Air pollutants arise from natural processes and human activities. In this SATIS Revisited resource, students investigate air pollution, how it is monitored and some effects on human health.
Air pollutants arise from a wide variety of sources, although they are mainly a result of the combustion process. It is easy to assume that most of these air pollutants arise as a result of human activity, but large amounts are also produced by natural processes such as forest fires, volcanoes and bacteria.
The largest sources of pollutants produced by human activities include motor vehicles and industry. Motor vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants, principally carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates (PM10). In addition, photochemical reactions resulting from the action of sunlight on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and VOCs from vehicles lead to the formation of ozone, a secondary long-range pollutant, which impacts in rural areas often far from the original emission site.
The activities look at air pollution and how it is monitored. Pupils can collect data for their own area and analyse it in terms of the levels of air pollution and the effect on human health.
Contents of this unit:
Guidance for teachers
• Fact file blanks (make several copies and cut in half)
• Information sheet – Air pollution – where does it come from?
• Activity sheet A – Air pollution – where does it come from?
• Activity sheet B – Air pollution – where does it come from? (simplified version)
Air pollution and health:
• Information sheet – Air quality and health
• Activity sheet A – Air pollution and health
• Activity sheet B – Air pollution and health (simplified version)
• Fact file blanks (if not used in the first activity) (optional)
Forecasting air pollution:
• Activity sheet – Forecasting air pollution
Analysing air pollution graphs:
• Excel spreadsheet with carbon monoxide data (optional)
• Activity sheet A – Interpreting graphs
• Activity sheet B – Interpreting graphs (simplified version)
HEALTH and SAFETY
Any use of a resource that includes a practical activity must include a risk assessment. Please note that collections may contain ARCHIVE resources, which were developed at a much earlier date. Since that time there have been significant changes in the rules and guidance affecting laboratory practical work. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.