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Causes, Impacts, and Solutions Against Dangerous Air Pollution: Smog

Updated on November 9, 2017

Evolution of SMOG:

The term “SMOG” was used in 1900’s for the first time to present a combination of smoke and fog. The type of smog people knew was a mixture of smoke and Sulphur dioxide. Today, Smog is something different. It is a dangerous type of air pollution that contains nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. When sunlight interacts with these dangerous chemicals, a ground level Ozone layer is generated which blankets many industrialized cities in winter season.

Major Sources & Causes of SMOG

There are two major sources of toxic gases, Combustion of Coal and automobile exhausts. Coal is burnt for power generation activities at industrial level for household needs and electricity requirements. Automobiles also generate high amount of toxic gases as products of fuel burning. Other sources of smog forming pollutants are factories, paints, hairspray, chemical solvents, plastic packing and charcoal starter fluids.

Smog severity is highly dependent upon the weather and geographical region of the city. It mostly affects the industrialized areas including highly populated areas, large metropolitan cities and heavy traffic areas. In Urban areas, half of the smog arises from cars, buses, boats and trucks.

The Ozone produced from the toxic gases cane be harmful or beneficial, depending upon the location of its production. Ozone produced high, above the Earth acts as a barrier against ultraviolent radiations and protects human health and environment. But the Ozone produced at ground level produces smog causing respiratory distress and burning of eyes

Impacts of Smog on Human life:

Smog is made up such a combination of deadly pollutants that can cause property damage, harm the environment and even human health. Ozone inhibits plant growth and damages forests and crops. It usually initiates health problems including asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, respiratory, eye irritation and reduced resistance to colds and lung infections. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is dangerous to breathe in high level of smog.

Exposure to Smog lead to several types of short and long-term diseases, these include

  • Coughing and throat or chest irritation: High levels of ozone in smog irritate the respiratory system, this irritation lasts for some hours after being exposed to smog.
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms: Exposure to smog can trigger the asthma attacks, for the people already suffering from it.
  • Difficulty breathing and lung damage: Smog makes it difficult to breathe deeply because of the effect of ozone on the function of lungs.

The affection rate of smog is different and some people are more susceptible to its adverse effects than others. All the people involved in outdoor activities are highly susceptible to smog effects. Physical activity causes to breathe deeply leading ozone into the lungs. Following people are sensitive to the effects of smog:

  • Children—Active children always have the highest risks of exposure to smog, because they spend most of the time playing outside. This is the reason children are more susceptible to asthma, a chronic respiratory disease than adults.
  • Adults who are active outdoors—Adults belonging to any age, involved in exercise or outdoor works are at higher risk from smog born disease.
  • People with respiratory diseases—People already suffering from asthma or other respiratory diseases are more likely to suffer from the effects of ozone. Such sensitive people will suffer even from lower level of smog than others.
  • People with unusual susceptibility to ozone—Sometimes healthy people with sensitive immune system are more likely to suffer from smog effects than other people.

Preventions and solutions against Smog:

As always said “Prevention is better than cure” in a similar fashion, prevention against Smog is much easier than the solutions take under consideration at government and economic level. Some of the possible preventions that could be taken are as follows:

  • Use masks while moving out of homes.
  • Leave homes just in case of emergency or urgent work.
  • Avoid kids and old aged people from playing or moving outdoors.
  • Arrange maximum seminars and awareness walks regarding Smog at academic and educational levels.
  • Minimize the use of cars and start using bicycles to promote health effectiveness and pollution free environment.

Solution at Government level:

Manufacturing smog capturing towers is the ultimate solution towards environmental pollution. Such towers are called “Smog vacuum cleaners” and China is one of those countries who have implemented this project successfully. It works on the ion technology, where the tower sucks small particles of pollution being positively charged. These particles are than attracted towards negatively charged plates. This process improves the air quality by 75% and stops the production of Ozone. The tower runs on about 14k watts, the amount required to run a boiler.

So, Smog is a pollution effect that is relevant to death. It is important not to take it easy and fight against it with complete will and power. Safe and healthy environment is a blessing, that should be appreciated and protected.

About Authors:

  • Miss Safa Khalid

BS (Hons) Bioinformatics

Department of Computer Science

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-38040, Pakistan

  • Mr. Aamir Khalid

BS (Hons) Information Technology

Virtual University, Pakistan

  • Miss Wafa Khalid

BS (Hons) Energy systems engineering

Department of Engineering

University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-38040, Pakistan

© 2017 Safa Khalid

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