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What is Photochemical Smog & Its Reactions?

The earth has faced several dangerous problems with air pollution, such as smog. It is now commonplace that congested cities become polluted and want to breathe freely everyday.

Humans need clean air to breathe freely. But the increasing problem of smoke, fog and smog has made the earth a difficult place to live. Let’s look at photochemical smog, reactions, indoor air pollutants and ways to prevent smog.

London experienced acute smog for 19 and 20 daysWork century. The increase in air pollution has confirmed the “great smog of 1952” and killed 4000 people. Photochemical smog was discovered in the 1950s and has since been revealed for its dramatic effects, reactions and compounds.

Thus, the combustion of fossil fuels is a continuous practice and is more common than coal burning, resulting in worse air quality. Air pollution not only destroys our atmosphere, but the whole nature suffers at the hands of pollutant molecules.

What is photochemical smog?

Smog is formed by default when it mixes fog and smoke. On the other hand, when this kind of smog combines with certain types of pollutant molecules in the atmosphere, it reacts with photons of sunlight to become photochemical smog.

These photons cause chemical reactions with pollutants and convert them into mixtures of dangerous chemicals. This formula makes photochemical smog. Thus, photochemical smog consists of various harmful chemicals.

These chemicals are nitrogen oxides, ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), acyl peroxide nitrates, aldehydes and other secondary pollutants. Smog is produced when the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with nitrogen oxides present in the atmosphere.

Obviously, it looks in the form of a brown haze layer covering the atmosphere. In general, smog stands out in the morning and in the afternoon. Therefore, it is clear that during the morning hours, nitrogen oxides are released from the car engine.

Photochemical Smog Reaction:

Upon burning fossil fuels, nitrogen oxides NO and nitrogen dioxide NO2 are released. There are other sources of outdoor air pollution, such as volcanoes, wildfires, cars, industry, wind dust and fuel emissions.

Thus, nitrogen oxides react with water to form nitric acid. You can also react to sunlight to produce oxygen. Later, this oxygen reacts with molecular oxygen to produce ozone.

Thus, nitric acid is converted to acid rain or remains in smog form. In addition, most cities have been affected by pollution because they produce nitrogen oxides directly from their vehicles. Therefore, smog amounts are quite high in warm, densely populated cities, such as Los Angeles, the United States, Mexico City, Sydney, Beijing, and more.

Air Pollution Source:

As photochemical smog is a mixture of secondary and primary compounds. They are released directly or indirectly into the atmosphere through automotive, industrial and certain chemical reactions.

Photochemical smog has a tremendous impact on the atmosphere, and humans also struggle. Inhalation of contaminants may cause breathing problems. In addition to the increased level of smog in the air, it causes irritation to the eyes and lungs.

Studies show that most chemical pollutants present in air pollution are the result of emissions from coal burning and fossil fuel burning. Therefore, as these dangerous pollutants are released, photochemical smog reactions adversely affect human health due to poor air quality.

On the other hand, there are natural causes that can lead to smog production. It is emitted by volcanic eruptions or wildfires. These are actually more dangerous because natural emissions affect a wider range of air quality.

Photochemical smog reactions occur when the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with nitrogen dioxide (NO2). As a result of this reaction, nitrogen dioxide undergoes complex chemical reactions with hydrocarbons in pollutants.

Primary and secondary air pollutants:

In this way, the photochemical smog reaction produces a mixture of components. Mixtures of these components include ozone, nitric acid, aldehydes, peroxy acyl nitrate PAN. These are some of the secondary pollutants produced along with the primary pollutants.

Among these complex and dangerous chemicals, nitrogen dioxide NO2, ozone and peroxyacyl nitrate PAN are major threats to life. These contaminants produced as a result of photochemical smog reactions are called photochemical oxidants.

In addition, these photochemical oxidants have the property of reacting and oxidizing in the atmosphere. Thus, once they are exposed to air, they oxidize certain compounds inside. Surprisingly, these oxidants that do not oxidize normally react in the lungs of a person.

Best of all, this chemical is harmful to human and animal health, even in small amounts. With many diseases associated with breathing, visibility can be reduced. Photochemical smog reactions affect the respiratory tract due to air pollution.

Plants such as crops and trees, as well as humans and animals, suffer the worst changes due to these pollutants. Therefore, smog is a type of air pollution that has a dramatic effect on the human body and damages nature as a whole.

Indoor air pollution sources:

Among the photochemical smog contaminants and molecules described above, nitrogen oxides come from car and truck engines. On the other hand, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are produced in paints, gasoline and pesticides.

Here are some common indoor sources that have increased the air pollution in our lives.

  • Tobacco smoke is one of the main sources of indoor air pollution. Chemicals that inhale and exhale through pipes, cigars and tobacco. Therefore, environmental tobacco causes lung cancer, heart disease with lung cancer, eye diseases, nose and throat irritation.
  • Then carbon monoxide is released from chimneys, gas stoves, heaters, wood stoves and furnaces. This gas can be fatal and cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Pesticides are another major cause of indoor air pollution. It is used to kill unwanted organisms, so it can not be inhaled. Inhalation can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, because the pesticide constantly releases certain chemicals. It can also damage the central nervous system and kidneys.
  • Asbestos is another substance that, if inhaled, can cause abdominal or lung cancer. This material was used in the construction of houses, unconsciously released into the air, causing pollution.

How to prevent smog?

Smog is harmful to human health and can be fatal in the long run. But changing your lifestyle can help minimize your risk level. We all know that massive traffic on the roads is a major cause of dense smog in large cities. Research shows that 50% of smog was produced as a result of the release of gas from the vehicle.

Every year, you get more vehicles on the road and more smoke. Similarly, the burning of fossil fuels and coal in the industrial sector has greatly increased air pollution. This is very surprising that everyone prefers to travel through their vehicle rather than walking.

Moreover, the appropriate mechanisms for deforestation and tree cultivation exacerbated the situation. So air pollution is increasing at the same rate as the population. However, there are things you can do to prevent future smog and avoid the sudden impact of the next generation.

How to prevent the release of dangerous air pollutants:

We will tell you how to prevent smog by simply changing our lifestyle.

  • If you prefer to walk to the office or elsewhere without driving a vehicle, you can minimize smog. Public transport is also available in remote areas.
  • Regular car maintenance can improve gas mileage and reduce toxic emissions to some extent.
  • Use of low VOC paints can reduce the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • On the other hand, it’s a good idea to refuel your desired vehicle or other machinery during the night or day. This is another major change that can be brought to minimize photochemical smog pollutant production. In other words, this change in timing and time will eventually reduce the heating of the gas heating. And this also reduces ozone gas emissions.
  • You can also use electrical appliances instead of fuel or gas consuming appliances.
  • Using environmentally friendly consumer goods, you can reduce the emissions of pollutants and prevent smog.

Therefore, changing our behavior and lifestyle can minimize photochemical smog and its side effects.

Source: Flexiguru

I hope this article brought awareness of the damage caused by smog. It can also help individually to reduce the emissions of smog-producing elements. Therefore, this is the only way to prevent the smog that we inhale and keep the air clean every day. But this is only possible through a change of behavior in our lifestyle and a shift to a greener standard of living.