Lower Atmosphere Pollutants

Identify the main pollutants found in the lower atmosphere and their sources
  • Pollutant: A substance that has a deleterious effect on the natural environment.
  • There are a great number of pollutants in the troposphere, and these are derived primarily from:
    • The combustion of fuels in power stations and vehicles.
    • The smelting and purification of metals.
  • More specifically, the tropospheric pollutants and their sources include the following:
Pollutant Source(s)
Carbon monoxide Incomplete combustion of fuels
Sulfur dioxide • Combustion of fuels containing sulfur impurities.
• Roasting of sulfide ores.
Nitrogen Oxides Combustion of fuels at high temperatures
Hydrocarbons • Unburnt fuel from vehicles
• Factories using solvents
Particulates • Incomplete combustion of fuels
• Dust storms and earthmoving
Lead • Combustion of leaded petrol
• Lead smelting
• Renovations of houses with lead paint
Ozone Interaction between sunlight, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides