What is Smog?

Air pollution from factories can produce pollution.

Air pollution is particulate air pollution, characterized by poor visibility and a variety of human health problems. There are several types, including naturally formed volcanic smoke, or vog, and efforts have been made in many parts of the world to reduce the amount of smoke. What many people don’t know is that the most insidious part is often invisible, and specialized scientific instruments are needed to get an accurate picture of this pollution.

Pollution is threatening some famous structures like the Greek Parthenon.

The term was coined in 1905 when Harold Antoine des Voeux wanted to find a word to describe London’s unique heavy fog. He created a “mist” and “smoke” suitcase that was quickly publicized by several newspapers. The type des Voeux was describing was industrial pollution, caused by the combustion of materials such as coal. London has been plagued by this pollution for centuries, with many visitors to the city commenting on it throughout the ages.

Los Angeles is known for having photochemical pollution.

Another type is photochemical pollution, caused by a chemical reaction between oxygen, hydrocarbons, and other specific substances in the atmosphere. Under the right conditions, these particles oxidize, forming ozone and nitrous oxide. This is the type associated with cities like Los Angeles, caused by sunny days and numerous vehicular emissions.

Certain weather conditions are necessary for smog to form. The right weather is often accompanied by stagnant winds and an air inversion in which warm air presses on cooler air below, concentrating pollution close to the ground. Visibility can be obscured, as in the case of industrial types, or it can appear just hazy, in the case of photochemicals. When viewed from a distance, a concentration of photochemical smoke takes on a brownish orange color.

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Ozone is created when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from burning fossil fuels react with oxygen in the atmosphere.

Numerous people suffer from smog conditions, including children and the elderly. People with respiratory problems can also start to feel unwell, as this pollution is very strong for the airways. The mucous membranes of the eyes and nose can also become irritated, causing pain and discomfort. In addition, air pollution is harmful to plants and animals. Persistent pollution can damage crops and cause long-term health problems for pets and farms. Finally, it can become corrosive, damaging buildings and vehicles. Industrial pollution is especially notorious for this, and several important historic sites around the world, such as the Parthenon, are at risk of corrosion.

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