Photochemical Smog: A Breath of Toxic Air

What is Photochemical Smog?

Summer smog, often referred to as photochemical smog, A type of smog that forms when UV rays from the sun react with nitrogen oxides in the air.

Photochemical Smog
Photochemical smog creeps back on hot, still days- The Japan Times


Characteristics: This kind of smog is most frequently found in densely populated cities that are situated in very warm climates. It typically appears as a brown haze. Furthermore, the mornings and afternoons are when photochemical haze is most conspicuously seen.

Formation of Photochemical Smog

  • Chemical Reactions: Chemical compounds including sunlight, nitrogen oxides, and volatile compounds that form in the atmosphere as a result of air pollution cause photo emissions. Earth’s surface ozone and other atmospheric particles are often produced as a result of these reactions.
  • Primary Pollutants: Many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and nitrogen oxides, such as nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitrous oxide, are examples of pollutants that contribute to photochemical smog.
  • Secondary Pollutants: Aldehydes, tropospheric ozone, and peroxyacetyl nitrates (commonly referred to as PAN) are common examples of secondary pollutants that help to create photochemical smog.
Photochemical Smog
Photochemical Smog Formation

Causes of Photochemical Smog

Here are some factors that cause photochemical emissions:

  • Vehicle Emissions: Photochemical smog is also brought on by the gas emissions from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
  • Industrial Activity: Industrial activities that emit gases and other environmental pollutants into the air, soil and water, because they also end up in the air.
  • Poor Garbage Management: Photochemical smog may be caused by poorly managed polluting garbage in both urban and rural areas.
  • Air pollution: The amount of primary pollutants present in the atmosphere has a direct impact on the development of photochemical haze. In certain circumstances, it is also connected to the number of secondary contaminants.
  • Climate: Cities with high populations and locations in relatively warm climates are more likely to experience photochemical smog.
  • Population Density: Photochemical smog is most commonly seen in highly populated cities.

Effects of Photochemical Smog

  • Human Health: Photochemical pollution affects people in many ways. When internal chemicals mix with hydrocarbons, the molecules irritate the eye. Ground-level ozone can be very dangerous to humans. Reduced visibility and shortness of breath are two side effects of photochemical smog. Children, elderly people, those in their later years, and those with compromised lung function are especially susceptible to photochemical pollution.
The health effects of increasing smog
  • Environmental consequences: Photochemical haze has a variety of detrimental environmental effects. The nitrogen cycle is disrupted by atmospheric radicals because ground-level ozone cannot be removed.

Effects of photochemical smog on plants

Here are some effects of photochemical emissions on plants,

  • Sensitive Crops: Because some plants, including spinach, tomatoes, and tobacco, are very sensitive to ozone, photochemical smog can completely destroy these plants as well as other sensitive crops, trees, and other vegetation.
  • Leaf Damage: Ozone, PAN, and NO damage the lower surface of leaves, causing chlorosis, necrosis, spot-like lesions, and injuries. These are the three principal effects of photochemical smog.
  • Growth and Productivity: The growth and production of trees may be hampered by ground-level ozone.

Prevention and Control of Photochemical Smog

  • The Government controls: By regulating emissions from industrial and automotive sources, rules from the government can help reduce photochemical smog.
  • Public Awareness: By enticing people to cut back on their use of vehicles and take other steps to lessen air pollution, public awareness initiatives can aid in the reduction of photochemical smog.

Photochemical Smog in Cities

Cities at High Risk: Photochemical smog poses a serious threat to densely populated areas located in warm climates.
Successful Control Measures: Through a mix of governmental rules and public awareness initiatives, several cities have successfully eliminated photochemical smog.

How can we reduce photochemical smog?

Here are some ways to reduce photochemical smog,

Photochemical Smog
Air Pollutants Removal Using Biofiltration Technique
  • Transportation: Driving less and using alternate modes of transportation, such as walking, bicycling, carpooling, or public transit, can help minimize photochemical pollution. Regular auto maintenance, such as tune-ups, oil changes, and well-inflated tires, may increase fuel economy and lower emissions. Emissions can be further decreased by fueling vehicles at cooler hours of either day or night.
  • sources of energy: Utilizing renewable energy sources like solar energy or low-nitrogen fuels like natural gas can also assist reduce emissions.
  • Reducing emissions: Catalytic reduction may be used to reduce nitrogen oxide, which is another efficient method of reducing photochemical smog. Government rules may also be used to lower emissions from industrial and automotive sources.

Author: Mahvish ShamimHi, I am Mahvish Shamim. A chemist, and content writer. I love working with WordPress and doing it the right way. Also passionate about spreading awareness about the environmental crisis. Through my skills, I will deliver high-quality work.

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