Photochemical Smog


In the modern world, we are producing a hundred tons of waste every hour. Humans are polluting the rivers, the sea, and even the forest. This all eventually leads to the pollution of air at the end of the day. Polluting our atmosphere is the worst we can do to our earth. It’s the only source of oxygen, and if the pollution increases in the air, it gets tough to breathe. Many children and old age individual will start having breathing problems who are already suffering from bronchitis and asthma. 

Many metropolitan cities are now facing the issue of smog. Its a mixture of smoke which it gets stuck in the air with the fog in the winter season. It is dangerous as it disrupts the ground-level ozone, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide, which is harmful to our senior citizens. Today we are going to study about how we can stop the smog pollution. What is photochemical smog while finding out how photochemical smog is related to the pollution of our cities and towns. 

Types of Smog

Before we try to find out ways to counter the smog, we first need to know how does it form and who are the main culprits of its formation? The classic smog pollution occurs when there is an excess amount of coal burning to happen in a specific area, which increases the amount of smoke and sulphur dioxide in the air resulting in thick clouds of smoke which are known as smog. After than in 1950, we were introduced to a new kind of smog which is a cloud of photochemical smog.

The other name of photochemical smog is “Los Angeles Smog.” This type of smog happens in urban areas that contain a large number of automobiles—one of the adverse examples of this kind of smog pollution in Delhi, the capital of India. When the winter takes hold of the city, we are introduced to foggy and almost choking mornings. That’s because of how many vehicles are being driven on the road producing harmful emission in such a large quantity, that air can’t dissolve. 

Effects of Photochemical Smog

Thus, we have two types of smog, the first one is the classic smog, and the second one is photochemical smog. In addition to this, the effects of photochemical smog are much harmful than the other smog. This is because the components of photochemical smog are oxidizing in nature. Some of the common chemicals that you can find in photochemical smog is nitrogen dioxide and tri-oxygen or ozone. As a result, it leads to corrosion of metal which is present in the open along with corrosion of painted surfaces, rubber and stones also. 

Image will be uploaded soon

When there is a high concentration of photochemical smog present in the atmosphere, you will suffer from chest pain, headaches, along with throat dryness. It can cause multiple respiratory ailments if not treated in due time. 

Furthermore, photochemical smog contains PAN, acrolein, and formaldehyde. The burning of fossil fuels is the main reason for photochemical smog. When fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel burn, they leave hydrocarbons, that forms ozone, PAN, other chemicals in the atmosphere. 

Causes of Smog

Smog is a result of complex photochemical reactions which involves aggressively volatile organic compounds. It is not a single industry or an automobile company which is responsible for the smog in your city. Several factors need to be blamed. But the worst of worst is automobile exhaust as they are present inside the city and they leave harmful gases at the same level where adults and children breathe. On the other hand, we have power plants that are producing electricity by burning up the coal, factories that are making product by burning up fossil fuels. 

Even consumer products such as paint that you buy for your home, hairspray, chemical solvents, and your plastic food packaging. So these are few lines of work that are causing smog in your city. So when the next time you see smog in the morning you know whom to blame. 

Difference Between Classical Smog And Photochemical Smog

There is not much difference between a cloud of smog and photochemical smog. Both of them are harmful to us and for our elderlies. The smog that you see is just a combination of smoke and fog, and it occurs in winter season most of the time in the cities that are packed with lots of vehicles. Smog could happen if there is no wind blowing in your area, and there’s been a high level of industrial activity. Smog takes place far away from its actual source. This kind of smog is of sulphurous type and has another name called “London Smog.”

While on the other hand, photochemical smog happens due to ultraviolet radiation that reacts to pollutants that are present in the air. Common pollutants present in the air for photochemical smog are nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. Sunlight is a must for photochemical smog to take place. It is most common in Northern states of India such as Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, where farmers burn their ground after the harvesting season is done.  

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the causes of photochemical smog?

Two things need to be present to make the smog turn into photochemical smog. First, it needs sunlight, without sunlight, there is no ultraviolet radiation that could react with the pollutants present in the air. Secondly, the pollutant such as hydrocarbon that reacts with sunlight and forms thick clouds of smoke, that doesn’t move much and dissipates slowly. This type of smog cloud can cover a whole city resulting in no sunlight in the morning hours.

2. What steps need to be taken for reducing smog?

First, we need to plant more trees as much as trees as possible. Plants and trees work as a natural purification system for air. After that, we have to be concerned citizen and should drive fewer automobiles. Try to get in a carpool to reach the workplace, and if not carpool uses public transport. There is no advantage of taking a car out when you are riding it all alone.