in the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide is oxidized to form sulfuric acid, which is formed by the precipitation of nature. Sulfuric acid rain can destroy large areas of forests and crops, and can cause corrosion of paper products, textiles, leather products, etc., which can deteriorate the metal anti-rust paint and reduce the protective effect, and also corrode the pollution of buildings.

In the case of large industrial cities, the temperature of the near-surface air is higher than that of the surrounding suburbs due to the large amount of waste heat being discharged into the air. This phenomenon is called "heat island effect" in meteorology.

After research, it is believed that carbon dioxide plays a major role in various atmospheric pollutants that may cause climate change. About 50% of the large amount of carbon dioxide emitted from the numerous chimneys and other exhaust pipes on the earth into the atmosphere remains in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide absorbs long-wave radiation from the ground and increases the temperature of the air near the surface. This is called the "greenhouse effect." After a rough estimate, if the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere increases by 25%, the near-surface temperature can be increased by 0.5 to 2 °C. If it is increased by 100%, the near-surface temperature can be increased by 1.5 to 6 °C. Some experts believe that the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere will increase at a rate after 2000, which will accelerate the melting of ice in the Arctic and the Arctic, leading to global climate anomalies.

Specific case editing

A large amount of charcoal heating caused the death of Kangxi Qianlong

Kangxi Qianlong died in smog? Or because of a large number of charcoal heating to cause "disaster", the emperor also became an air pollution sacrifice, what is this ghost? The front-end media said that in fact, many Qing emperors such as Kangxi and Qianlong may have died in smog. Recently, Tan Jianwei, a cardiologist at the Jinghu Hospital in Macau, specializes in cardiovascular diseases. He published the book "The Anecdotes That Cannot Be Hear in History Lessons: Those Medical History You Don't Know" to analyze how ancient air pollution became the emperor's killer.

Tan Jianxuan’s reading history found that the Qing emperors, including Kangxi and Qianlong, died in Beijing’s cold winter. This is the most vulnerable level for cardiovascular disease caused by the silver-haired (elderly), and Beijing has been in history since the Yuan Dynasty. The famous smog is also one of the killers on the fire. [5]

Pollution situation editing

The impact of atmospheric pollution sources can be seen from both source strength and source height. Source strength refers to the rate at which pollutants are emitted. The concentration of the pollutant is proportional to the source strength, that is, the greater the source strength, the more serious the pollution.

Source height refers to the height of the source of pollution. Source height has a large impact on the concentration distribution of pollutants. In general, the further away from the source of pollution, the lower the concentration of contaminants, but for overhead sources, the situation is more complicated. Taking the chimney as an example, the concentration of ground pollutants is very low near the chimney, and gradually increases with the increase of the distance, and then gradually decreases after reaching a maximum value [2].

The current situation of air pollution in China is very serious. Mainly manifested as soot pollution. The concentration of total suspended particulate matter in urban atmospheric environment is generally exceeding the standard. Sulfur dioxide pollution has been at a high level. The total amount of exhaust pollutants emitted by motor vehicles has increased rapidly.

Measurement standard


The prevention and control of air pollution is a huge systematic project. It requires the joint efforts of individuals, collectives, countries, and even the whole world. The following measures can be considered.

Reduce pollution emissions

Reforming the energy structure and adopting non-polluting energy sources (such as solar energy, wind energy, and hydropower)

And low-pollution energy (such as natural gas), pre-treatment of fuel (such as desulfurization before burning coal), improved combustion technology, etc. can reduce the amount of sewage. In addition, before the pollutants enter the atmosphere, the use of dust removal and smoke elimination technology, condensation technology, liquid absorption technology, recycling technology to eliminate some of the pollutants in the exhaust gas can reduce the amount of pollutants entering the atmosphere. Plant purification method, China has been using vegetable source disinfection and sterilization for more than 3,000 years.

Self-purification ability

Different meteorological conditions, the atmosphere will have different capacities for pollutants, and the same amount of pollutants will be discharged, resulting in different concentrations of pollutants. For areas with large wind power, good ventilation, turbulent flow and strong convection, the atmosphere has a strong diffusion and dilution capacity, and more activities of factories and mines can be accepted. In areas and periods of inversion, the atmospheric diffusion and dilution ability is weak, and it is impossible to accept more pollutants, otherwise it will cause serious air pollution. Therefore, effective control of emissions should be carried out in different regions and at different time periods.

industrial area

Site selection, chimney design, urban and industrial zone planning should be reasonable, do not emit excessive concentration of the atmosphere, do not cause repeated superimposed pollution, and form serious pollution incidents in local areas.

Greening afforestation

The dense forest can reduce the wind speed and reduce the large dust carried in the air. The surface of the leaves is rough and uneven, some have fluff, and some can secrete mucus and oil, so they can absorb a large amount of dust. After the dusty leaves are washed by rain, they can continue to absorb the dust. This reciprocating blockage and adsorption of dust can purify the air.

Change fuel composition

The conversion from coal to gas is implemented. At the same time, intensify research and develop other new types of energy, such as solar energy, hydrogen fuel, and geothermal. This can also greatly reduce the pollution of soot.

starting from myself

Do not litter waste; travel as much as possible by bus, subway, reduce the use of private cars; participate in tree planting and other greening activities; install private gas vehicles with exhaust gas treatment devices, use lubricating oil to fully burn fuel, reduce harmful gas emissions.

Reduce smog weather and go out (according to the relevant explanation, Ozone is ozone, and PM2.5 refers to fine suspended particles below 2.5 microns in diameter, also known as lung particles, which are "healthy in the air" Killer. It causes extensive damage to the respiratory system, heart and blood system.)

Wearing masks (mask material, service life, technical level and other factors are the criteria for defining the quality of the mask. If consumers do not have special needs, they do not have to buy "concept masks" marked with various functions).

Suitable indoor cultivation of some green plants such as spider plants.

Pay attention to cleaning (deep cleaning of pores of dust, bacteria, the first line of defense to protect the body - skin).

Supplemental nutrition, appropriate through 100 micrograms of selenium, selenium is a "natural antidote" to enhance resistance.

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