Air Pollution - What Causes Air Pollution

Topics: Air pollution, Pollution, Oxygen Pages: 2 (338 words) Published: October 8, 1999
What is Air Pollution
Air Pollution contamination of the atmosphere by gaseous, liquid, or solid wastes that can endanger the health of human beings, plants, and animals, or that can damage materials, reduce visibility, or produce undesirable odors.

Air Pollution Statistics

Every year, more than sixty-six million tons of poisonous gas is emptied into the air, twelve million tons of hydrocarbons1, six million tons of nitrogen oxides, one hundred fifty thousand tons of aldehydes2, and five hundred thousand tons of sulfur compunds. Approximately 80% of our air pollution comes from hydrocarbons released by vegetation.

What Causes Air Pollution

Air pollution is caused by many things such as car fumes, burning of fossil fuels, furnaces. By letting all these gases release into the air, it makes it harder to breathe. Ozone can cause part of your lungs to close off and make it harder to breathe.

The tall smokestacks used by industries and utilities do not remove pollutants but simply boost them higher into the atmosphere. These pollutants may then be transported over great distances, causing adverse effects such as acid rain in areas far from the emission site. The worldwide increase in the burning of coal and oil since the late 1940s has led to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide. The resulting greenhouse effect has reduced the escape of infrared radiation from the earth, causing a possible global warming trend.

The Prevention of Air Pollution

To cut down on all the pollution being released into the air, we have removed the pollutant before materials are used, removed the pollutant after it is formed, or altered the process to lower pollutant levels produced.

In the United States, the Clean Air Act of 1967 is the legal basis for air-pollution control. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for enforcing the act. Internationally, 49 countries agreed in 1985 on a United Nations convention to protect the ozone layer. This...
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