El Paso, Air Quality: Pollution, History and Community
Instructor, Yussuf Farran
In order to comprehend the definition on air quality one must first uncover the definition of air, as air is one of the biggest resources our planet has available we must study the conditions and impact that it has in our environment. Air is a precious resource that most take for granted, supplying us with oxygen; which is an essential for our bodies to live, without oxygen in our bodies all life on earth would be extinct in a matter of minutes.
Pure air is a mixture of several gases that are invisible and odorless. It consists of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and less than 1% of argon, carbon dioxide, and other gases — as well as varying amounts of water vapors. The atmosphere is a mixture of gases that surround the earth. It is the air we breathe, the wind and rain, and the clouds in the sky. It is life giving, retaining heat and blocking out harmful rays (ultraviolet radiation) from the sun. ("Bcairquality", 2013)
The term “air quality” means the state of the air around us. Good air quality refers to clean, clear, unpolluted air. Clean air is essential to maintaining the delicate balance of life on this planet — not just for humans, but wildlife, vegetation, water and soil. Poor air quality is a result of a number of factors, including emissions from various sources, both natural and “human-caused.” Poor air quality occurs when pollutants reach high enough concentrations to endanger human health and/or the environment. ("Bcairquality", 2013) The Air Pollution Control Act of 1955 was the first federal legislation involving air pollution. This act provided funds for federal research in air pollution. The Clean Air Act of 1963 was the first federal legislation regarding air pollution control. It established a program within the U.S. Public Health Service authorizing research into techniques for monitoring and controlling air pollution. Air quality is a measurement of the condition of air relative that requires one or more biotic species and/or to any human need or purpose. Air shed is a part of the atmosphere that behaves in a coherent way with respect to the dispersion of emissions (Negley, 1998). Air quality is managed by the Air Quality section in El Paso County and is responsible for maintaining and collecting data from air monitoring sites located within the city limits of El Paso, Juarez, Mexico and for enforcing city and state air quality regulations. In El Paso County the person in charge is Al Melero the air quality supervisor (Watson & Emerson, 1993). Still air caused by area of high pressure, temperature condition, or lack of winds lets air pollution remain in a local area. The air pollutants mentioned below can determine good and bad air quality depending on the lack of strengths of air emissions by fresh air. Particle pollution also known as (particulate matter) (PM10, PM 2.5), ground level ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxides (NO2), and Sulfur dioxide (SO2), (Watson & Emerson, 1993). Six Major Air Pollutants:
The six common pollutants are particle pollution, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. The Clean Air Act requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the six common pollutants or criteria pollutants. The Clean Air Act established two types of national air quality standards, primary and secondary standards. Primary standards set limits to protect public health and secondary to protect public welfare. Particle pollution or particulate matter (PM) is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Dust, dirt, soot or smoke, are large enough to be seen with the naked eye yet others can only be detected with an electron microscope. The size of particles is linked to the potential for causing health problems,...
References: * http://www.bcairquality.ca
* City Of El Paso. (2011). Air Quality Program. Retrieved from http://www.elpasotexas.gov/environmenta services
* Delgado, Jesus . "Smeltertown Still Exists in Memories." Borderlands 21 (2002-2003): 9. Borderlands. EPCC Libraries. <http://dnn.epcc.edu/nwlibrary/borderlands>Page last updated: 01 Oct 2011
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