The Air Pollution Sources

The Air Pollution Sources

September 7, 2020
There are two main pollution sources: indoor sources (commonly referred to as house hold), and outdoor sources (known as individual sources).

The types of outdoor pollution vary greatly, ranging from pollution caused by vehicles on the road, trash burning, or vegetation burning. Indoor pollution can be caused by fuel, a gas stove, or other equipment used in cooking or heating the home. It can also be caused by fuel burned in industrial processes such as manufacturing or transportation, which can increase air pollution due to the formation of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the air.

Indoor Pollutants, commonly referred to as "hot-spots" or "hot-off-the-oven fumes" include:

  • CO2.
  • CO.
  • Methane.
  • Sulfur Dioxide.
  • VOCs.


This can be emitted from furnaces, stoves, and other equipment in the home. If you have a fuel-burning stove, the NO2 can get trapped inside.


Formaldehyde (a potent smelling) in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The rise of VOCs in indoor environments has made it difficult to know the source. A study found that about 37% of VOC's came from new building construction and 13% from residential construction. VOC's from used motor oil and cosmetics were the next most common sources of indoor VOCs.


When flammable solids (like wood, plastics, paper, and other combustible materials) burn, they produce methane gas. If these materials are heated up, they emit both CO2 and Methane.

Sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide is emitted when harmful materials like paint, carpets, and floors burn.


VOC's are used to give products their scent and typically come from solvents (like paints, glue, cleaning products, varnishes, paints, lacquers, and adhesives). Not all VOCs are hazardous, but they are harmful. VOC's do not have to come from solvents or paint.

Examples of VOCs that can come from materials that are not solvents include:

  • Wood-based finish, finishes, products, sealants, and inks.
  • Compounds used to manufacture new or refurbished paint.
  • Chemical solvents used in textile finishing, printing, rubber, and plastic production.
  • Milk or meat products.
  • Recycled cars.
  • Plastic containers.

These Gases contribute a lot with Air Pollution

Even though there are many sources of VOCs in indoor environments, they are the cause of up to 90% of our exposure to them in everyday life.

Workers in factories, mills, and other manufacturers of combustible materials are the main source of these gases.

These gases are also produced during the production of metals and paints, the production of plastics and vinyl, paints, linoleum, leather, glue, varnish, and various household products.

VOC's are especially dangerous to children and those who suffer from asthma.

Air Pollution

Pollution Causes Allergy

There are a lot of indoor pollutants that can cause allergic reactions in your body. As an example, black mold is caused by the smell of fuel or petroleum-based substances used to heat a home. This causes allergies and allergy-like symptoms such as runny eyes, itching, and sneezing.

Poor Air Quality Causes Lung Problems

Because of the problem of bad indoor air quality, asthma can also be caused.
Since indoor air pollutants are emitted on a very small scale, the use of air purifiers is very important in order to protect your health. Air purifiers will filter the pollution particles from the air.

Pollution Causes Cholera

The pollution caused by industrial processes like mining and oil refining can cause cholera. Cholera is an infection caused by the ingest of contaminated food or water that causes the destruction of red blood cells and gastrointestinal problems. The smell of sulfur and the heat are very dangerous to the health of your family.


Pollution Causes Dizziness and Sickness

Some pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, and sulfur dioxide, are very harmful to the human body. These pollutants are generated from the burning of fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas in your home. As soon as these pollutants get in your air, you will feel dizzy, tired, and sick.

High levels of these pollutants can also cause health problems such as poor concentration, headaches, poor smell, abdominal pain, and upset stomach. These symptoms are very likely to occur in your home.

High Pollution Levels Kill Hundreds

Pollution causes lung cancer, hypertension, and heart diseases. These pollution-related diseases have been reported to kill over a hundred people in China every day.

The air quality in China is very bad. The highest air pollution levels are located in Beijing and Shandong Province. These cities have major economies, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong. They are mainly used as industrial and manufacturing hubs. In these industrial and manufacturing hubs, toxic emissions are continuously released, causing toxic pollution.

When the air pollution levels go above 500 micrograms per cubic meter, the air quality is severely polluted. The National Environmental Monitoring Center stated that the pollution concentration level in Beijing in 2016 reached more than 700 micrograms per cubic meter.

The pollution level in Shandong Province is also very high. The concentration level in Qingdao reached over 1000 micrograms per cubic meter. In these cities, the daily traffic shows a staggering growth rate of 30% annually.

Beijing has been dealing with a haze for many years. In recent years, the thick haze has even made it difficult to see the sun clearly, or even the moon. The bad air also hurts the respiratory system, seriously reducing one's health.

Another side effect of the high air pollution levels are thousands of premature deaths. The Air Pollution Control Centre of Beijing reported in 2016 that the premature death rate in Beijing was 30.2%, exceeding the average Chinese rate of 15%.

The public can take various measures to deal with the smog. They should wear masks in polluted areas, set the air conditioner at high levels, take public transportation, and avoid outdoor activities. The most important thing is to drive less and avoid the worst-polluting vehicles.

Pollution Sources

Global Warming and the Beijing Smog

Climate change is a prominent issue in modern society. In recent years, China's air pollution has been getting more serious. One of the reasons for the worsening of Beijing’s air quality is rapid global warming.

According to scientists, the average temperatures of China's environment has been rising rapidly over the past 30 years. This fact was confirmed by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which took effect in November 2016. As a signatory of the treaty, China is required to implement its own climate policy from 2020, and prepare its own mitigation strategy to peak its emissions by 2030.

Another reason for the smog and climate change is that human activities have destroyed the natural environment and worsened the problem. Human activities like industry, waste, and transportation have formed the main cause of the Beijing smog. Beijing is one of the world's most polluted cities. China's total emissions were put at more than seven billion tons in 2010, equivalent to more than one-third of the world's total emissions.

According to Greenpeace, China has the largest number of vehicles in the world. Beijing alone has more than 1.3 million vehicles. In 2016, 7 million tons of high-polluting sulfur dioxide and other emissions were released by the world's 25 biggest cities. Some of the main pollutants include nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ammonia, and sulfates.

Causes of Pollution

Like China, many other countries are affected by air pollution.

Facts and figures suggest that rising air pollution may contribute to health issues and environmental damages. As the global population grows, air pollution will also increase with it. And even if the current air pollution can be overcome, future generations will not benefit from it. Even though China has been actively improving its air quality since the beginning of its economic development, it still remains one of the most polluted countries in the world.

Not only Beijing, but many other countries, such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, the U.S., Japan, and the UK, face air pollution challenges. However, some of these countries, such as India, and the UK, are also among the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Therefore, we cannot say that air pollution is just a Chinese problem.

How can this be overcome?

  1. reduction of air pollution sources,
  2. improvement of air pollution control system,
  3. effective transfer of technology to developing countries, and
  4. active cooperation between countries.

Efforts to reduce air pollution sources may include using cleaner coal and replacing older and more polluting cars and industrial equipment with new ones that meet emission standards. The largest emissions of carbon dioxide from China, the U.S., India, and the UK come from the combustion of coal in the coal-burning power plants. These countries have already taken many steps to reduce this pollution and they have invested in cleaner coal generation plants and advanced air pollution control technology. However, these countries are also under pressure to cut emissions from other sources, and therefore, are also focusing on coal-fired power generation.

Improvement of the air pollution control system in the four major countries should require coordination and cooperation between government and industry to make air pollution control improvements, taking into consideration the national priorities.

This means that there is a need for a serious review of and better guidelines for emissions of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants as well as the combined effects of those emissions on human health.

Decarbonisation by power generation, with a range of sources that can provide reliable energy, is an important aspect of sustainable development, particularly in developing countries that lack the technical, economic, political, and institutional capacity to expand wind and solar power.

Wind Power

Other important aspects of sustainable development include environmental and ecological restoration, enhancement of biodiversity, preservation of ecosystems and wilderness areas, and minimizing the destruction of natural habitats.

In a globally interdependent world, many sustainable development efforts touch on the environment, social justice, and the empowerment of women.

Sustainable development is often associated with a vision of world poverty reduction.

Often, within this vision, there is an underlying goal of a world without poverty or an 'ecological civilization', both of which are referred to as sustainable development by the founders of the concept.

This development can be by designing business models, standards, laws, and policies for a healthy economy, sustainable environment, and healthy populations.

These sustainable development goals often serve as overarching goals for governments or international bodies with goals and initiatives for sustainable development.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals seek to achieve a set of standards that would lead to a better life for everyone on Earth by 2030.

Through these goals, the UN has set up a system of international reporting, making this a global process.

However, each country has the ability to decide whether or not they wish to adhere to these goals.

Overall, it can be seen that the goals are to help decrease poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, and many other global issues.

After knowing all these data...

What do you really think about pollution and what would you do to change it?