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The smoky kind of fog that we witness in some places is what we call as 'Smog'. When different industrial gases and fine particles get released into the air, they react in the presence of the heat and sun, and form a kind of fog we call 'smog'. The word is a combination of the words smoke and fog. It makes people cough when they breathe it in and is extremely poisonous.

We all know that dust is present in the air all the time. Dust comes from different sources like soil blowing, forest fires, ocean spray, volcanic activity, chemical sprays, construction sites, oil based paints, the gases released from automobiles, industrial burning process etc. In the bigger industrial cities, the amount of this type of dust is the greatest. In short smog is made up of a lot of harmful pollutants.

Smog is a Global Threat




This type of smog is caused by hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide and sunlight. When the sunlight combines with the fumes from factories and automobiles, it produces a chemical reaction which gives out gases called as oxidants. This is common in places where they have a large numbers of cars, buses, trucks etc. The photochemical smog is also known as “Los Angeles Smog”, as it is prevalent there. This kind of smog  damages plants, reduces visibility and causes irritation of the eyes besides many respiratory diseases.

Harmful pollutants and smoke from factories



This kind of smog is a mixture of sulphur dioxide, soot and fog. It is formed when moisture from the air combines with these smoke particles. The smoke particles come from factories where fossil fuels like coal are burnt, metallic ore and crude oil production are the other reasons for sulphurous smog. This smog is often referred to as "London Smog" as it is common there. This smog is one of the main causes of asthma and allergies.

Heap of Lignite (coal) for use in a Power Plant



When gases and particles are released from an erupting volcano, they mix with sunlight, oxygen and moisture, and form what is known as volcanic smog. The chemicals in volcanic smog damage not only our environment but also our plants, animals and us. Humans can experience difficulty in breathing, watery eyes and a sore throat. Volcanic smog is prevalent in The Hawaiian Islands, where the Kilauea volcano has been erupting daily since 1983.

Smoke from Bromo Volcano, East Java, Indonesia


Besides being a health hazard, smog can also reach ground levels, and if it does, it can be really dangerous causing visibility problems for drivers. 

Here are lists of things we can do to make the air we breathe cleaner and safer:

1. Ask your parents to organise a carpool or you can even walk or ride your bicycle to school, if it’s not too far.

2. Remind your parents to get the car serviced regularly; by doing so, they will cause less pollution.

3. Avoid using chemical sprays and cleaners.

4. Ask your family members, relatives, friends etc. to stop smoking, as smoking is not only harmful to health but also causes air pollution.

5. Using electricity also contributes to smog, so make sure you turn off the lights when not in use.

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