Blue Haze Pollution – A Hidden Threat to Health

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Blue haze is a form of air pollution that has not been taken into consideration due to its not so harmful visible effects. It was because of the reason that earlier it was not significantly affected by anthropogenic activities due to which its effect was quite negligible. It is a topic which is quite new for various sorts of studies due to its increasing incidents.

Blue haze is an obscurity in the clearance of view. It is formed when the incoming solar radiations strikes the naturally occurring aerosols, smoke, dust and pollutant (PM10 and PM2.5) present in atmosphere and they absorb, scatter and reflect it to give a bluish appearance over any particular area on sunny days even. Although blue haze is formed mainly due to the contribution made by anthropogenic activities but biogenic sources like plants and trees are also contributing up to some extent.

Blue haze is mostly formed over the heavily forested areas across the world. Complex reactions lead to the formation of nanoparticles of blue haze over a forested area but unfortunately these reactions are not yet completely identified and understood. The reaction that takes place between sulphuric acid and biogenic organic acids enhances nucleation and initial growth of the nanoparticles. This type of haze not only has health impact but also they contribute to various sorts of phenomenon such as acid rain, eutrophication and so on.

PM2.5 is a main pollutant of blue haze. It is thinner than a single strand of hair, and even the hairs of our nostrils cannot prevent it from entering our lungs and reaching our blood stream.  In Delhi, blue haze has significant effects and the main contributor is vehicular traffic. The main impacts are acid rain, eutrophication, destruction of crop yield and decreasing wildlife populations. To control air pollution, odd-even policy was implemented by Delhi’s government but it failed to show any significant effect and the purpose for which it was implemented was not satisfactorily achieved.

The possible ways to control blue haze is introduction of public transport (Metro Rails and Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles) to decrease the burden from private vehicles. Industrial policy if followed properly will definitely help in reduction of such pollution. The industrial policy encourages the development of more industries in Delhi for city’s progress. However, the policy made it mandatory that the new industries should be clean and non-polluting. This is to prevent any harm to our environment from chimney emissions and disposal of waste effluents in water, garbage (if radioactive or medical) or their open combustion. This short article is to create awareness about this new concept, and suggest ways and precautions to control it.

Authors: Divya Khare and Anju Srivastava, Department of Chemistry, Hindu College, University of Delhi.

Pallavi Saxena, Department of Environmental Sciences, Hindu College, University of Delhi, Delhi

Image:  http://juneauempire.com/sites/default/files/styles/slideshow__640x360/public/image5945273_web1_180708CruiseShips.jpg?itok=bamXvj3Q

 

Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator
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