Even though the Covid pandemic has made air pollution decrease substantially in some areas, air pollution remains a major concern nowadays. It is a challenge we as society have been tackling for many years now.
Air pollution is the presence of dangerous substances in the atmosphere in concentrations high enough and for durations long enough to cause harm or undesirable effects. Chemicals, dust, suspended particles and gases, among others, pollute the air we breathe every day.
The emissions of gases can be caused by natural or human factors, but only the gases generated by human activities, such as industry and transportation, may be subject to reduction and control.
Which gases cause air pollution?
The gases that cause the most air pollution are Nitrogen oxide (NOx), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Carbon dioxide (CO2), Sulphur oxide (SOx), dioxines and furans, etc.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
- NOx: Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen during combustion at high temperatures. They are typically found in areas with heavy traffic, such as in large cities, where the amount of nitrogen oxides emitted into the atmosphere as air pollution can be harmful for people and the environment, since it can cause headaches, breathing problems, eye irritation, etc. Indirectly, it also affects humans by harming plants and animals around us.
- VOC: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. VOCs emissions are one of the biggest environmental problems nowadays, since global warming generated by VOC emissions is 12 times higher than that produced by CO2. VOC can be originated both anthropogenic – that is, human-made – as well as naturally occurring. Examples of VOC are Methane (CH4), Hydrocarbons, Chlorofluorocarbons, etc. and are generated in large quantities mostly during industrial production processes when alcohols, paints and solvents are applied.
- CO2: Carbon dioxide comes from various types of combustion in industrial and domestic environments, from power plants and transport, whereas carbon monoxide is a type of gas that is naturally present in the air, as it comes from methane. However, it is transformed into CO2 over time. Both gases have the Greenhouse Effect as a direct consequence, and therefore influence on current Global Warming.
- SOx: Sulphur oxides, such as Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and Sulphur trioxide (SO3). Sulphur Dioxide is produced from the combustion of coal or oil. SO3 is generated from SO2, with Sulphur trioxide being the cause of acid rain. Even though coal is falling into disuse and vehicle fuels are becoming more sophisticated, the emission of those gases into the atmosphere by the industry still remains very high.
- Dioxins and furans: Dioxins and furans are common names for toxic chemicals that are found in small amounts in the environment, including air, soil and water. The largest source of dioxins and furans is usually the burning of municipal and medical waste, although other major sources include fuel burning and electrical power generation.
Tecam contributes to air pollution control thanks to emissions elimination technology, specifically those of an industrial origin. We are specialists in the treatment of VOC emissions, NOx and SOx, among many others, through the development of turn-key environmental projects worldwide.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any environmental challenge you’d like to discuss with us – we’ll be happy to help.