Air pollution : A Hidden Menace
Answers to short questions
1. What accident took place at Bhopal in 1984?
Ans .. On December 2, 1984, lethal methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal leading to a deadly disaster. Thousands perished instantly and far greater number suffered debilitating diseases for the rest of their lives.
2. Why is it called an industrial accident?
Ans .. The accident happened in an industrial facility that was producing pesticides.
3. What were the tragic consequences of it?
Ans .. To escape the deadly gas leaking from the factory, people ran away. Tragically, it led to higher inhalation of the poisonous gas. Some 12000 people died, and far more number suffered ailments that crippled them for life.
4. How is air important for man?
Ans… Air is a vital input for the sustenance of our life. We need it at every moment so that our body gets oxygenated blood through the heart and lungs. Bad polluted air impirs our health and well being.
5. What is the major source of contamination of the human body?
Ans .. Undoubtedly, it is foul air that contaminates our system. Polluted air and food come next in the list of environmental dangers.
6. What is the composition of air ?
Ans .. Nitrogen, Oxygen are the major ingredients making up 78% and 21% respectively. Argon amounts to 1% and Carbon Dioxide is just about 0.03%.
7. When is air said to be polluted?
Ans ..When harmful components like fine dust particles, smoke, gases like Carbon monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide enter the air, we say the air is polluted. Apart from these gases, many toxic gases from chemical factories also enter the environment.
8. What fuels do the industries use ?
Ans .. Industries use coal, coke, furnace oil, wood, charcoal, and natural gas as fuel.
9. How does the released smoke affect man? The smoke gets inhaled, and as a result, the respiratory organs get adversely affected endangering health. Apart from this, the Carbon Dioxide in smoke directly contributes to Global Warming.
10. Why do thermal power stations cause more pollution?
Ans .. These plants are the worst offenders so far as atmospheric pollution is concerned. They release humongous quantities of Carbon dioxide, and ash to the environment
11. What are the other industries equally harmful for us ?
Ans .. Industries like waste processing, fertilizer factories, chemical manufacturing, bulk drugs, soaps and detergents etc. contribute to atmospheric pollution as they spew a cocktail of gases.
12. Why are the automobiles increasing on the road ?
Ans .. Higher income of people, increased need for mobility, relative affordability of cars, and a fancy for personal comfort drives the craze for cars. We can ascribe the proliferation of trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles to heightened industrial activity that necessitates quicker movement of goods and passengers at much higher level.
13. How do the automobiles contribute to air pollution?
Ans .. They burn fossil fuels like petrol and diesel that are rich in carbon. A lot of carbon dioxide and small amounts of Sulphur Dioxide is emitted by them through their exhaust pipes. This smoke pollutes the air.
14. What are the effects of air pollution on vegetable crops and trees ?
Ans .. Air pollution acts to the detriment of vegetable cops and trees. When exposed to polluted air for long duration, their growth becomes muted, and at times, they die.
15. How are buildings affected by polluted air?
Ans .. Buildings get discoloured , and their life also gets impacted.
16. What health problems are caused by polluted air ?
Ans .. A host of diseases afflict people inhaling polluted air. Starting from eye and skin allergy, toxic air corrodes the lungs and heart. Diseases like asthma, cough, TB affect the person.
17. How is air pollution responsible for increasing the temperature?
Ans .. The Carbon Dioxide entering the atmosphere tend to settle down on earth because of the fact that the gas is heavier than air. It forms a type of thermal blanket around the earth trapping the reflected sunlight. As a result, temperature on earth goes up. This is called Global Warming which has devastating effect on mother earth.
18. What harm can refrigerant do?
Ans .. Refrigerants like Chloroforocarbon (CFC)
escape into the upper layers of the atmosphere where they react with the ozone. Very quickly, the CFC molecules destroy the ozone leaving a hole in the protective ozone layer. Harmful ultraviolet rays enter the earth through this ole and cause havoc for the flora and fauna.
19. What is acid rain?
The raindrops falling on earth react with the Sulphor and Nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere and get converted to Sulphuric and Nitric acids. Such acidic rain devastates lakes, water bodies, crop, forests and buildings. Human beings when exposed to such rain water, suffer its harmful effects.
20. How is water affected by acid rain?
Ans .. [Same as above]
21. What is the impact of acid rain on soil?
[Same as above]
22. What are the ways to control air pollution?
Switching to electric vehicles, generating power from solar and wind sources in place of thermal, enacting strict laws against release of gases to atmosphere, and keeping our environment clean are some of the important ways to reduce air pollution.
23. How have different countries tried to check it?
Europe is the pioneer in combating air pollution followed by other industrialized countries. Strict laws against air pollution, massive development of alternate sources of energy are the bedrocks of their fight against air pollution.
24. How have the air quality programmes brought us benefits?
Ans .. We, in India, have taken only baby steps to improve air quality. So, the benefits are not so palpable. Nevertheless, we have taken steps to ban diesel vehicles in Delhi, downsized thermal power programmes, and pushed for switch to solar and wind power. All these have surely contributed to better air quality.
25. Why do we still need to find out better ways to control air pollution?
Ans .. Air is under constant and increasing threat because of the burgeoning population. So, our effort to curb air pollution has to be sustained, and energetic. Spreading awareness about polluted air will go a long way to drive research in this field, and make the government to enact proactive legislation to fight air pollution.
- Why does the oxygen level in the atmosphere get reduced ? What could be done for its consequences ?
Ans…. Higher level of human activity depletes the oxygen content in the atmosphere. Fossil fuels combine with atmospheric oxygen to form carbon dioxide. In the same way humans and other living beings consume oxygen. Curbing fossil fuel burning and large scale aforestation would help to arrest the fall of atmospheric oxygen..
- How do the chemical industries cause dangerous air pollution? What arw its far-reaching consequences?
Ans.. Most industrial plants emit gases some of which can be obnoxious. The paint manufacturing plants, tanneries and fertilizer plants, soap factories emit poisonous gases to the atmosphere. These gases, when inhaled over a long period, affect the health of people besides afflicting them with chronic diseases.
- How is acid rain caused? .
- Ans ..Sulphor and nitrogen oxide emitted by automobile exhausts and factories enter in the atmosphere as pollutants. These react with raindrops to form highly corrosive nitric and sulphuric acids.
. How does polluted air travel from one country to another?
Ans ….. Polluted air travels from one continent to another as clouds. In due course of drift of air, these clouds go from place to place.
. What steps can be taken to reduce the pollution caused by automobiles`? Is air pollution a global problem?
Ans .. Switching to electric vehicles, using natural gas as automobile fuel in place of diesel and petrol are the most effective ways to curb pollution by vehicles.
Air pollution is unquestionably the most pressing problem confronting the world. It affects human, animals and plants.
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