California and Western Region - Air Pollution and over Population

Topics: Air pollution, Smog, United States Environmental Protection Agency Pages: 6 (1967 words) Published: March 3, 2007
In California air pollution and overpopulation is a major problem facing our environment. In this case, our overpopulation adds to our air pollution, so it is a vicious cycle that only WE can break. This dilemma is harmful to every single living creature in our state. In this essay, I will attempt to identify the cause and effect of both air pollution and overpopulation in the western region. Also, we will look into some current issues we face with state government and how they plan to protect California's future. Finally, we will touch on these same issues that plague the country of China.

Air Pollution

In our state we have a growing problem of air pollution. It might not be as clearly visible in some areas as others but the fact is that air pollution is still there affecting us in some way, shape, or form. Air pollution has been known to cause illness and/or death, which many people may not be aware of. There are two main causes of pollution in our state. One main cause of air pollution is natural. Natural pollution is windblown dust, pollen, fog, etc. The other main cause of air pollution is humans. Air pollution caused by humans is the chief concern and the most serious form. Most of the human pollution created is from industrial work, cars, trucks and airplanes. The causes of pollution can go on and on, and scientists constantly are discovering new elements that add to air pollution. The most harmful cause of air pollution is from automobile emissions. People drive automobiles everyday to get from "Point A to Point B". If automobiles did not exist, the air would most likely be cleaner, but we would not be able to travel long distances in short periods. In any case, the problem remains that automobile emissions are harmful to the environment. There are different toxins found in the air including particulate matter (PM), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and other air toxics. Particulate matter consists of soot and dust particles that are smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Sources of PM include diesel exhaust, soil dust, tire wear, and soot. A major contributor to the PM pollution problem is exhaust from diesel vehicles, which produce 79% of the particulate emissions from mobile sources (Coalition for Clean Air, 2006). The most dangerous aspect of PM pollution from diesel vehicles is the hundreds of different chemicals that are adsorbed to the particle. Exposure to PM pollution has been associated with respiratory and cardiac problems, infections, asthma attacks, lung cancer and decreased life expectancy. Nitrogen monoxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are the two forms of nitrogen oxide found in the atmosphere. Diesel engines produce a large amount of NOx when compared to gasoline engines because of their high temperature combustion process (Coalition for Clean Air, 2006). Nitrogen dioxide has been shown to irritate lung tissue, cause bronchitis and pneumonia, and reduce resistance to respiratory infections. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by burning organic matter such as oil, natural gas, fuel, wood, and charcoal. Automobiles produce 67% of the man-made CO that is released into the atmosphere (Coalition for Clean Air, 2006). Exposure to CO can result in fatigue, angina, reduced visual perception, reduced dexterity, and death. The elderly, young children and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions are particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide pollution. Sulfur dioxide is a colorless gas produced by motor vehicles, refineries, and power plants that burn fossil fuels. Sulfur dioxide reduces respiratory volume, and increases breathing resistance in those exposed, especially asthmatics. Other research has shown that daily mortality rates are consistently associated with sulfur dioxide and ozone levels (Coalition for Clean Air, 2006). Air toxics, which are also known as hazardous air pollutants, are 188 toxic and potentially toxic...

References: Florig, H. Keith. (1997). China 's Air Pollution Risks. Environmental Science and Technology June: 274A-279A. Retrieved October 1, 2006 from the University Online Library.
Coalition for Clean Air. (2006). Pollutants and Health Effects. Retrieved October 1, 2006 from (2006). Factoids and Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved October 8, 2006 from (2006). Facts and Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved September 29, 2006 from
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