Clean Air

Even without industrial activity, just the presence of life is enough to make the air impure.

health and fitness Updated: May 23, 2003 20:06 IST

How to Clean up Air

Air is special to our planet. Air is the breath of life. It has other functions. Sound travels through air. Smell is carried by air. Air plays an important role in weather control.

We know air is a mixture of gases. The normal composition of air by volume is approximately Nitrogen 78.1 percent, Oxygen 20.93 percent and Carbon dioxide 0.03 percent.

The balance is made up of other gases, like Argon, neon, krypton, xenon and helium which occur in traces. In addition to these, it contains water vapour, traces of ammonia and suspended matter such as dust, bacteria, spores and vegetable debris.

There is no 'pure air'. So what is air pollution?

Actually, air has never been pure. Foreign substances have been present in the air at all times and everywhere. Even without industrial activity, just the presence of life is enough to make air impure.

The bright side is that despite respiration of men and animals, decomposition of organic matter, air in open spaces can keep its composition remarkably constant This happens because of self cleansing mechanisms which operate in nature such as the movement of air, atmospheric temperature, sunlight and rain. The presence of plant life also recharges the purity of air.

When the foreign matter level in the atmosphere becomes too much, as it is in the urban areas in India, the air becomes harmful to man and his environment. The built-in cleansing process of air becomes ineffective. This is when air is said to be polluted and polluted air poses health hazards.


First Published: May 23, 2003 20:06 IST