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Haze pollution refers to the presence of a cloud-like or smoky atmospheric condition caused by the accumulation of fine particulate matter, such as smoke, dust, and pollutants, in the air. This haze reduces visibility and can have adverse effects on human health, the environment, and various sectors of the economy.
Haze constitutes an ambient aerosol that accumulates to become visible. The accumulating particle is minute and almost invisible, but they can induce picture distortion and limit vision range. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s code manual, haze is caused by volcanic ash, dust, smoke, mist, sand, steam fog, ice fog, and snow. As smoke and dust particles gather in relatively dry air, haze occurs.
Haze pollution is often associated with the burning of biomass, including forest fires, agricultural burning, and the combustion of fossil fuels. Forest fires, whether natural or human-induced, can release significant amounts of smoke and pollutants into the atmosphere, resulting in regional or even transboundary haze events. Agricultural practices like slash-and-burn techniques, commonly used for land clearing, can also contribute to haze pollution.
|Pollutant||Averaging Time||Maximum Desirable Level||Maximum Acceptable Level||Maximum Tolerable Level|
|Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)||Annual||11 ppb||23 ppb||—|
|24 hours||57 ppb||115 ppb||306 ppb|
|1 hour||172 ppb||334 ppb||—|
|Total Suspended Particulate (TSP)||Annual||60 µg/m3||70µg/m3||—|
|24 hours||—||120µg/m3||400 µg/m3|
|Carbon Monoxide (CO)||8 hours||5 ppm||13 ppm||17 ppm|
|1 hour||13 ppm||31 ppm||—|
|Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)||Annual||32 ppb||53 ppb||—|
|24 hours||—||106 ppb||160 ppb|
|1 hour||—||213 ppb||532 ppb|
|24 hours||15 ppb||25 ppb||—|
|1 hour||51 ppb||82 ppb||153 ppb|
For over a half-century, the Alaskan Arctic and Canada have been experiencing plagued by a haze of unknown origin. The early thought was that it came from either dust falling from riverbanks or exposed ice seeding ice crystals. Chemical studies revealed that humans caused it. The haze contained a higher concentration of sulfate and particle organic materials. Other minor components were NOX species, ammonium, dust, and black carbon.
The existence of heavy metals indicated the presence of industrial pollutants. The haze was first measured using an aircraft flying vertically across Alaska using a handheld photometer.
Canada and the United States have agreed to work together to address air quality challenges. Among the collaborative efforts undertaken is the passage of laws establishing air quality monitoring by ground-based air monitoring and remote sensing. For example, the Canada-United States Border Air Quality Strategy, which member nations’ environment ministers implemented, introduced programs for air quality improvement and accompanying creative techniques. Transboundary trade of limited NOX and SO2 emissions is one innovative strategy. The program’s ultimate goal is to reduce the general loading of haze pollution precursors into the atmosphere.
Wearing facial masks, staying indoors, using air cleaners, and taking emergency steps are all preventive health measures for haze pollution. Indoor particle levels are reduced by air cleaners equipped with efficient filters. However, the air cleaner must be tuned following the surrounding indoor environment.
Potential buyers of air purifiers face immediate hurdles due to their economic condition. Personal protection using facial masks avoids the primary cost issues related to air cleaners. There is a requirement for public education to improve awareness of the suggested cover, when to use it, and when it needs to be replaced. The decision to close polluting facilities is influenced by immediate local, health, and environmental problems and economic, transportation, and social factors.
One can limit the encounter with haze pollution and its possible health impacts by doing the following:
“Haze pollution” refers to smoke from a land and forest fire that has such negative impacts as to jeopardize human health, injure living resources and ecosystems, and material property, as well as degrade or impede amenities and other authorized uses of the environment.
In 1971, Canada’s national government passed the Clean Air Act to regulate the quality of the country’s air. In 2010, the United States and Canada decided on the Ozone Annex to reduce transboundary pollution. In 1979 Europe and North America adopted the Agreement on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. Some methods for measuring haze pollution levels include remote sensing and ground-based observations.
The Arctic haze phenomena have provided essential foundations for taking action against anthropogenic emissions, notably those from industrial operations. The results of chemical fingerprinting revealed that the precursor elements were SO2, NOX, metal traces, and POM. Though health impacts are apparent, no health issue has been linked to a specific pollutant type.
Also Read: Introduction To Air Pollution