Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. Air pollution is an issue which concerns us all alike. One can willingly choose or reject a food, a drink or a life comfort, but unfortunately there is little choice for the air we breathe. All, what is there in the air is inhaled by one and all living in those surroundings.
2. Air pollutant is defined as a substance which is present while normally it is not there or present in an amount exceeding the normal concentrations. It could either be gaseous or a particulate matter. The important and harmful polluting gases are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen. The common particulate pollutants are the dusts of various inorganic or organic origins. Although we often talk of the outdoor air pollutions caused by industrial and vehicular exhausts, the indoor pollution may prove to be as or a more important cause of health problems.
3. Recognition of air pollution is relatively recent. It is not uncommon to experience a feeling of 'suffocation' in a closed environment. It is often ascribed to the lack of oxygen. Fortunately, however, the composition of air is remarkably constant all over the world. There is about 79 per cent nitrogen and 21 per cent oxygen in the air âˆ’ the other gases forming a very small fraction. It is true that carbon dioxide exhaled out of lungs may accumulate in a closed and over-crowded place. But such an increase is usually small and temporary unless the room is really air-tight. Exposure to poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide may occur in a closed room, heated by burning coal inside. This may also prove to be fatal.
4. What is more common in a poorly ventilated home is a vague constellation of symptoms described as the sick-building syndrome. It is characterized by a general feeling of malaise, head-ache, dizziness and irritation of mucous membranes. It may also be accompanied by nausea, itching, aches, pains and depression. Sick building syndrome is getting commoner in big cities with the small houses, which are generally over-furnished. Some of the important pollutants whose indoor concentrations exceed those of the outdoors include gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and organic substances like spores, formaldehydes, hydrocarbon aerosols and allergens. The sources are attributed to a variety of construction materials, insulations, furnishings, adhesives, cosmetics, house dusts, fungi and other indoor products.
5. By-products of fuel combustion are important in houses with indoor kitchens. It is not only the brining of dried dung and fuel wood which is responsible, but also kerosene and liquid petroleum gas. Oxides of both nitrogen and sulphur are released from their combustion.
6. Smoking of tobacco in the closed environment is an important source of indoor pollution. It may not be high quantitatively, but significantly hazardous for health. It is because of the fact that there are over 3000 chemical constituents in tobacco smoke, which have been identified. These are harmful for human health.
7. Micro-organisms and allergens are of special significance in the causation and spread of diseases. Most of the infective illnesses may involve more persons of a family living in common indoor environment. These include viral and bacterial diseases like tuberculosis.
8. Besides infections, allergic and hypersensitivity disorders are spreading fast. Although asthma is the most common form of respiratory allergic disorders, pneumonias are not uncommon, but more persistent and serious. These are attributed to exposures to allergens from various fungi, molds, hay and other organic materials. Indoor air ventilation systems, coolers, air-conditioners, dampness, decay, pet animals, production or handling of the causative items are responsible for these hypersensitivity diseases.
9. Obviously, the spectrum of pollution is very wide and our options are limited. Indoor pollution may be handled relatively easily by an individual. Moreover, the good work must start from one’s own house.
(Extracted from the Tribune)
(a) (i) What is an air pollutant?
(ii) In what forms are the air pollutants present?
(iii) Why do we feel suffocated in a closed environment?
(iv) What is sick building syndrome? How is it increasing?
(v) How is indoor smoking very hazardous?
(vi) How can one overcome the dangers of indoor air pollution?
(b) Find the words from the above passage which mean the same as the following:
i) giddiness (para 4)
ii) constant (para 8)
iii) humidity (para 8)
(a) (i) Air pollutant is any substance in gaseous state or particular matter which is present in air in an amount that exceeds its usual concentration in air.
(ii) Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen are some of the important gaseous air pollutants. Dusts of various organic and inorganic origins are the common particulate air pollutants.
(iii) Due to the lack of oxygen we feel suffocated in a closed environment.
(iv) Sick-building syndrome is the vague constellation of symptoms experienced by a person who lives in a poorly ventilated home. It is characterized by symptoms such as a general feeling of malaise, head-ache, dizziness and irritation of mucous membranes.
(v) Smoking indoors is very hazardous for human health as tobacco smoke contains over 3000 chemicals which have identified as harmful.
(vi) The dangers of indoor air pollution can be overcome by ensuring that our homes are properly ventilated. We should also see to it that our homes are free from sources of indoor pollution such as tobacco smoke and dust.
(b) (i) dizziness