Hazardous Wastes, Air Pollution - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Which emissions are turned to fuel using a membrane made of calcium, iron oxide and lanthium?

a. Carbon
b. Sulphur
c. Oxygen
d. Hydrogen
e. Only a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists have developed a new system that can convert carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into useful fuel for cars and aircraft.

The researchers used a membrane - made of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide. It allows the oxygen from carbon dioxide to migrate through the membrane to the other side, leaving carbon monoxide behind.

Carbon monoxide produced during this process can be used as a fuel by itself or combined with hydrogen and/or water to make many other liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

It can also be used to produce methanol (used as an automotive fuel), syngas, and so on.

This new process could become part of the carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies which, if applied to electricity production, could reduce the impact of fossil fuel use on global warming.

The membrane is "100 percent selective for oxygen," allowing only those atoms to pass.

The researchers used a stream of fuel such as hydrogen or methane which get readily oxidised and draw the oxygen atoms through the membrane.

The membrane also prevents the oxygen from migrating back and recombining with the carbon monoxide, to form carbon dioxide all over again.

The method may not only cut greenhouse emissions; it could also produce another potential revenue stream to help defray its costs, researchers indicated.

2)   Scurrying for solutions to fight the toxic air pollution, the government has said it plans to transport coal differently. How?

a. via aircrafts
b. via covered rail wagons and trucks
c. via covered rail wagaons and open jeeps
d. via bullock-carts
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: via covered rail wagons and trucks

Government to transport coal in trucks, rail wagons

Scurrying for solutions to fight the toxic air pollution, the government has said it plans to transport coal in covered rail wagons and trucks across the country.

Ferrying of coal in uncovered vehicles and rail wagons is said to be one of the key reasons behind high pollution levels along the transportation route from coal mine or importing sea port to user plants like power generation houses.

3)   Which of the following heavy metals has the SC banned in the use of fire crackers, as they lead to air pollution?

a. Lithium
b. Mercury
c. Lead
d. Only b and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

The Supreme Court has imposed ban on use of five harmful heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacturing of firecrackers as they cause air pollution.

The SC order came on a 2015 petition filed by three Delhi children who had requested the apex court to intervene to regulate the use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali.

The apex court held that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance of ban order particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu where there are large number of firecracker manufacturers.

It also asked CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) and PESO to make collaborative efforts for setting up of standards with regard to air pollution caused by the bursting of fire-crackers.

Heavy metals in firecrackers Lithium is a metal used to impart red colour to fireworks. Antimony is used to create glitter effects.

Lead oxide provides a special crackling effect which, if inhaled, in high concentration can cause damage to the nervous system.

PESO: Know More

  • PESO is the apex department to control and administer manufacture, storage, transport and handling of explosives, petroleum, compressed gases and other hazardous substances in India.
  • It functions under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra.

4)   Which of the following are common causes of air pollution?

1) Diesel generators
2) Heavy construction activities
3) Temperature control in large buildings

a. 1, 2
b. 1, 3
c. 2, 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above


  • Common causes of air pollution include diesel-fuelled vehicles, heavy construction activities, temperature control in large buildings and use of coal or diesel generators.
  • PM 2.5 refers to atmospheric particulates with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres. Exposure to fine particulates is linked to premature death from heart and lung disease. They trigger or worsen asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
  • The WHO states that as urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma increases.

5)   Which of the following is/are correct?

1) Ten out of the top 20 globally air polluted cities are from India.
2) Gwalior ranks second for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both 1 and 2


  • The ‘Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database (update 2016)’ released by WHO used data from government and research organisations to prepare the database. It is based on ground measurements of annual mean concentrations of particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5).
  • Gwalior and Allahabad, meanwhile, come a close second and third in terms of PM 2.5, while Patna and Raipur are ranked 6th and 7th.
  • Delhi now stands 11th among 3,000 cities in 103 countries in terms of fine particulate matter or PM 2.5. Delhi is 25th based on bigger particulate or PM 10 levels.
  • Particulate matter affects everyone but causes harm faster to children and senior citizens.

6)   Mass emission standards for BS-VI for numerous category vehicles including those with gross vehicle weight not exceeding 3500 kg manufactured on or after April 1, 2020 for all models is specified. What does BS VI stand for ?

a. Bharat Stage VI
b. Bharat Series VI
c. Bharatiya Stage VI
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bharat Stage VI

Moving directly to Euro VI emission norms for petrol and diesel from April 1, 2020, government has come up with draft rules on emission standards for varying categories of vehicles. Specifying mass emission standards for BS-VI for numerous category vehicles including those with gross weight value not exceeding 3500 kg manufactured on or after April 1, 2020 for all models, government has sought suggestion within a month and the rules have been called the Central Motor Vehicles Amendment Rules 2016. Draft of certain rules aims at amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 which the central government proposed to make in exercise with powers conferred under the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. Government decided to jump from Euro IV to Euro VI emission norms and oil plus will invest INR 28,750 crore for the transition.

7)   According to WHO, what is the permissible level of  PM concentration of micrograms per cubic metre?

a. 20 micrograms per cubic metre
b. 25 micrograms per cubic metre
c. 50 micrograms per cubic metre
d. 100 micrograms per cubic metre
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 25 micrograms per cubic metre

- The World Health Organization recommends 25 micrograms per cubic metre as the maximum safe level.
- Major components of PM: sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust and water.
- It consists of a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air.
- The most health-damaging particles are those with a diameter of 10 microns or less, (= PM10), which can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs.
- Chronic exposure to particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as of lung cancer.

8)   Which of the following are primary air pollutants?

1) Ozone
2) Methane
3) Benzene
4) Particulate Matter
5) Oxides of Nitrogen

a. Only 1, 3, 4 and 5
b. Only 1, 2, 4 and 5
c. Only 2, 3, 4 and 5
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only 2, 3, 4 and 5

Primary air pollutants are – Particulate matter (both solid and liquid suspensions), Oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur, hydrocarbons like methane and benzene, etc. Secondary air pollutants are – ozone, sulphur trioxide, etc.

9)   Radiation pollution is in the increase. Which radiations are considered pollutants?

a. Non - ionizing radiations
b. Ionizing radiations
c. Both Ionizing and Non - ionizing radiations
d. Background radiation
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ionizing radiations

We live in an environment of natural radiations there is a certain amount of radioactive radiations almost everywhere on the earth. These are only rarely harmful as the radiation level is generally quite low. This small level of radioactive radiation which is present everywhere is called the background radiation. The ionizing radiations cause damage to biological systems and are, therefore, pollutants. They ionize atoms and molecules.

10)   Which of the following contain the toxic dioxins?

1) Formed on Burning wastes, plastics, coal, etc.
2) Formed when petrol not fully burnt
3) Waste from Industries

a. Only 1
b. Only 1 and 2
c. Only 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

They are toxic chemical compounds. They are also released when we burn cigarettes. Such dioxins are deposited on plants, soil and water and thus get into our food.