A cloud of poisonous formaldehyde appeared over India

According to the European satellite Sentinel-5R, in the sky over the Hindustan peninsula and above Africa south of the Sahara, there is an increased concentration of poisonous formaldehyde.

The satellite of the European Space Agency Sentinel-5P, launched last October, collected more data in less than a year than its predecessor, the NASA AURA satellite, armed with the Omi spectrometer, assembled in ten years. The instrument of the European satellite Tropomi detects gases, which, compared to nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, have few – nitrogen and sulfur oxides, ozone and carbon monoxide, as well as aerosols and dust. On the basis of his data, the scientists compiled a map of the airborne content of formaldehyde, and it turned out that the particularly high concentration of this toxic gas is characteristic of India and sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists believe that this is the fault of the burning forests of Hindustan and the use of firewood in the household, which is still widespread in India and neighboring countries. The Himalayas delay atmospheric formaldehyde, and it concentrates over the Indian plains and plateaus. In the north, above the desert and mountainous state of Rajasthan, there is almost no formaldehyde – there is neither vegetation nor industrial plants.

Formaldehyde secretes living plants into the atmosphere; they account for 50 to 80% of this gas. Two other major sources of formaldehyde are forest fires and industrial emissions. It is very toxic even in small concentrations, but most importantly – its presence in the atmosphere indicates other environmental problems: uncontrolled fires and “dirty” industrial production.