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The Top Causes Of Poor Air Quality In Cities

Posted in Air Quality, on August 31, 2015

Is your area of residence associated with clean air or are you constantly experiencing poor air quality? Perhaps it's time you discovered the major sources of poor air quality. Air pollution originates from both human activities and nature while air pollutants originate from a wide range of sources in cities though they 're mostly the result of combustion processes. Today, the greatest cause of pollution in most cities is motor vehicles, and to a lesser degree industry. Urban outdoor pollution describes the pollution experienced by people residing around and in cities. This form of pollution can be a significant contributor to the indoor air quality, particularly in highly ventilated residences. Check out these major sources of poor air quality in cities.


Smog is a type of pollution that occurs in two forms: photochemical and sulfur. The term "smog" originates from a combination of "smoke" and "fog." Classic smog originates from huge quantities of burning coal in an area, and arises from a mixture of sulfur dioxide and smoke. Smog is a problem in various cities and continues to pose detrimental health effects. While smog is common in major cities, even those who reside in suburban areas need to recognize its dangers. In numerous urban areas, summer is linked to smog, which is particularly dangerous on hot days. Smog comprises ozone-a health-harming pollutant. Research has linked elevated ozone levels to various lung effects. Smog exposure may result in several varied kinds of short-term health issues due to the ozone effects on the lungs. Possible effects include:

  • Coughing and chest/throat irritation

High ozone levels can irritate the respiratory system. Typically, these kinds of mild symptoms can only last a few hours following exposure. However, ozone can continue harming your lungs even after the disappearance of symptoms.

  • Lung damage and difficulty breathing

Smog can cause difficulty in deep breathing, particularly during exercise due to the effects of ozone on lung function. Research also reveals that ozone exposure could cause damage in the lining of your lungs.

Industrial Pollution

In numerous industrialized cities worldwide, pollution from stationary industrial sources is a principal element of air quality management in urban areas. For instance, industry contributes approximately half of Canada's green house gas emissions and air pollution.


Mobile sources, for instance cars and airplanes cause air pollution through fuel evaporation and combustion. These emissions contribute considerably to air pollution and are the major source of air pollution in numerous urban areas. Emissions from road transportation contribute greatly to human exposure partly because their production occurs in close proximity to where huge populations reside. Various international and Canadian studies have linked transport-related pollution to poor health. Research has further linked traffic-related air pollution to various medical problems, for instance asthma in children and other respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, and increased incidences of premature death in grownups.

Carbon Monoxide

The production of the colorless and odorless gas occurs during the burning of fuels comprising carbon and in the presence of very little oxygen. Its formation also occurs when fuels burn at very high temperatures. In the existence of sufficient oxygen supply, most carbon monoxide generated throughout combustion undergoes immediate oxidation to carbon dioxide. While road transport is the principal cause of atmospheric carbon monoxide, smaller contributions originate from processes involving organic matter combustion, for instance in waste incineration and power stations. Bear in mind that the gas is toxic during inhalation since it merges with hemoglobin.

Sulfur Dioxide

The colorless and nonflammable gas has a penetrating odor that causes irritation of the air passages and eyes. It causes surface reaction on various airborne solid particles and is water-soluble. Common sources of the gas include smelting, combustion of fossil fuels, and production of sulfuric acid. Coal burning is the biggest man-made source of SO2, accounting for approximately 50% of global emissions annually. If you're curious about the common sources of air pollution in cities, this list will help shed some light. If you're experiencing air quality problems, kindly contact us for a solution (416) 414-5690

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