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Introduction to Air Pollution

Learning By the end of this lecture,
Outcome student should be able to:

History of Air Pollution

Understand the concept of Air Pollution
Measurement unit

7 million premature deaths annually

Outdoor air pollution-caused deaths breakdown by disease:
40% ischaemic heart disease;
40% stroke;
11% chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
6% - lung cancer; and
3% acute lower respiratory infections in children.

Indoor air pollution-caused deaths breakdown by disease:

34% - stroke;
26% - ischaemic heart disease;
22% - COPD;
12% - acute lower respiratory infections in children; and
6% - lung cancer.

from the legal perspective

Pollution means any direct or indirect alteration of the

physical, thermal, chemical or biological properties of any
part of the environment by discharging, emitting or
depositing environmentally hazardous substances,
pollutants or waste so as to affect any beneficial use
adversely, to cause a condition which is hazardous or
potentially hazardous to public health, safety or welfare or
to animals, birds, wildlife, fish or aquatic life or to plants or to
cause contravention of any condition, limitation or restriction
to which a license under this Act is subjected.

- Environmental Quality Act 1974

Air pollution means the
presence in the atmosphere
of air pollutants or combination thereof
in such quantities and of such duration
as are or may tend to be injurious to:
human, plant, or animal life, or

Form of Air Pollution


Natural Anthropogenic
[Londons] inhabitants breath nothing but an impure and thick
mist, accompanied with a fuliginous and filthy vapour. Corrupting
the lungs and disordering the entire habit of their bodies
Industrial Revolutions
The Good
Rapid developments taking place in
the Industrialization program.

Shifted employment patterns to an

increasing emphasis on manufacturing
and Service sectors.

Increasing use of power driven

equipment began with the advent of
steam engine.

Life Improved
Industrial Revolutions
The Bad
Little attention to environmental

Development priorities superseded

virtually everything else.

Pollution increased

Harmful working conditions /new

risks & diseases
How do we
1. Air Pollution Episodes
and Accidents

5. Increased 2. Improvement in
Public 5 Major Science &
Awareness Technology

4. Environmental 3. Changes in society

Activism and economy
Air Pollution Episodes & Accidents
1948 Donora Smog.
Hydrogen fluoride and sulfur dioxide emissions from U.S. Steel killed
20 people and sickened 14,000 more in Donora, Pennsylvania

1952 Great Smog.

Sulfur smog covers London for 4 days. Responsible for
over 12,000 death (delayed death). Parliament enact the
1956 Clean Air Act to reduce coal burning and begin
serious air-pollution reform in England

1953, 1963, 1966 New York.

Responsible for series of death. In November 1953, smog
killed between 170 and 260 people in NYC; 10 years later
it killed 200; and in 1966 it killed 169.

1984 Bhopal Disaster.

More than 40 tons of methyl isocyanate leaks from Union Carbide
India Limited pesticide plant. Over 4,000 immediate death, 15,000
related death and hundreds of thousands permanently disabled
Todays Pollutions

Bloomerang report (November 2015)

The Guardian (January 2016)

Daily Nation (September 2016)

International Energy Agency (June 2016)

Refer: for real-time air pollution level

Improvement Science & Tech

As a results of air pollution episodes & accidents

and the public outcry, public policy initiated to find


1963, P.J. Lawther establish a relationship between sulfur

dioxide exceed 0.71 mg/m3 from daily mortality and morbidity
data. Motivates further studies on effects of specific pollutants
(i.e. PM, oxidants, CO, HC & NOx

1980, Air pollution meteorology and mathematical models

developed. Measuring instrument widely available

TODAY, Increasing number of research on controlling air

Todays Tech
Nanofiber as air filter

Adsorption media
discovered 2004

Carbon nanotubes Metal-Organic Framework

discovered by Ijima in 1991 First to be reported in 1998
Changes in Society and Economy

Population growth, industrialisation, Education: increased awareness on

increased wealth and changing social healthy lifestyles hence raised
attitudes were another major concerned on clean air & water
influence on air pollution programs
Environmental Activism & Public Awareness

Most people no longer worried about Activism organised events and

basic needs due to the changes in influenced authority to regulate
economy, hence air pollution become policies & laws (i.e. Earth Day)
a much greater concern

The Right to Breath

Before the Flood
Primary & Secondary Air Pollution
Primary pollutants - those emitted directly from identifiable sources.

Secondary pollutants - produced in the air by the interaction among

two or more primary pollutants, or by normal atmospheric constituents

NO + HC + O2 + sunlight NO2 + O3
Emissions, Transport & Receptors

Source emits pollutants to Sources
atmosphere Measurement

Pollutants transported, diluted Some pollutants are
and modified chemically or removed from the
physically in the atmosphere atmosphere by
natural processes

Finally reach receptor, where Effects on:
they damage health, property or Human Health
some other part of the Materials
environment Global Climate
Concentrations and Units

Commonly used unit for concentrations for air

pollution course.

Entity Unit Definition

Gases g/m3 - mass concentration

ppmv (or ppm) - volume mixing ratio
ppbv (or ppb) (or mass mixing ratio)
pptv (or ppt)
molecules/m3 - molecular concentration
Particles g/m3 - mass concentration
ppmm (or ppm) - mass mixing ratio
number/cm3 - number concentration

Concentrations and Units
In air pollution, mixing ratio is used to express gas
phase concentration.

amount of a substance
Mixing ratio is dimensionless Mixing ratio
total amount of mixture

Volumetric mixing ratios 10-6 L pollutant

ppm v
L gases
Mass mixing ratios ppm m
10-6 kg pollutant
kg gases
Occasionally mixed units are used
10-6 g pollutant

1000 L gases
Pollution Produced by Population

Controlling parameter:

Total Pollution Produced = C.r.a

Population size Pollution per

Per capita resource
(Unit: person) resource unit
consumption rate
(Unit: Resource unit per
person) (Unit: Pollution unit
per resource unit)

NASA satellites confirms that larger urban populations
results higher concentrations of air pollution. Pollution-
population varied due to differences in
industrial development,
per capita emissions and

NO2 (parts per billion)

in a city of 1 million people

NO2 (parts per billion)

in a city of 10 million people

Factor increase of NO2

United States Europe India China 24
The Carbon Majors Database
CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017
635 billions tons of GHG released by 100 companies
A new study
sinceconnects climate change
1850s, contributed impacts
to 71% of GHGto the emissions from Exxon,
Chevron and other large oil, gas and cement companies and their products.