Air Pollution

7.3  Air Pollution


Air pollution is a situation which involves the presence of any pollutants in the air


Sources of air pollutants
Sources Pollutants

Open burning


Forest fires

 Dust, soot, smoke

Construction sites

Asbestos factories

Limestone quarries

 Dust and soot

Agriculture and plantation activities

 Aerosol spray, chemical fertilisers



Aerosol sprays

Electronic factories

 Chlorofluororcarbon (CFC)

Nuclear power plants

 Radioactive materials

Exhaust of vehicles


 Smoke, soot, dust, carbon monoxide


Causes and effects of air pollution


  • Smoke and dust can cause breathing problems
  • Sulphur dioxide can cause respiratory problems
  • Carbon monoxide can cause headache, mental retardation and death
  • Asbestos particles can cause lung cancer
  • Lead particles can cause intellectual disability among children and babies

Buildings and infrastructures

  • Dust and soot stain buildings
  • Acid rain corrodes concrete and limestone buildings
  • Acid rain speeds up iron rusting

Plants and animals

  • Acid rain makes the soil acidic and less fertile
  • Acid rain makes the source of water acidic and not suitable for aquatic life
  • Smoke and haze decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth and decrease the rate of photosynthesis


  • Smoke from factories, vehicles and open burning lead to haze
  • Excessive carbon dioxide contributes to greenhouse effect
  • Excessive chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) causes the thinning of the ozone layer
  • Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide cause acid rain


Ways to prevent and control air pollution

Law enforcement

  • Fine smokers who smoke at restricted areas
  • Fine individuals who conduct open burning
  • Fine drivers whose vehicles emit excessive smoke
  • Prohibit factories from being built at housing areas


  • Educate students about the effects of air pollution and ways to prevent it
  • Organise anti-smoking campaigns
  • Encourage the public to walk or ride bicycles
  • Encourage the usage of public transport or car pooling

Science and Technology

  • Implement hybrid technology in vehicles
  • Choose refrigerators which use hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) instead of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)
  • Install filters in smoke chimneys at factories
  • Use catalytic converters on vehicles
  • Replace the use of pesticide with biological control to control pest