What is Smog?- Definition, Causes, And Effect

What is Smog?

Smog is air pollution that reduces visibility. The term “smog” was first used in the early 1900s to describe a mix of smoke and fog. The smoke usually came from burning coal. Smog was common in industrial areas and remains a familiar sight in cities today. Today, most of the smog we see is photochemical smog.

Photochemical smog is produced when sunlight reacts with nitrogen oxides and at least one volatile organic compound (VOC) in the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxides come from car exhaust, coal-fired power plants, and factory emissions.

VOCs are released from gasoline, paints, and many cleaning solvents. When sunlight hits these chemicals, they create airborne particles and ground-level ozone or smog.

Ozone can be helpful or harmful. The ozone layer high up in the atmosphere protects us from dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, when ozone is near the ground, it is harmful to health.

Ozone can damage lung tissue and is particularly dangerous for people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Ozone can also cause itchy, burning eyes.

Smog is unhealthy for humans and animals and can kill plants. Smog is ugly too. It makes the sky brown or gray. Smog is common in large cities with lots of industry and traffic. Cities in basins surrounded by mountains can have smog problems because the smog is trapped in the valley and cannot be carried away by the wind.

Los Angeles, California, and Mexico City, Mexico both have high levels of smog, partly due to this type of landscape.

Many countries, including the United States, have laws in place to reduce smog. Some laws contain restrictions on what chemicals a factory can release into the atmosphere or when the factory can release them.

Some communities have “Burn Days” where residents can burn litter-like leaves in their garden. These limit values ​​for chemicals released into the air reduce the amount of smog.

Smog

What are the causes of the smog?

Ground-level ozone is created when sunlight reacts with certain chemicals that come from sources of burning fossil fuels, such as factories or car exhaust. When particles in the air combine with ozone, they create smog. Smog is a type of air pollution that looks like smoky fog and makes it difficult to see.

1. Using Coal as a Fuel

The use of coal as a fuel in heating or power plants releases high concentrations of sulfur oxides into the atmosphere. The effects are made worse by high concentrations of suspended solids in the air and moisture. Burning coal also creates significant amounts of smoke, resulting in smoggy environments.

For example, coal-induced smog was widespread in London until the Middle Ages of the 20th century. In China, Harbin, coal-induced smog contributed to the closure of roads, schools, and airports in the fall of 2013.

2. Vehicular and Industrial Emissions

Emissions from the transport sector, which are caused by the burning of fossil fuels in cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and boats, are the main contributors to the formation of smog. Most of the smog formed in large cities is due to traffic emissions.

The industrial processes use a large number of fossil fuels and resources that must be extracted for the manufacture of materials and goods. Therefore, industries cause harmful gaseous emissions and fumes alike, which are released into the atmosphere, leading to the formation of smog.

The main precursors are nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, vapors, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons. These substances react with moisture, heat, sunlight, and ammonia, among other things, to form the toxic fumes, particles, and ground-level ozone that make up smog.

3. Overpopulation & Excessive Consumption

The world population has grown significantly in the last few decades. This also means an enormous increase in consumption and emissions.

We cannot blame the industry alone for the smog problem. It is our overpopulation and consumer behavior that is responsible for excessive smog in our atmosphere. The industry is just trying to meet our requirements.

Since the industrial revolution, machine production has significantly reduced the unit price of material goods, and our consumption has increased significantly as well.

Hence, people can now afford many material things. Since all of these goods have to be manufactured in industrial processes, this also means the emission of harmful gases into our atmosphere. Our consumer behavior, therefore, plays a major role in the formation of smog.

4. Excessive Waste Production

Our excessive consumption is the main cause of the generation of large amounts of waste. To get rid of this waste, a significant part of it is burned, which leads to the emission of harmful gases into our atmosphere and turns into smog.

5. Fireworks

Although the occasions for the use of fireworks are rare, a single night of fireworks can result in enormous air and particle pollution, which leads to significant smog. This is especially true on Diwali or New Year’s Eve when a large number of fireworks are used and large cities are covered with a thick layer of smog.

6. Burning of Agricultural Material

In some countries, burning the agricultural field can also contribute to the smog problem. For example, to get rid of old crops and waste from farming practices, farmers often burn them as it is a convenient way to go.

Smog in Delhi, the capital of India, is attributed exclusively to Crop Fires. Around tens of thousands of farmers in the northern Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh used to set their fields on fire with old rice stubble to grow wheat. The practice was banned as it contributed to the mounting pollution crisis in nearby Delhi and across northern India.

The burning of agricultural materials containing ammonia, pesticides, and fertilizers usually implies the emission of gases into our atmosphere, which in later stages turn into smog.

7. Construction Activities

Smog can also occur due to construction activities. A large amount of dirt and dust particles get into the air, especially in areas with a high construction density. This, in turn, can lead to the formation of smog and the associated adverse effects.

8. Natural Causes

Smog can also occur due to natural causes such as a volcanic eruption and some specific effects on plant life. The volcanic eruption releases high concentrations of sulfur dioxide and particles into the air, the two main components for smog formation.

It is believed that levels of radiocarbon from certain plants cause smog in some places. For example, the creosote bush in Los Angeles is linked to smog in the area.

What are the effects of Smog?

Smog can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. Or it can worsen existing heart and lung problems or perhaps cause lung cancer with regular long-term exposure. It also results in early death. Studies on ozone show that once it gets into your lungs, it can continue to cause damage even when you feel fine

Smog is made up of a combination of air pollutants that can endanger human health, harm the environment and even cause property damage.

Smog can cause or worsen health problems such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other breathing problems, as well as eye irritation and decreased resistance to colds and lung infections.

The ozone in the smog also inhibits plant growth and can largely damage plants and forests

Who Is Most at Risk From Smog?

Anyone who engages in strenuous outdoor activities, from jogging to handicrafts, can have smog-related health effects. Physical activity makes people breathe faster and deeper and expose their lungs to more ozone and other pollutants. Four groups of people are particularly sensitive to ozone and other air pollutants in smog.

  • Children: Active children are most at risk of smog as children spend a lot of time outdoors. As a group, children are also more prone than adults to asthma, the most common chronic disease in children and other respiratory diseases.
  • Adults who are active outdoors: Healthy adults of all ages who exercise or work outdoors are at a higher risk of smog.
  • People with respiratory diseases: People with asthma or other chronic respiratory diseases are more sensitive and susceptible to the effects of ozone. As a rule, side effects occur sooner and with less exposure than in less sensitive people.
  • People with unusual susceptibility to ozone: Some otherwise healthy people are simply more sensitive to the pollutants in the smog than other people and can have more harmful effects on their health from exposure.

Elderly people are often warned to stay indoors on days with heavy smog. Older people, given their age, are unlikely to be at increased risk of the harmful effects of smog. However, like all other adults, older people are at a higher risk of smog if they already have respiratory problems, are active outdoors, or are unusually prone to ozone.

FAQs.

What is Smog?

Smog is air pollution that reduces visibility. The term “smog” was first used in the early 1900s to describe a mix of smoke and fog. The smoke usually came from burning coal. Smog was common in industrial areas and remains a familiar sight in cities today. Today, most of the smog we see is photochemical smog.

What are the causes of smog?

Ground-level ozone is created when sunlight reacts with certain chemicals that come from sources of burning fossil fuels, such as factories or car exhaust. When particles in the air combine with ozone, they create smog. Smog is a type of air pollution that looks like smoky fog and makes it difficult to see.

What is the effect of smog?

Smog can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. Or it can worsen existing heart and lung problems or perhaps cause lung cancer with regular long-term exposure. It also results in early death. Studies on ozone show that once it gets into your lungs, it can continue to cause damage even when you feel fine.

What is smog made of?

Smog, formed mainly above urban centers, is composed mainly of tropospheric ozone (O3); primary particulate matter such as pollen and dust; and secondary particulate matter such as Sulphur oxides, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and ammonia gas.

What is smog and its effects?

Smog is composed of a mixture of air pollutants that can endanger human health. Various human health problems such as emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung infections, and cancers are caused or exacerbated by the effects of smog.

Why is smog harmful?

When inhaled, smog irritates our airways, increasing our risk of serious heart and lung diseases. These health risks are why many cities monitor smog levels. On a high ozone-alert day, for example, your eyes and throat may burn, and you may cough and wheeze.

Why is it called smog?

Smog, of course! Smog is a type of air pollution caused by tiny particles in the air. The word comes from a mixture of the words smoke and fog and was first used to describe the hazy mixture of smoke and sulfur dioxide produced by the burning of large amounts of coal in London in the early 1900s.

Which disaster is related to smog?

Great Smog of London, lethal smog that covered the city of London for five days (December 5–9) in 1952, was caused by a combination of industrial pollution and high-pressure weather conditions. This combination of smoke and fog brought the city to a near standstill and resulted in thousands of deaths.

What are the two types of smog?

Sulfurous smog and photochemical smog are two distinct types of smog recognized so far. Sulfurous smog, also known as London smog, develops due to the high concentration of sulfur oxides in the air.

What are VOCs in air?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. Once these chemicals are in our homes, they are released or “off-gas” into the indoor air we breathe.

How can we prevent smog?

On Days when High Particle Levels are Expected, take these Extra Steps to Reduce Pollution:

  • Reduce the number of trips you take in your car.
  • Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
  • Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.

What kind of colloid is smog?

Smog is a colloidal mixture (aerosol) of liquid and solid particles dispersed in a gas.

Where is smog most common?

Smog is common in big cities with a lot of industry and traffic. Cities located in basins surrounded by mountains may have smog problems because the smog is trapped in the valley and cannot be carried away by the wind.

Is smog made of ozone?

Ozone is a gas composed of three atoms of oxygen. Ozone occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant, because of its effects on people and the environment, and it is the main ingredient in “smog.” Learn more about air emission sources.

What type of mixture is smog?

The correct answer is Gas mixed with a liquid and a solid. It is the term derived from two words smoke and fog. It is a kind of intense air pollution.

How many types of smog are there?

At least two distinct types of smog are recognized: sulfurous smog and photochemical smog. Sulfurous smog, which is also called “London smog,” results from a high concentration of sulfur oxides in the air and is caused by the use of sulfur-bearing fossil fuels, particularly coal.

What is fog and smog?

Fog is formed when the water vapor in the air condenses and the resulting water droplets just stay in the air, engulfing the air with a whitish layer of what we know as fog. This also reduces visibility. Smog is a combination of fog and smoke.

What are some examples of smog?

Smog is a mix of fog and smoke or a layer of polluted air. An example of smog is a low-lying yellow or brown layer of air. (archaic) A noxious mixture of fog and smoke.

Is haze and smog the same?

The word Smog is formed by combining the words “smoke” and “fog” but Smog is not a result of just “smoke” and “fog”. Smog is similar to Haze except the particles are a result of industrial pollution and emissions from combustion engines.

Is mist and smog the same?

Mist and fog are caused by water droplets in the air, and the only difference is how far you can see. Haze is the reflection of sunlight off air pollution, while smog is what happens when pollution causes low-lying ozone.

Why is smog caused?

The atmospheric pollutants or gases that form smog are released into the air when fuels are burnt. When sunlight and its heat react with these gases and fine particles in the atmosphere, smog is formed. It is purely caused by air pollution.

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