Sources of Air Pollution

Sources of Air Pollution

Air pollution comes from many different sources.  Some sources are natural such as windblown dust and smoke from wildfires.  Other sources are man-made such as emissions from factories, power plants, automobiles, construction equipment, small businesses (I.E. print shops, autobody shops, gas stations, dry cleaners, etc.) and open burning.  These air pollutants can be solids, liquids, or gases.  Air pollution can cause adverse health effects in humans and animals, influence climate change, and damage our environment.

Although we may not have control over natural sources of air pollution, we do have control over man-made sources.  Federal, state and local regulatory agencies create air quality regulations requiring the reduction of pollutants but regulations can only do so much.  It is also up to individuals to understand how the decisions that they make everyday can contribute to air pollution.  Once we understand how we contribute to the problem, we can effectively work to help solve it.  Examples of choices we can make every day could include:

  • How much we drive our vehicles and their fuel efficiency
  • How we maintain our vehicles and other gas-powered equipment
  • The amount and type of energy we consume
  • The products we buy (I.E. paints, solvents, etc.)
  • What we burn in our fireplaces and backyards
  • How we maintain our yards (equipment, pesticides)

Businesses can continue to reduce air pollutants by complying with established regulations, and implementing pollution prevention practices to reduce emissions and save money.  Pollution Prevention is the reduction or elimination of pollution at its source, instead of treating pollution after it has been generated (examples:  air filters, air scrubbers). Businesses around the world have benefited from reducing pollution at the source.  These benefits include less regulation, reduced operational costs, and less liability associated with the generation of pollution.  Please see our Sources page for more detailed information on the different sources that can produce air pollutants.