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Ground Level Ozone Pollution
Aug 24, 2015

Unlike the protective ozone layer in the stratosphere which prevents ultraviolet light and beneficial for earth, ground level ozone is a harmful air pollutant that affects all of us. It’s formed when emissions from everyday items combine with other pollutants and “cook” in the heat and sunlight. Sources of such emissions include local industry, gasoline-powered vehicles and lawn equipment, and household paints, stains and solvents. Weather plays a key role in ozone formation. The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months when temperatures approach the high 80s and 90s and the wind is stagnant or light.

Ground-Level-Ozone-Pollution

This ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight.  Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma. Ground level ozone can also have harmful effects on sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.

What are the effects of ozone?

Ozone irritates the respiratory tract and eyes. Exposure to high levels results in chest tightness, coughing and wheezing. People with respiratory and heart problems are at a higher risk. Ozone has been linked to increased hospital admissions and premature death. Ozone causes agricultural crop loss each year in Ontario and noticeable leaf damage in many crops, garden plants and trees.

The main component of smog, ozone at ground level can cause leaf damage that stifles plant growth, injuring and killing vegetation. 

Ozone Pollution and India

Ozone pollution in India is damaging millions of tons of the country’s major crops, according to a new study by an international team of researchers. The pollution caused losses of more than $1 billion in a single year, destroying enough food to feed tens of millions of people living in poverty in the country.

Rising emissions are causing severe ozone pollution in some of India’s most populated regions. Pollution in Delhi, the nation’s capital, has reached levels comparable to Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world, according to India’s Air Monitoring Center.

According to Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) study India’s economic loss from ozone’s harm to crops amounted to $1.29 billion in in 2005, the study found. Declines in rice and wheat crops made up the majority of the loss, accounting for a combined $1.16 billion in losses, according to the new research


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