Air pollution by Particulate matters (Fine and Coarse Dust particles):
‘Fine particles’ are less than 2.5 micron in size and require electron microscope for detection, however, they are much larger than the molecules of Ozone etc., and other gaseous pollutants, which are thousands times smaller and cannot be seen through even electron microscope.
Fine particles are formed by the condensation of molecules into solid or liquid droplets, whereas larger particles are mostly formed by mechanical breakdown of material or crushing of minerals. ‘Coarse particles’ are between 2.5 to 10 micron size, and cannot penetrate as readily as of Fine particle; however, it has been seen these are responsible for serious health hazards. The severity of the health hazards vary with the chemical nature of the particles.
The inhalation of particles has been linked with illness and deaths from heart and lung disease as a result of both short- and long-term exposures. People with heart and lung disease may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue etc., when exposed to particulate-matter pollutants. Inhalation of particulate matter can increase susceptibility to respiratory infections such as Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis. The general medical term given for such lung diseases is ‘Pneumoconiosis’.Emissions from diesel-fuel combustion in vehicles / engines / equipments; Dusts from cement plants, power plants, chemical plants, mines are a special problem, specially for those individuals breathing in close proximity to such atmosphere. Cars, trucks and off-road engines emit more than half a million tones of diesel particulate matter per year.