Air Pollution Summary 23

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AIR POLUTION

Problem The first thing people see, in the morning, when they walk outside is the sky or the colored sun. Is this world giving us the privilege of seeing the natural colors of the sun through all the layers of pollution within the air (Dinanike 31)? Not only are beautiful sights such as this hidden behind the pollution this world causes everyday, but an increase in diseases, infections and death occurs. What causes pollution? What can we do to prevent it, and get rid of it? Is it fair to the children of the future to have to suffer the consequences that pollution causes? Why not take care of the problem now? Factory and business owners have the ability to prevent air pollution. Air pollution is the presence in the atmosphere of harmful gases, liquids, or solids. Air pollution, known as smoke pollution for many years, resulted from coal combustion (Hodges 526). Smog has been a problem in coal-burning areas for several centuries. Smog finally decreased when coal combustion was replaced by oil and gas combustion. Air pollution is caused by a number of different types of pollutants. The first type, particulate matter, consists of solid and liquid aerosols suspended in the atmosphere. These arise from the burning of coal and from industrial processes. Atmospheric particles can scatter and absorb sunlight which reduces visibility. Particles also reduce visibility by attenuating the light from objects and illuminating the air causing the contrast between the objects and their backgrounds to reduce. Not only does it effect visibility, but it hastens the erosion of building materials and the corrosion of metals, interferes with the human respiratory system, and brings toxic materials into the body. The small particles cause chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, emphysema and lung cancer (Hodges 59). The second type is sulfur oxides which come from the burning of coal and industrial processes. Damage to materials, to vegetation, and to the human respiratory system are caused by the acid nature of oxides. Small quantities of sulfur oxides can increase illness and mortality (Hodges 59). The third type of pollutant is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas against which humans have no protection. Carbon monoxide comes from the exhaust of gasoline-powered vehicles and secondarily from industrial processes (Hamer 45). Hemoglobin, which is in the blood, combines with carbon monoxide and carries less oxygen to body tissues causing health and heart effects. Some health problems come from the exhaust fumes leaking into the interior of the automobile. "Several hundred Americans die from CO poisoning each year. Sodium oxide levels below .25 ppm have been associated with increased morbidity in New York as measured by hospital admissions. In all cases in which adverse health effects have been noted the elderly patients have been affected severely" (Hodges 60). The fourth type is hydrocarbons which are chemical compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen. Hydrocarbons also arise from gasoline-powered vehicles and from industrial processes. Hydrocarbons are an important part of the production of photochemical smog (Hodges 61). The last type is nitrogen oxides that come from high- temperature combustion, such as that occurring in motor vehicle engines, electric power plants and other fuel usage. Nitrogen oxide contributes to acidity in precipitation and production of photochemical smog. Nitrogen oxide is also dangerous it causes serious illness and deaths even if the exposure to NO2 is short. "The gas was responsible for 124 deaths in a fire at Cleveland's Crile Children Hospital on May 15, 1929, when x-ray film containing nitrocellulose accidentally caught fire and produced NO2" (Hodges 63).

Solution As one can surely see these types of air pollutants are harmful to our atmosphere, environment and personal health. Factory owners can help prevent all of these effects. Researchers have found...
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