7 Ways to Reduce Air Pollution
Step 1: Understand Where Air Pollution Comes From
According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are six major causes of air pollution in the United States. These are ground-level ozone, particulate matter, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.
While most people have heard of carbon monoxide, lead and particulate matter, they might be surprised to learn that the primary source of air pollution today is ground-level ozone. Unlike the natural ozone layer that surrounds the earth and helps regulate temperature by shielding it from the sun’s harmful rays, ground-level ozone occurs when nitrogen oxides mix with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The chemical reaction that follows emits ground-level ozone that can lead to numerous health problems. Upper respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are all related to ground-level ozone. So where does this chemical reaction occur? Anywhere you have gasoline vapors, car exhaust fumes, a large storage of chemical agents, and factory or utility plant emissions. Reduce these key elements and you can reduce the amount of ground-level ozone you are exposed to.
Step 2: Reduce Your Use of Automobiles
Automobiles do more than just contribute to ground-level ozone. The making of gasoline requires the burning of coal and oil which causes an increase in sulfur dioxides, another of the six leading causes of air pollution. The EPA says petroleum refineries are key producers of sulfur dioxides and the more time spent behind the wheel of a car means more air pollution for everyone to breathe.
While it may not be possible to completely eliminate your use of automobiles, try consolidating errands and shopping to keep from making multiple trips to the same location. If you live near a commuter railway, make a commitment to take the train at least one day a week to work. Looking for a new set of wheels? Why not buy a hybrid. These...
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