Pollution is one of the most worrying problems of our time. This problem surfaced during the industrial revolution. The great industrial revolution brought about many positive changes to the world; better transportation, cheaper products, and a better life. However, with it's riches came the price, pollution. At the beginning of the industrial revolution, no one paid any attention to the problem of pollution.
As the science, progressed people started to realize this problem. Air pollution arises from many sources. The burning of gasoline in automobiles produces harmful gases and incineration of products. From various factories come millions of particles that are carried off in the air. Chemical plants produce gaseous by-products that are toxic when their concentration is high enough. As parts of the world become more industrialized, air pollution has generally increased and new health hazards have developed.
Air pollution can result from causes that we can not control. For example, forest fires, dust storms, and volcanoes. Acid rain is one of the products of air pollution. Acid rain is created when raindrops combine with the polluted air.
Acid rain causes erosion of buildings, destruction of crops, and other assets. Air pollution also causes global warming... According to some predictions, significant alterations in climate patterns could become apparent in a few years. Estimates of global average temperatures have projected an increase of as much as 9 o F before the year 2100. There are two kinds of sources of air pollution indoor and outdoor air pollution.
The indoor air polluters include many products, from cleansers to furnishings, which release harmful organic compounds into the air you breathe. The EPA has measured levels of organic compounds in both rural and suburban homes that range from two to five times the levels of outside air. Another indoor pollutant is called mold, a microscopic organism, can grow at any surface; it grows at any place where humidity is above 70 percent. These molds create spores that can go inside a human body and cause many complications. According to the American Lung Association, mold triggers allergic reactions, including asthma. A study by the Mayo Clinic states that mold is the cause of nearly all chronic sinus infections.
It can lead to serious complications, including breathing difficulties, memory and hearing loss, and bleeding of the lungs. As serious as the indoor pollutants are, they are minimal compared to the outdoor pollution. This pollution includes from factories to volcanoes. Gases are released in the air because of the fissile fuel burned by the factories ships, automobiles, ships, and trains. Every industry process exhibits its own patterns of air pollution.
Petroleum refineries are responsible for extensive hydrocarbon and particulate pollution. Iron refineries and steel mills, metal smelter, pulp and paper mills, chemical plants, cement and asphalt plants, all discharge vast amount of various particulates. Uninsulated high-voltage power lines ionize the adjacent air, forming ozone and other hazardous pollutants. Some of the gases include carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide carbon dioxide.
Carbon Monoxide comes from cars, trucks, gas furnaces and stoves, and some industrial processes. Carbon Monoxide is also a toxin in cigarettes. Carbon Monoxide combines with hemoglobin in the red blood cells, so body cells and tissues cannot get the oxygen they need. Carbon Monoxide attacks the immune system, especially affecting anyone with heart disease, anemia, and lung diseases.
Even at low concentrations, CO affects mental function, vision, and alertness. Nitrogen Oxide is another pollutant that has been nicknamed a jet-age pollutant because it is only apparent in highly advanced countries. Sources of this are fuel plant, cars, and trucks. At lower concentrations, nitrogen oxides are a light brown gas. In high concentrations, they are major sources of haze and smog. They also combine with other compounds to help form ozone.
Nitrogen Oxides cause eye and lung irritation, and lowers the resistance to respiratory illness, such as chest colds, bronchitis, and influenza. Air pollution by sulfur oxides is a major environmental problem. It is estimated that 30-40 million tons of sulfur dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere by the United States each year. This compound itself is harmful to plant and animal life, as well as to many building materials.
Another problem of great concern is acid rain. Both sulfur oxides dissolve in atmospheric water droplets to form acidic solutions that can be very damaging when distributed in the form of rain. It is thought that sulfuric acid is the major cause of the acidity in acid rain, which is not only damaging forests in the Northern Hemisphere but also causing fish, to die off in many northern lakes as well. Acid rain is also corrosive to metals, limestone, and other materials.
The possible solutions to this problem are expensive because of the difficulty of removing sulfur from coal and oil before they are burned. Carbon dioxide is not as lethal as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxide, or nitrogen oxide, however Carbon dioxide (CO 2) is one of the major pollutants in the atmosphere. Major sources of carbon dioxide are fossil fuels burning and deforestation. Industrial countries account for 65% of carbon dioxide emissions with the United States and Soviet Union responsible for 50%. Less developed countries, with 80% of the world's people, are responsible for 35% of carbon dioxide emissions, but they may contribute 50% by 2020. Carbon dioxide emissions are increasing by 4% a year.
In 1975, 18 thousand million tons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere, but the atmosphere showed an increase of only 8 billion tons. The ocean waters contain about sixty times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. If the oceans can no longer absorb this much carbon dioxide, then more carbon dioxide will remain into the atmosphere. As water warms, its ability to absorb carbon dioxide is reduced. Air pollution affects all spheres of the earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and the sphere of life, the biosphere. When pollutants are released in the air, they contaminate the atmosphere with the deadly gases like Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Sulfur dioxide, and so on.
When these gases come back down to earth the fell into the water, since 70 percent of earth is covered with water, when these hazardous gases fell in the water they contaminate the hydrosphere. In addition, these gases drop on the land and pollute it. Consequently, all of these polluted spheres lead to the pollution biosphere, so every sphere is contaminated by pollution. Air pollution effects land, buildings, and human health. Air pollution erodes land and buildings, India had 2 billion dollar loss in productivity because of soil erosion because of acid rain land becomes unfit to produce good crop. Soil erosion has consequences that are more serious; Ethiopia loses not 2 billion dollars but 2 billion tons of soil every year.
This is much more serious, losing $ 2 billion is conceivable, but it is hard to understand 2 billion tons of soil eroded away every year. It is one of the consequences of the air pollution and acid rain. In addition, many building around the world are mostly made of a rock called limestone, limestone reacts with acids. Consequently, the buildings will start to erode because of acid rain. Effects on humans, air pollution causes many respiratory diseases. It is the leading cause of asthma, an estimated 24.
7 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, according to the American Lung Association; the disease costs the nation $12. 7 billion yearly. From 1980 to 1994, asthma cases increased by 75 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Theses are startling statistics but they should not be, because from 1980 to 2002, there have been more factories, more forest fires, and countless automobiles. All of which have been contributing to the air pollution. In addition, to the current air pollution the pollution from before 1980 era is still in the air, the environment can not absorb any more gases.
The governments of the world's nations are taking measures to solve this problem. Many countries have passed Clean Air Act, which have reduced the air pollution. However, these laws are not enough to protect the environment. The citizens of these countries have to take steps to help solve this problem. For example, getting the car tuned more frequently so it will create less smoke. For factories, owners, to use resources that produce fewer pollutants, for example instead of using coal, use natural gas, because it produces less pollution.
In conclusion, imagine a scenario, a Red Cross truck pulls into a small community and starts handing out bottled water to people in dire need of pure safe water to drink. It is hard to imagine this kind of event water very important for our life. However, if the air pollution problem continues there might come a day when we have to breath out of an oxygen tank. If the problems continuous like this, that day might not be a thing of the distant future. All I can do is do my part to save the environment and hope for a solution to this problem.