Stop Breathing... or Die (Air Pollution Research Paper)

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Stop Breathing… or Die
The earth’s atmosphere is a constantly moving body of gases that encircle our planet. This body of gases known as air is a mixture, not a chemical combination, of a number of gases; that is, each gas retains its own characteristic properties. It consists of about 78 percent nitrogen; 21 percent oxygen, and carries along with it water vapor, clouds, dust, smoke, soot, and a variety of chemical compounds. The remaining one percent contains all the other gases including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, and ammonia that contribute to harmful pollutants that are released into the air. Millions of tons of harmful gases are released into the air each year. According to The World Health Organization, 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, with 1.5 million of these deaths attributable to in-door air pollution (World Health Organization, www.who.int). For the past several decades’ air pollution has become more of a health risk factor. What is air pollution? Air pollution is air that enters our atmosphere that contains undesirable substances such as gases, dust, chemicals, particulate matter, biological materials, fumes or odor in harmful amounts. That is, amounts which could be harmful to the health or comfort or humans and animals or which could cause damage to plants and materials. The use and release of certain chemicals can be of serious concern if they have significant impacts on human health or the environment. The substances that cause air pollution are called pollutants. An air pollutant is known as a substance in the air that can cause harm to humans and the environment. Pollutants can be in the form of solid particles, liquid droplets, or gases. In addition, they may be natural or man-made. Pollutants that are pumped into our atmosphere and directly pollute the air are called primary pollutants. Pollutants can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary pollutants are directly emitted from a process. Primary pollutant examples include ash from a volcanic eruption, carbon monoxide from motor vehicle exhausts and sulfur dioxide from the combustion of coal. Further pollution can arise if primary pollutants in the atmosphere undergo chemical reactions. The resulting compounds are called secondary pollutants. An important example of a secondary pollutant is ground level ozone – one of the many secondary pollutants that make up photochemical smog. Photochemical smog is an example of this. Some pollutants may be both primary and secondary: that is, they are both emitted directly and formed from other primary pollutants. Major primary pollutants produced by human activity include sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, toxic metals, chlorofluorocarbons, ammonia, odors and radioactive pollutants. Secondary pollutants include particulate matter formed from gaseous primary pollutants and compounds in photochemical smog, ground level ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate. Air pollution has been there in almost every stage of the formation of earth; however it will not stop but only continue to accumulate more pollution than ever before. Therefore, air pollution is becoming more dangerous to the health of all living things in our world. There are many causes that create air pollution; it’s caused either by natural resources or man-made waste. And the effects of air pollution can have a major catastrophic effect on our atmosphere as well on the living things in our globe.

There are a wide variety of things that cause air pollution. A large number of people in the world don’t realize that certain resources and products we use are damaging the earth’s atmosphere, also while threatening life and other living things on earth. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, hundreds of toxins and pollutants exist in the atmosphere released every day from factories, car...
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