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How is it the world’s air does not smell foul?

How is it the world’s air does not smell foul? Farms, industry and domestic places create some very strong smells, even toxic. What happens to smells that have ‘disappeared’? How do they disappear?
John Brewer from Cheshire (Age 55+)


One Response

  1. Your nose is a very sensitive sense organ. You can detect small amounts of odorous substances in the atmosphere. However once the substance diffuses into the atmosphere it becomes diluted and reaches a concentration value that cannot be detected by your nose. Also such substances are dispersed in the atmosphere by wind and if water soluble are washed out by rain into the rivers and soil. Substances in the atmosphere may also be degraded by sunlight. What you have to be careful of when smelling a substance such as hydrogen sulphide (the bad egg smell) is that your nose rapidly becomes insensitized, and yet there may still be a fair concentration of the gas in your surrounding environment. Gases such as this have a threshold limit value that should not be exceeded in the atmosphere. Your local Environmental Health Dept routinely monitor the air for such substances. A number of years ago I worked on measuring sulphur dioxide and carbon in the air just after smoke control areas were introduced in the big cities. Once people stopped burning coal there was a rapid improvement in the quality of the air.

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