Prelims 2021

Q. Magnetite particles, suspected to cause neurodegenerative problems, are generated as environmental pollutants from which of the following?

1.Brakes of motor vehicles
2.Engines of motor vehicles
3.Microwave stoves within homes
4.Power plants
5.Telephone lines

Select the correct answer using the code given below.
a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
b) 1, 2 and 4 only
c) 3, 4 and 5 only
d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Correct Answer: b) 1, 2 and 4 only

Question from UPSC Prelims 2021 GS Paper

Explanation : 

Magnetite Particles and Environmental Pollution

Magnetite particles can indeed be generated from various sources of environmental pollution, and there is research suggesting that these particles might be linked to neurodegenerative problems. The correct answer to the question is: b) 1, 2 and 4 only

Here’s why:

1. Brakes of Motor Vehicles

When brakes wear down, they can release fine particles into the air, including magnetite due to the iron used in brake pads and other components.

2. Engines of Motor Vehicles

Combustion processes can generate a variety of particulate matter, including magnetite particles, especially from diesel engines which can produce more particulate matter than gasoline engines.

3. Microwave Stoves Within Homes

While microwaves do emit some electromagnetic fields, they are not known to generate magnetite particles as a pollutant.

4. Power Plants

Fossil fuel-fired power plants, especially those burning coal, can emit magnetite particles as part of the fly ash and other combustion by-products.

5. Telephone Lines

There is no evidence to suggest that telephone lines generate magnetite particles as an environmental pollutant.

Therefore, microwave stoves within homes and telephone lines are not sources of magnetite particle pollution, and the correct answer excludes these options.

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