A Comparative Study on the Air Quality of Three Sites in Baguio Using Lichens as Bioindicator

Topics: Air pollution, Lichen, Baguio City Pages: 17 (4981 words) Published: September 5, 2013


A Research Paper submitted to the
College of Arts and Communication
University of the Philippines Baguio
Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City

  In partial fulfillment of the course
Basic Research Skills (Communication 2)

January 22, 2012


Background of the Study

Atmospheric or Air pollution has a drastic effect in limiting the distribution of many living organism including plants like lichens and bryophytes (Laundon 1967 as cited by Hill, 1971). Air pollution is any contamination of the atmosphere by gaseous, liquid, or solid wastes or by-products that endangers human health and other living organisms like plants and animals (Daly, 1970). It is strongly affected by atmospheric conditions such as temperature, pressure, and humidity and it is caused by several factors which includes anthropogenic activities like vehicular emissions, combustion of the fossil fuels, coal and oil for domestic heating, electricity generating, industrial uses such as oil refining, steel, copper, nickel, magnesium production and phosphate fertilizer production (Adams and Preston, 1992) and natural processes in the atmosphere. These contaminants are emitted from diverse sources because of industrialization and this accounts for the fact that air pollutant and air quality is found to be much worse in many developing countries (www.learner.org) and this includes the Philippines.

Pollutants or contaminants in the atmosphere are categorized as either primary air pollutants which are emitted directly into the air from sources. It can be precursors for the formation of secondary air pollutants which are chemicals formed through reactions in the atmosphere (www.learner.org). The Primary air pollutants include Sulfur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen oxides, Carbon monoxide, Hydrogen fluorides and volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons). These primary pollutants become associated with the formation of acid rains like sulfuric acids, nitric acids, aerosols like sulfate aerosols which contains solid and liquid particles that are suspended in the air, smog, and Ozone ,which are secondary pollutants of air. They are deposited in the atmosphere through wet deposition which occurs in any form of precipitates (acid rains and snow), dry depositions occurring in the absence of precipitates and occult precipitation which involves deposition through wind driven cloud and fog particles (Adams and Preston, 1992; www.learner.org). Because of the continuous worsening of the air quality, scientists have come up with ways of measuring air pollution directly (quantitatively and qualitatively) using instruments in measuring concentrations of specific pollutants and by the use of biomonitors or bioindicators in order to record the extent of pollution in any for public information and awareness.

Biomonitors are living organisms that tell us the health condition of the environment (Arndt et al., 1987). Furthermore, they can act as early warning indicators. Lichens are one of the widely and commonly used bioindicators of air quality or air pollution in a specific area (Vokou et al., 1999). They are small dual organisms or plants composed of a fungus and an alga living together in a symbiotic interaction. Their habitat includes the rocky shore, mountain summits, hot deserts, as well as stems and trunks or barks of trees (Clergy, 1984; Baranowska-Bosiacka et al., 2003). Moreover, lichens are poikilohydric organisms, this means that their water status depends on the conditions of the environment. They gain and lose water rapidly and have little or no control over water loss. Thus, photosynthesis and growth occur when water is available and if water is not their metabolism is suspended (Nash III & Wirth, 1998)....
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