Smog City

Smog city Use this document when playing the game:

Tracking Air Quality

Activity 1: Complete the worksheet by viewing the following websites:

Activity 2: Use the following sites for the "What is your air quality?" worksheet

Activity 3: What is the quality of air in Western PA?
Answer the following questions using the websites below:
  1. What is the overall air quality in western PA?
  2. How does western PA air quality compare to the Eastern part of PA?
  3. Are there any areas in Western PA that have problems in air quality?
  4. Why are some areas having poor air quality while others do not (what do they have in common?)
  5. Use to determine air problems and other problems in the area you live.
  6. Choose one other area of PA that you can use with What problems do they have?
  7. How do the air quality and other problems differ between the two places (from #5 and #6?)

Activity 4: What causes indoor air pollution?
Using this site:
Work in teams to identify the 12 pollutants listed. In your group, you need to cover all 12 pollutants. Take notes on each of these points and put the information on your team page.
  1. What causes these pollutants?
  2. What health effects are caused by these pollutants?
  3. What can be done to reduce the amount of these pollutants indoors?

Activity 5: Studying air pollution in and around school

What are the sources of indoor air pollution?

Where does particulate pollution come from?

Air pollution webquest


History of Air Quality:
Have you ever wondered about the history of air pollution?

Have you heard about the London Smog Disaster of 1952?

Let's look at the environmental history timeline.
  • What are some dangerous myths that have emerged among people that don't understand the history of environmental issues?

Air Quality:
Let's learn some basics of air quality.

Adapted from

Acid Rain

  1. The branch on the left is from a tree in the Black Forest in Germany.
  2. Learning objectives • What is acid rain? • How is it formed? • What effects does it have on people and the environment? • Where are the effects evident? • How can the effects be reduced?
  3. The Formation of Acid Rain The rest reacts with sunlight and ozone in the atmosphere; nitric (HNO3), and sulphuric acid (H2SO4) are produced Some falls back to Burn fossil fuels in Earth close to the source as dry It is dissolved in the Transport, Industry, moisture in the particles, gas and Homes, power stations atmosphere making aerosols NO2 SO (NOx and SO2) 2 _ 2H+ and SO42 (dry H2O and can be carried large deposition) distances before falling as rain or snow (wet deposition) _ _ H+ NO3 SO42 Gas, Oil, Coal TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION
  4. The main pollutants which cause acid rain are… Sulphur dioxide – released from coal fired power stations Nitrous oxides - released from gas fired and coal fired power stations and car exhaust emissions
  5. Acid Deposition Acid deposition involves the deposition of both wet and dry acidic components
  6. Dry Deposition • The chemical pollutants may become incorporated into dust or smoke and fall to the ground through dry deposition but they combine with any moisture on the surface of buildings, trees etc to form an acid.
  7. Wet Deposition • The polluting gases react with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce dilute forms of sulphuric acid and nitric acid. These acids are taken into solution by cloud and rain droplets and then move through the hydrological cycle. • This wet deposition can travel a long way from the source of pollution
  8. The effects…
  9. The effects … Chemical reactions The chemical release toxic weathering of metals, particularly buildings, aluminium into statues and solution stone objects. Soils become more acidic. Unless lime is added the quality of the crops is reduced Acid rain destroys tree roots. The Acids activate trees are aluminium from then more the soil which likely to leaches into suffer from water and fish drought and die. Drinking disease water is contaminated
  10. Why is acid rain an international issue?
  11. Transboundary deposition • The countries that are producing the majority of the Pollution that causes acid rain (Britain, Germany, USA) aren’t that badly affected by acid rain. • Instead, the wind direction means the acid rain falls elsewhere (in Europe this affect Scandinavia; USA affects Canada).
  12. How might the effects of acid rain be reduced? Add lime to lakes affected Burning coal which by acidification But … contains less sulphur It costs Tales a long Remove sulphur time to phase from coal before out thermal it is used power stations Switch to alternative energy supplies Impact on coal mining Remove sulphur from industry as waste gases after it is demand falls used (Flue gas desulphurisation) International Energy conservation agreements to methods Using unleaded petrol reduce sulphur dioxide emissions

Acid Rain

Effects on Plants

• Effect on plants is the leaves turn yellow.
• Plants wouldn’t be able to make food: Photosynthesis doesn’t work.
• Plants will die.

What is Acid Rain?

• Rain with a PH below normal
• Ph scale: 1-14. 7 is in the middle: Strong bases are 14’s. Lemon juice and battery acid are 2/1, respectively.

Sources of acid rain

• Burning gas, oil, and coal.
• Burning those gives off NO2 and SO2’s, mixes with water in the clouds, then the wind moves it. When they reach, nitric acid and sulphuric acid are produced.
• Two types: Dry Deposition and Wet Deposition. Dry means it doesn’t mix with water, it just falls down to earth. Wet deposition is our acid rain. It mixes with the water to make either rain or snow.

Why is it an international issue?

• Acid rain is both an international and state issue.
• Three biggest countries for fault are USA, Great Britain, and China. Germany also
• We aren’t very affected, but those to the east of us are.


• Crop production falls.
• Acid in the rivers and lakes kills fish.
• Buildings and stone erode
• Huge stands of trees die.

Acid Rain activity

Write your answers on a piece of paper or type on the following word document:

Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are gases released by the burning of fossil fuels. These gases can react with water and oxygen to form acids. Normally, rainwater is slightly acidic. But the additional acid that enters the air when fuels are burned makes it even more acidic. Acid rain can have a harmful effect on fish and other wildlife and upsets the delicate balance of a forest or aquatic ecosystem. The good news is that it works the other way, too. Decreasing car and factory emissions can reduce acid rain and help wildlife.
In this activity, you'll find out more about what acid rain is, where the problem is most severe, and what YOU can do to help.
  1. First, let's take a look at which parts of the country are having the biggest acid rain problem. View a map - click to download - (from this site) of the United States. The darker orange colors represent the lowest pH in rain. Which states have the worst acid rain problem?
  2. Next, go to the EPA's What is Acid Rain? page. (use this page for #2-7) What is the difference between wet deposition and dry deposition?
  3. How do the compounds that cause acid rain spread from their source?
  4. The two main gases that cause acid rain are:
  5. What percentage of each of the two gases you listed in Question 4 comes from electric power generation that relies on the burning of fossil fuels like coal?
  6. Describe what happens when the two gases react in the atmosphere with water.
  7. The result of the the reaction you described in question 6 is a mild solution of what two acids?
  8. Go to the Measuring Acid Rain page. After reading the first two paragraphs, go to What is pH?. Scroll to chart of the pH of common household substances. Decide whether it is an acid or a base for each of the following:
Normal rain
Acid rain

9. Next, you'll learn more about the Effects of Acid Rain. Click the links below to complete the Acid Rain Effects table. Describe the effect on each of the following:

Surface waters
Automotive coatings
Human health

10. You may be surprised to know that your actions can help the acid rain problem. To find out more, go to Take Action as Individuals. List eight things you can do to reduce acid rain:

Activity adapted from:

Acid Lakes Activity

Go to and answer the following questions 1-6:

1. Go to the section on "How does acid rain affect fish and other aquatic organisms?". Which metal increases from acid rain going through the soil?
2. If this metal and the acid rain does not kill the fish and it survives, what is another effect on the fish?
3. According to the graph, which organism can survive a more acid environment than the others?
4. Of the three fish, put them in order from the fish requiring a less acid environment to the one that can be in a more acid environment.
5. Do a google search for "importance of mayflies in a lake". (or continue to read the article) Why are mayflies important?
6. What would happen if the mayflies could no longer live in the lake due to acidity?
7. Use this resource:

from (orange is where there is high acidity).

Describe where acid rain is found in the US. Does the amount of acid rain deposition increase or decrease through the years as the animation plays?
8. Use the following site: What are some of the ways to stop acid rain?
9. How can driving cars less reduce the amount of acid rain?
10. Why is it important to reduce the gases that cause acid rain before they are released into the air?
11. Why would conserving energy at home also reduce the gases that cause acid rain from being released?
12. Go to: Scroll down the page to "use alternative energy sources". What energy sources should be considered that do not contribute to the acid rain problem?
13. Under "restore a damaged environment," what is one thing that can be done to help restore an environment?
14. Under "take action as individuals," what are some things that are recommended that people can do to limit gases that cause acid rain?

Air pollution notes

Blank note sheet:

With class notes:

Planet Hazard