Environmental Chemistry

What are pollutants types and sources?

What are pollutants And examples?

Pollutants types sources and uses

Generally we can say that  a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil is called as pollutants.

The  pollutants severity

Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant.

  • It’s chemical nature.
  • It’s concentration.
  • It’s persistence.

These pollutants are being created and discharged to the environment by human.

The Pollutants and contaminants

As Pollutants are those substances which cause pollution while Contaminants are those substances that’s make something impure.

The  pollutants in air

The  pollutants in air  are those harmful substances present in air .

A beneficial substance may be harmful beyond the specific concentration

Air pollutants change the weather,  badly affect the human health, damage the plants and destroy building.

The pollutants in air types primary and secondry air pollutants

Major air pollutants are classified as;

  1. Primary pollutants
  2. Secondary pollutants

Primary pollutants

Primary pollutants are the waste or exhaust products driven out because of combustion of fossil fuels and organic matter. These are oxides of sulphur (SO2 and SO3), oxides of carbon (CO2 and CO)  oxides of nitrogen (NO)  hydrocarbon (CH4), ammonia and compounds of fluorine.

Secondary pollutants

Secondary pollutants are produced by various reactions of primary pollutants.  These are sulphuric acid,  carbonic acid,  nitric acid,  hydrofluoric acid,  ozone and proxy acetyl nitrate (PAN).

Sources of air pollutants sources of pollutants

Major constituents:

99% of atmosphere consist of (N2) nitrogen and O2 (oxygen)  gases.

Minor constituents

Other gases are minor constituent still they can have major effects on our environment.  Because atmosphere determines the environment in which we live, these minor constituents are safe upto a concentration limit. During the last  60 years in some areas this limit has been crossed considerably because of human activities.

Oxides of carbon

The following are the sources of oxides of carbon :

Volcanic eruption :

These two gases are emitted because of volcanic eruption and decomposition of organic matter naturally.

Combustion of fossil fuels :

However the major source for the emissions of these gases is combustion of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum and natural gas) . The burning of Fossil fuels in combustion engine of any type of automobile,  kiln of any industry, or open air fires.

Forest fires

The fire of forest and burning of wood also emit CO2 and CO.


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