Air Pollution from Manufacturing Industries Essay Example
Air Pollution from Manufacturing Industries Essay Example

Air Pollution from Manufacturing Industries Essay Example

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  • Published: January 19, 2022
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With the commencement of Industrial revolution, humans had the opportunity of advancing their industrial activities further thus making the manufacturing age to come into view (Markham, 1994). With all of progress, there was the evolution industrial manufacturing activities and in return industrial pollution become one of its negative impacts to the environment. Initially, industries were relatively small factories which generated smoke as the only air pollutant. Nevertheless, since the number of these factories was limited and operated only for a certain number of hours a day, the level of pollution did not escalate significantly. Contrary to that, with the increase in the number of factories with time to become full-scale industries as well as manufacturing units, the problem of industrial pollution started to take on more consequence (Markham, 1994). A majority of the current pollution on our planet ca


n be traced back to industries and the problem of industrial pollution has taken on critical significance for agencies trying to fight against environmental degradation (Vallero, 2014). Pollution has now become a serious problem especially to nations facing abrupt and rapid growth hence the needed of bringing it to control immediately.

With regard to this, what will be new and worthy of advancing in the field of occupational safety, health, and/or environmental management is exploring the unchanged industrial behaviors in connection to pollution and land shifting just after analyzing all the aspects of industrial air pollution. Thus, industrial pollution is the main cause of air pollution across the world. By analyzing industrial practices, the obvious absence of regulation and lack of company policies directly lead to the emission of pollution from modern industries.

Air Pollution

Air pollution typically refers t

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the phenomenon through which solid, liquid and gases particles contaminate the environment. It is the introduction of biological molecules, particulates or any other harmful substances into the earth’s atmosphere (Phalen & Phalen, 2013). It should be noted that the atmosphere is perceived as being a complex natural gaseous system which is necessary for supporting life on earth. Air pollution remains to be a major environmental problem confronting our civilization today. The reason for this is just because it has the potential of affecting all of us without leaving much choice of avoiding it. Consequently, it may not be surprising that we always hear more and more about issues to deal with air pollution, poor quality of our air, big city smog, global warming and so on (Phalen & Phalen, 2013). Regardless of that, it should be noted that not all air pollutants are a result of human activity

Common Industrial Polluters

The majority of the largest industrial polluters come from petrochemical, oil refining, chemical, metal smelting, pesticide, food processing and iron and steel industries. All of these industries are the major users of energy which produce large quantities of waste products and pollution. Other manufacturing industries have less potential impact although still considered highly problematic when it comes to air pollution (Vallero, 2014). These industries include leather tanning, plastic, paper and pulp, paint, and textile industries.

Types of Air Pollutants

An air pollutant is termed as a substance contained in the air which has the potential of causing harm to both humans and the environment. Manufacturing industrial pollutants can either be solid, liquid droplets or gases. Pollutants from manufacturing industries that result in air pollution can be classified into

primary or secondary. Primary/secondary pollutants are those pollutants which are emitted directly into the atmosphere from sources which are identifiable (Dhaar, 2009). Major industrial air pollutants are discussed below;

Sulfur Oxide (SOx)

An example of this oxide is sulfur II oxide which is chemical compound that is produced by various industrial processes. Petroleum and coal usually contain sulfur compounds, and once they under combustion during industrial manufacturing processes, they generate sulfur oxides which once emitted into the air they cause air pollution (Dhaar, 2009).

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

During industrial manufacturing processes, oxides of nitrogen especially nitrogen II oxide gets emitted from nitrogen manufacturing industries at high temperatures to the atmosphere. The sharp biting odor and the hazy dome it creates above cities make it one of the prominent pollutants.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, toxic, and non-irritating gas which when at higher levels is fairly un-reactive. As a product of incomplete combustion of coal (carbon) from industries, it contributes much to air pollution when it combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form carbon II oxide (Dhaar, 2009).


Particulates, also referred to as particulate matter. The most common one is aerosols which is a compound of particles and gas. Although other particulates occur naturally, industrial manufacturing activities for instance burning of fossils, power plant, etc. generates a significant number of aerosols. Once released into the atmosphere, these anthropogenic pollutants increase the level of air pollution.


Industrial processes from metal smelters are the major sources of lead in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases stay in the atmospheric air for a long period and in turn warm up our planet through trapping the outgoing solar radiations. This is termed as the Greenhouse

Effect since the gases acts like the glass in the greenhouse. Carbon II oxide, nitrous oxide, and methane are the important greenhouse gases (Phalen & Phalen, 2013).

Stratospheric ozone depletors

Stratospheric ozone depletors are chemicals which can destroy the ozone layer of the stratosphere. These industrial chemicals include halons, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other compounds such as bromine and chlorine.


Ozone are gases found in the troposphere
and emitted into the atmosphere as a result of burning coal, gasoline or other fossil fuels from factories.
Toxic air pollutants

Toxic air pollutants include dioxin, benzene, arsenic and asbestos. They are emitted from chemical manufacturing industries as well as well fossil fuels are burned from such plants (Dhaar, 2009).

Causes of Industrial Air Pollution

  • The general lack of policies for controlling pollution

The absence of effective policies and poor enforcement drive has increased the capacity of manufacturing industries in sidestepping laws formulated by the pollution control board. This has in return led to a mass scale air pollution which has negatively impacted lives of many living organisms more especially human beings and marine animals (Harrison & R.S.C, 2001).

  • Unplanned industrial growth

In majority of industrial townships, unexpected industrial growth took place wherein these industries ended up flouting rules and norms resulting to air pollution.

  • Use of outdated industrial manufacturing technologies

To this date, most of the industries, particularly in developing countries, still depend on old technologies in producing products which generate large quantities of waste. Moreover, as a way of avoiding expenditure and high costs, many of these companies still make use of conventional technologies to produce high-end products which in return contributes greatly to the emission of air pollutants for example sulfur IV oxide, carbon IV oxide,

nitrogen II oxide and so on (Harrison & R.S.C, 2001).

  • Presence of large numbers of small scale manufacturing industries

Many small scale manufacturing industries and factories lack sufficient capital. This makes them to continuously depend on government grants so as to be able to carry out their day-to-day business activities. Therefore, since this enables them to escapes environmental regulations, it gives them the opportunity of releasing large quantities of toxic gases into the atmosphere (Fo?rstner, 1998).

  • Inefficient waste disposal mechanism

Continued air pollution has been directly associated with the inefficiency in waste disposal from industries. This is also coupled with the dependency of traditional industrial manufacturing technologies and other causes discussed above.

Effects of Air Pollution

Like other photochemical pollutants, oxides of sulfur greatly contribute to the incidences of respiratory diseases. Acid rain, which is a form of precipitation which contains high levels of nitric or sulfuric acids, can contaminate vegetation and drinking water, damaging aquatic life as well as eroding buildings. When weather condition, often termed as temperature inversion ends up preventing dispersal of smog, inhabitants of that area, particularly elderly, chronically ill and children are forced to stay indoors so as to avoid physical stress (Vallero, 2014).

Greenhouse effect can result into the alteration o the climate of the earth. Some of these changes may include problems like increase in atmospheric temperatures, change in forest composition, and rise in sea levels as well as damage to land near the coast. Human health may also be negatively affected due to diseases which are related to temperature increase or damage to water and land. Furthermore, toxic air pollutants mentioned above can also cause cancer. Other types of toxic air pollutants

can equally cause birth defects (Dhaar, 2009). Some of the other health effects which depend on these pollutants include eye and skin irritation and breathing difficulties.

A high amount of lead in the atmospheric air is very dangerous for small children and can lead to kidney problems as well as lowering their IQs. For the case of adults, prolonged exposure to lead has the ability to increase the chances of having heart attacks or strokes. Furthermore, particulate matter in small quantities can enter the lungs hence causing health problems. Some of these problems which are associated with particulate matter include premature death, respiratory problems, and frequent asthma attacks (Fo?rstner, 1998). In addition to that, the debilitating and dramatic effects of severe air pollution episodes in some major cities all over the world- such as, the London smog of 1952 which resulted in about 4000 deaths- have caused governments to be more alert to the necessity for crisis procedures. Even the current everyday levels of air pollution may insidiously impact the behavior and health of people. Moreover, indoor air pollution is still a major problem to the majority of developed countries, in which efficient insulation traps pollutants inside the structure. In less developed and developing countries, the absence of running water, as well as indoor sanitation, encourages respiratory infections. For instance, carbon monoxide, by driving oxygen out of the human blood stream, causes fatigue, apathy, disorientation, decreased muscular coordination, headache, and visual acuity (Vallero, 2014).

Furthermore, air pollution as a result of industrial manufacturing processes may harm or endanger populations in ways so delicate or slow that they have not yet been detected. Because of this reason, various

governmental organizations have been forced to carry on research aimed at uncovering the long-term effects of chronic exposure to low concentrations of air pollution and in turn determine how these pollutants interact with each other in the human body. Another subject of concern is the relation of air pollution to birth defects, mutation, and cancer ((Harrison & R.S.C, 2001).

The other recent discovered effects of air pollution are the seasonal holes in the ozone layer of the atmosphere above the Arctic and the Antarctica, together with the growing evidence of the global ozone layer depletion. This has the effect of increasing the amount of ultraviolet radiations reaching the surface of the earth. These radiations are harmful in the sense that it damages plants and crops and can also lead to cataracts and skin cancer. These radiations have been largely caused by the continued emission of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from aerosols, air conditioners, and refrigerators (Downing & Hanf, 1983). This has also forced the government to hold up meetings aimed at accelerating the phasing out of these ozone-depleting substances.

Solutions to Air Pollution

With regard to this problem, there exist various air pollution control strategies and technologies which can be used to reduce or curb it. First, to combat air pollution, the government in collaboration with all the stakeholders should establish and enforce air pollution measures as well as set emission standards for both new and existing factories and other extremely hazardous industrial pollutants (Cooper & Alley, 2002). Moreover, all nations should be required to meet ambient air quality standards through regulation of the emissions of various air pollutants from existing manufacturing plants. Auto manufactures should also be mandated to

install exhaust control devices or develop less polluting engines (Allenby & Richards, 2001). Those who fail to comply with these air quality standards should be highly penalized.

Another satisfactory long-term solution for curbing air pollution from industries is the elimination of fossils fuels and the alternate replacement with internal-combustion engines (Doyle, 2003). In other words, combustion of fossil fuels for the purpose of space heating can be replaced with seasonal thermal energy storage and ground source heat pumps. One of the most effective means of reducing air pollution is the transition to renewable energy. Electric power generation from the combustion of fossil fuels should also be replaced with the generation of power from renewable and nuclear sources. Another proposed way of handling air pollution from industries is the general raising of gasoline and electricity rates so as to better reflect environmental expenses and in return to discourage waste and inefficiency as well as mechanical control on coal-fired utility plants (Allenby & Richards, 2001).

In the process of ensuring that there is the compliance with regulations or the anticipated future regulations, all coal burning factories must obey the laws and regulation enacted by the government through the installation of desulfurization equipment. With regard to that, even if no laws apply with eco-efficiency or image building, all manufacturing companies should voluntary make use of environmentally safe processes to promote a beneficial public image. Sustainable development initiatives where manufacturing companies add environmental policies would be realized in the long term (Blair & Hitchkock, 2001). The main reason for this is because sustainable development is seen as a crucial part of air pollution prevention philosophy.

International Nature of the Problem

Air pollution together

with the problems that are associated with it causes are not restricted by any geopolitical boundary. For instance, the radioactive cloud which resulted from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the year 1986 traveled as far as to Ireland (Boczek, 2005). The warning aired through the United Nations report indicated that the haze produced as a result of the burning of fossil fuel and wood is largely creating a two-mile thick cloud. Moreover, the commonly known as Asian brown cloud from parts of the southern Asia is to some extent responsible for the huge quantity of respiratory deaths a year. Equally, in the US, state and federal pollution laws and regulations apply to all states, even if some of the states, for example, California, have adopted more stringent standards. In the same way, in the European Union (EU), the existing laws are equally applicable to all members. States such as Germany and Denmark, however, have opted to impose stricter standards than those set by the EU.

With regard to that, international agreements aimed at reducing the various industrial pollutants have been signed by various nations. For example, the Montreal Protocol which was signed in 1987 was aimed at reducing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS) (Boczek, 2005). More recently, a conference convened in Kyoto, Japan, to address the ways of curbing or reducing the emission of carbon IV oxide from manufacturing industries and other greenhouse gases (Vin?uales, 2015). Despite the fact that the United States has not yet signed the Kyoto Protocol because of the views that such an agreement could hinder its economic progress, it has publicly stated its aim of embarking on voluntary reductions of the emissions of these

gases into the atmospheric air.

Unchanged Industrial Behavior

Despite the above measures, some of the polluting manufacturing industries discussed so far have not yet succumbed to the social, political, and governmental pressure. Several industries still deny being responsible for air pollution even when they are faced with substantial proof to the contrary (Vin?uales, 2015). Others, after admitting responsibility, end up promising to take strong action but in the end deliver nothing. Other manufacturing industries have performed admirably when it comes to the issue of being environmentally friendly. Regardless of that, industry, for most parts of the world, is only responding to the increased demand for a higher material standard of living i.e. offering customers what they want. Therefore, if products continue to be prioritized more than control of air pollution, then the fault ought to be shared between the producer and the consumer (Downing & Hanf, 1983).

Throughout our contemporary history, small groups and individuals have agitated against the various types of air pollution. For instance, the advent of U.S and English conservation communities, starting with the Industrial Revolution, brought about the forefront of new environmental issues (Boczek, 2005). Because of that, currently there are thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) which exist in nearly all the world’s free speech-nations, including some international organizations for example Green-peace, Sierra Club and the Friends of the Earth, to other small local organizations which together fight to control not only air but also land and water pollution.

On the other hand, big and small, environmental groups also assist in publicizing at least all the industries that pollute our atmosphere. In every case, industry has significant decisions to make dealing with the manner in

which it conducts business. Although it may pollute the environment, every pollutant that it emits might one day terminate its profits. The reason for this is because the general balancing act that the industries are facing with respect to profits and pollution is difficult, at best (Downing & Hanf, 1983).

The global industrialization has had a significant impact on living things and the environment. Several industries have not yet performed admirably as expected with regard to being responsible to the various pollutants they expel into the ecosystem, particularly in the atmosphere for this case (Downing & Hanf, 1983). Conversely, the presence of the modern governmental rules and regulations, the efforts of governmental groups, nongovernmental groups, and individuals as well as the realization by the management authority of such industries has a great impact on the environment. The reason for this is because an environment which is healthy is good for business and profits makes the industrial society to become more effective in balancing environmental and with respect to the general satisfaction of most people.
Pollution and land shifting

Pollution and land shifting typically refers to the transfer of pollution from one medium i.e. soil, water and air to another. Early legal efforts which aimed at controlling pollution majorly focused on a single media. For instance, in US, the Clean Water Act covers water while the Clean Air Act covered air. However, in these modern days, pollution is not merely constrained by statute. This is to say that it can shift between media by human or natural action. Industrial air pollution management is extensively improved when all the three media are considered (Shen, 1999).

Nonetheless, international industrial pollution and land

shifting might occur in order to destroy a pollutant, reduce its concentration and quantity, or change it to a safer form. This pollution/land shifting includes things like air scrubbers, combustion, adsorption, and air stripping. Currently, this shifting is accomplished through mass and/or chemical transfer. Chemical reactions changes reactants in one media into various products in different media. Moreover, in mass transfer shifting, the difference in concentrations assists in transferring these pollutants from one media to another (Shen, 1999).

With regard to land shifting, multimedia approach to industrial pollution management considers all media i.e. it can either be applied to single plant, entire companies or regions. This results into improved resolution and detection of environmental compliance problems, effective enforcement, realization of optimal enforcement results, efficient utilization of resources and, fundamental changes in the regulate community perceptions as well as behavior regarding industrial pollution management and environmental compliance (Shen, 1999).


During the commencement of Industrial Revolution, pollution of the environment increased with the continued use of new resources of fossil fuel, the establishment of larger factories as well as the rise of unsanitary urban centers. The reason for this is because manufacturing processes convert raw material into useful products. Moreover, some of the by-products of these activities i.e. waste materials or substances produced through manufacturing activities itself may be dangerous to the environment. This then means that manufacturing processes contribute immensely to air pollution considering the activities undertake. The majority of the manufacturing processes entail heating of raw materials in order to transform them into other products. With the increase in the number of manufacturing factories with time to made the problem of industrial pollution to take on more

consequence. As stated above, throughout the world, there exist various types of pollution which interfere with the quality of life of living organisms and the natural functioning of the earth’s ecological systems. Despite the fact that some of these environmental pollutions as a result of a natural cause, most of the air pollutants are caused by human activities majorly industrial manufacturing processes which date itself back during Industrial Revolution. The issue of industrial pollution has now taken on critical implication for agencies trying to fight against environmental degradation. Because of this, it has become a serious problem to nations facing abrupt and rapid growth hence the need to bring it to control immediately. The absence of effective policies and/or poor enforcement drive has made many manufacturing industries to sidestep laws made by pollution control board. Conversely, use of outdated industrial manufacturing technologies, the presence of a large number of small-scale manufacturing sector and inefficient waste disposal mechanism are some of the issues which need to be addressed so as to curb this problem. Therefore, with respect to the above-discussed pints, there is need of working together globally so that this problem can be brought to control through maintaining the biological nature of our planet hence making it a better place to live in.


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