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University of Toronto Mississauga
Pierre Desrochers

GGR333 Lecture 12 Intro: Many types of pollution (water, air, acid rain) Historical perspective: common misconception Air pollution is getting worse Peak: Greco-Roman Era Rome (city) Classical era Air pollution (wood) ~ 6000 yrs. Industrial revolution: (coal burning) Alkali factories o Hydrochloric acid emissions - Acid rain killed trees and crops - Streams and rivers polluted Context: But in some of worst places (Manchester) no movement against air pollution. WHY? Smoke = - Industrial progress - Employment - Prosperity Smoke was inevitable and innocuous accomplishment of meritorious act of manufacturing Clean air = poverty and starvation Can smoke be good for you health? Lancet 1892 editorial against London smoke 350 tons of sulphur thrown into air in one winter day Enormous amount of sulphurous acid generated from it Things also improve in US…even Pittsburgh. Air quality transition ~1900 o Cleaner energy sources (oil, hydro, natural gas, nuclear) o More efficient combustion technology (coal) o Electrostatic precipitation (US estimates of overall dust collection efficiency for power plants) -1960s smoke problems virtually solved in most common urban areas. In Short: air pollution is not a new phenomenon gotten worse and worse… (2) Energy and air pollution (fundamentals): main components Criteria pollutants: Definition: substances added to air by human activity that adversely affect environment Pollutants are in the form: o Gases; o small particles of solids (particulates) o Small droplets of liquid suspended in gas (aerosols) Criteria Pollutants: World bank… 1) Carbon monoxide (CO) Colorless Odourless Poisonous - Produced primarily in automobiles - Only health hazard when emissions highly concentrated (heavy urban traffic) 2) Sulphur oxides (mostly sulphur dioxides) Colourless Suffocating odour Mostly coal burning Severe health effects when concentration is high (killer smog) but harvesting effects 3) Particulates: (or total suspended particulates, TSPs) Particulate matter: Health effects: can worsen pre-existing heart and lung conditions Particulates (only 10% human- made, but concentrated in cities) Primary natural sources: Dust from dry soil Primary industrial – industrial smelters and electric power plants 4) Nitrogen oxides NOx exists in various forms NO (laughing gas) Nitrogen dioxide diNitrogen pemtaoxide Element oxidized (N) air (78% N) used in fuel combustion NO2 (especially) when combined with hydrocarbons photochemical smog - Ground level ozone responsible from smog’s ordour - Can damage plants - Can irritate the lungs Element oxidized (nitrogen) ~ air (78% N) used in fuel combustion NOx exists various forms o nitrous oxide (laughing gas) o Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) o Dinitrogen pentoxide 5) Ground level ozone (GLO) Ozone layer (stratosphere) protects us against ultraviolet rays from sun GLO not so good GLO ~ NO2 hydrocarbons and sunlight GLO rural > urban areas (high level of NO, in urban areas reacts… 6) Lead and heavy metals Particulates lead in air and results from – fossil fuel combination, metal processing industries and waste inceration. Health effects: if ingested accumulates
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