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Air is one of five basic natural ingredients of life system and also an inexhaustible natural resource. It is very essential for the survival of all the living organisms on earth. Air is a mixture of different gases; nitrogen, carbon and oxygen are the major components. Besides, the  above mentioned gases, small quantities of hydrogen, ozone, Nobel gases, oxides of nitrogen & sulphur, carbon monoxide, other organic and inorganic gases, aerosols and particulates which are emitted by various sources are dispersed in the atmosphere through diffusion. The normal composition of total volume of clean air present in atmosphere is as under:

Name of Gas

Amount (%)

 

Nitrogen

 

78.084

Oxygen

20.946

 

Argon

0.934

 

Carbon dioxide

0.0314

 

Methane

 

0.0002

Hydrogen

 

0.00005

Other gases

 

traces

Atmosphere is a dynamic system that continuously receives a wide range of solids, liquids and gasses from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Further, introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials harmful to human beings or other living organisms or which damage the natural environment cause pollution.

Air quality is a measure of the condition of air relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species or to any human need or purpose. Various contaminants continuously enter the atmosphere through natural and manmade processes and these contaminants interact with the environment to cause disease, toxicity, environmental decay etc. and are labelled as pollutant.

Major air pollutants from different sources

Source of Emission

Major Pollutants

Industries

Particulate matter, oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur, ozone, toxic chemicals, etc.

Vehicular exhaust

Particulate  matter, carbon monoxide,  hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, lead, etc.

Domestic Sources

Suspended particulate matter, carbon dioxide, NOx SO2

Development Works

Particulate matter, dust

Agricultural waste

Suspended particulate, burning matter, oxides of carbon, dust

Source: Status of Environment Report-2014, Punjab



References