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Is Your Bus Exhausting? Stevens Institute of Technology


TEACHERS: What are the sources of Air Pollutants?

Students will:
  • read for understanding
  • list the six major air pollutants
  • list sources of the major air pollutants
  • locate the local air monitoring station
  • obtain real time air quality measurements


The U.S. Congress has passed several pieces of legislation to protect the nation's population from the damaging effects of air pollution. The Clean Air Act of 1963 provided federal authority to address air pollution problems on a nationwide basis. The Clean Air Act was amended in 1970, 1977, and 1990. Each amendment modified the Act and provided additional avenues for addressing air pollution problems. As a result of the Clean Air Act and its Amendments, EPA established air quality standards to protect public health and welfare, gained the ability to designate unhealthy areas that needed to be addressed, and dealt with issues such as acid rain and ozone depletion. All 50 states use the Clean Air Act as the basis for the individual state regulations, some more stringent than others. Individual states have the primary responsibility to ensure compliance to both state and federal regulations.


PART 1: Types of Air Pollutants
Review the information in the Major Air Pollutants (.pdf) table and the EPA's Six Common Air Pollutants web site to answer the questions in Part I of your Student Worksheet.

  1. List three types of power plants and three types of factories.
  2. List three types of road vehicles.
  3. List three types of off-road vehicles.
  4. List three types of miscellaneous sources.
  5. Do you think any of these sources cause problems with your local air quality? Explain.

PART 2: Pollution Sources

  1. Select your state from the map to view the corresponding air pollution data (NOTE: it may take a moment to load the first time you click).
  2. Click through the site and look up the amount of various pollutants in your state to complete the table and answer the questions on the Student Worksheet (move your mouse over the colored column to view the corresponding percentage).  

As a class or individually, answer the questions on the Student Worksheet.




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The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education