Sources of air pollution

Lesson 15:Environmental pollution

Sources of air pollution

Many types of pollutants are released into the air from various sources. The major sources of air pollution are- automobiles, industries, burning of garbage and brick kilns. These sources release pollutants such as oxides of carbon, oxides of sulphur, oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons, ozone, chloroflouromethanes etc.

  • Automobile Pollution:Vehicles are mainly responsible for more than 80% of total air pollution. The major pollutants released from automobiles, locomotives, aircraft etc include carbon monoxide, unburnt hydrocarbons and nitrogen monoxide. Fuel combustion in automobiles also automobiles also produce nitrogen dioxide.


  • Industrial Air Pollution: Industries such as chemical industries, paper and pulp mills, cotton mills and petroleum refineries produce most air pollution. The cement factories emit dust which is potential health hazard. The burning of sulphur in coal or heavy oil in thermal power plants release sulphur di oxide in the air which combines with oxygen and water to form sulphuric acid in the atmosphere which is a health hazard. Besides, it produces acid rain.

  • Burning of garbage: Burning of garbage pollutes the atmosphere by emitting such gases as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter such as dust, smoke etc

  • The open burning of refuse & municipal incinerates are also responsible for air pollution. Biomass burning like fires produce nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere. Nitrogen dioxide is readily soluble in water and forms nitric acid, which falls out in the rain.

  • Brick kilns: Brick kilns use biomass or coal to burn bricks. Biomass and coal releases huge amount of carbon oxides and smoke and dust.
  • Airborne pollutants from other sources include insecticides, herbicides, radioactive fallout and dust from fertilizers, mining operations and livestock feedlots.
Last modified: Friday, 30 December 2011, 10:40 AM