Sc1311 Earth Science: Air & Ground Pollution

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Lakita Garvin
SCI311 Earth Science
Research Paper
March 10. 2011

Air & Groundwater Pollution
Their Effects, Impacts and Consequences

This paper will discuss different types of pollutions such as air and groundwater pollution. It will also discuss how different forms of pollution impact and effect the world we know around us. To tackle discussing various forms of pollution and how they affect our community, discussed first will be air pollution and its consequences. Second, groundwater pollution and its impacts. Included in the groundwater pollution discussion paragraph will be possible solutions to help relieve our waters from toxins will be presented.

According to, NATSOURCE, a company that specializes in environmental services the definition of air pollution is, “one or more chemical or substances in high concentrations in the air to harm humans, animals, vegetation, and materials. Such chemicals or physical conditions (such as excess heat or noise) are called air pollutants.” Many places across the world are contaminated by air pollution. Air pollution is more common today and is becoming more and more harmful on our communities and the people within them. Air pollution damages Earth’s surface, environments, inhabitants and the air that we breath. Not only are we at risk from being damaged by air pollution but plants and animals have a higher risk. Many times this danger comes from what a lot of us depend on for vegetation, rain. Rain can be harmful when it has high levels of acid in it which makes it what many call, acid rain. According to research done by Gardiner for the UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) rain becomes acidic, “when an air pollutant, such as sulfuric acid combines with the water droplets that make up clouds.” They go on to state, “When those droplets fall to the ground as rain or snow, the acidity of the water can have damaging effects on the environment.”

Air pollution is also damaging the ozone layer by causing it to thin. A thin ozone layer can be harmful for anything living. The most damaging product to the ozone layer are CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). “Once described as “miracle chemicals,”…they cause the breakdown of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation” (Ennis, 2011). In the early 1900s the world was introduced to CFCs. In 1930 they were first manufactured by industries that found many uses. CFCs could be found in almost any of the common household items such as aerosol cans, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Scientist never predicted that CFCs would become as harmful as it did because of its chemical inertness. According to research conducted by Ennis, “This inertness, and their lack of solubility in water, give CFCs a long life span in the atmosphere (tens to hundreds of years, depending on the CFC). A breakdown of the ozone layer causes particles from the ozone layer to be near Earth’s surface. “Ozone molecules near the ground damages lung tissues of animals and prevent plant respiration by blocking the openings in leaves where respiration occurs” (Gardiner, 2006). If plants cant breath then plants cant grow. Vegetation is then brought to a halt. As the ozone layer began to get thinner and as more research and testing were conducted CFCs were recognized as a dangerous and harmful chemical.

To slow the breakdown of the ozone layer the government had to do something. So, The Montreal Protocol was enforced. According to the Encyclopedia of Earth, “The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty that was first agreed to in 1987. Signed by just 24 nations in 1987 but subsequently ratified by over 180 governments.” This treaty is one of the most successful environmental treaties ever established. The Montreal Protocol, “is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances...
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