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Ground Level Air Pollutants

cartoon dragon and air pollution

Questions

  1. What pollutants occur at ground level in our air and at what levels?
  2. What is the definition of a pollutant?
  3. What is the basic chemistry of acid rain? Which pollutants make acids?
  4. What are the levels of these polutants over time and how are these levels measured?
  5. What are the sources of these pollutants?
  6. What are the effects of these pollutants?
  7. What is AQI: Air Quality Index?

Lecture Notes

News Articles

Background Information

List of Major Air Pollutants

Take Away (Main) Points

  1. There are six main air pollutants.
  2. AQI: Air Quality Index is a way to tell the public about the quality of the air they breath.
  3. Emissions of all of the pollutants have decreased since 1970 when the Clean Air Act was put into effect.
  4. Air pollutants come from four main sources: transportation (cars and trucks mostly), factories (smoke stacks), fires and volcanos. We can't stop volcanoes.
  5. Pollutants last for different amounts of time in our atmosphere.
  6. Pollution leads to health problems.
  7. Some pollutants (sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) cause acid rain which kills forests and destroys ecological systems in lakes and rivers.
  8. Our EPA and our laws have made a big difference. We have worked as a society and succeeded in improving our air quality. Many other countries do not have the regulations that we do.
  9. Ozone is a pollutant if it is in the troposphere but it is a wonderful filter of harmful solar radiation if it is in the stratosphere.

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