Ekaterina NazarovaENVIR 100 October 27, 2012Individual Research Assignment
Air QualityThe earth is not only our home but a delicate creature. Our planet needs to breathe clean air in order to survive and yet we see a large quantity of polluted air all around the world. Its important to recognize that there is a natural pollution that occurs on the planet, yet its more important to understand that man-made pollution created from manufacturing plants and the burning of fossil fuels makes it difficult for the earth to cleanse itself. Air pollution is the cause for a variety of serious health problems and therefore must be regulated if not stopped. Focusing more attention onto government agencies is our best chance to dramatically reduce the level of pollutants being spewed into our atmosphere.Ozone weakening due to air pollution is known to be a threat to human health as well as to the earth's ecosystems. Most people have a hard time grasping the effects air pollution has on the ecosystems thus a lot of attention is focused on the threat to humans. Poor air quality can have serious health effects on humans. The elderly, infants and pregnant women are the high risk groups and are likely candidates to be effected (Effects). According to University Today, there are a number of health problems that can develop including increases in the number of asthma cases in the world, a rise in a persons chance of getting cancer, and increases in the chance that a child will be born with congenital defects. Exposure to air pollution is also greatly associated with pulmonary, cardiac, vascular and neurological damages (Effects). Unfortunately there are some aspects of air pollution that we cannot control.Most of the time people associate air pollution to human industrialized pollutants when really the earth itself is a direct source for natural pollution. From volcanic eruptions to wildfires there are many direct and natural causes for air pollution (Coffey). For example, Yakima WA has been experiencing a great deal of fires cause by lightning storms this last year. The wildfires have greatly reduced the air quality in Yakima, to the point where young children and elderly people have been advised to remain indoors (Catchipole). Over time the earth has the capability to clean itself from a certain level of pollution, however too many man made pollutants have slowed down the earths natural ability to remove these toxins from the atmosphere (Coffey). Human interference on the other hand is a far greater menace than any volcanic eruption.Although natural pollution from volcanos and wildfires is a significant contributor to our air quality it cannot match the extent of human effluence. Breaking things down to the bone, the most indirect cause of air pollution are humans. After all, human innovations in technology dont come without a price. One of the main causes of air pollution is the great quantity of chemicals being vomited into out atmosphere from construction and manufacturing plants. These factories release sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and dioxide, that are all being ejected into the earths atmosphere and causing long term effects on our planet as well as serious health problems to human being (Coffey). According to University Today, there isnt an area on the earths atmosphere that has not been altered by long term effects of pollution created by manufacturing. Any naturally occurring pollution is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the pollutants that people produce, thus reinforcing the idea that man is the serious threat to air quality. Unfortunately though, manufacturing plants are not the only guilty party in this scenario, the average American contributes to the problem.A big contributor in air pollution is the constant burning of fossil fuel that we do in our everyday lives. In fact, every mile we spend simply driving to work or school causes a release of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxides and heavy melt particulates into the air (Coffey). According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, an indirect source of air contamination is attributed to highways and motor vehicle use. A regulation of these highways and vehicles can greatly influence the level of fossil fuel ejection into the atmosphere. Government regulation and support in new energies and technology can help drive the future in air pollution. There are many solutions that can limit air pollution today if companies would support them. According to Science Daily, the most immediate method of improving air quality would be the use of bioethanol fuel, biodiesel, solar energy, and hybrid vehicle technologies. Ultimately the struggle for clean air quality is a political one. Companies and leaders need to come out and support these innovations. But the best progress in the deceleration of air pollution will come from government regulation. Fortunately people have become more and more aware about air quality over the last century and the government has created many helpful programs such as the Clean Air Act of 1970 (History). This act was the milestone that pushed for more guidelines in vehicle emissions, acid deposition control and established emission standards for air pollutants (History). Most importantly, the clean air act allowed for more enforcement activity. A push in the right direction from the legislation will ensure a greater success when it comes to the reduction in air pollution.In conclusion, air pollution is the cause for a variety of serious health problems and must be regulated. More attention onto government agencies is our best chance to dramatically reduce the level of pollutants being spewed into our atmosphere.
Works Cited Catchipole, Dan. Wildfires reduce air quality throughout Yakima Valley. 12 September 2012. Yakima Herald Republic. http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2012/09/12/burn-ban-ordered-for-yakima-county-because-of-forest-fire-smokeCoffey, Jerry. Causes of Air Pollution. 4 December 2010. University Today. http://www.universetoday.com/81977/causes-of-air-pollution/Effects of Air Polution: Health Effects. Air Pollution Control Orientation Course. 29 January 2010. US Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/eogapti1/course422/ap7a.htmlHistory of the Clean Air Act. Clean Air Act. 17 February 2012. US Environmental Protection Agency. http://epa.gov/oar/caa/caa_history.html#milestonesIndirect Sources Of Air Contamination. Department of Environmental Conservation. 2012. New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation. http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/4292.htmlScience Reference: Air Pollution. Science Daily. 2012. Science Daily LLC. http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/air_pollution.htm
Images of Air Pollution
Heres an image of smoke and pollution in Eastern China. China is mostly powered by coal powerplants, which generate a lot of air pollution. Forest fires are the red dots in the image.
The image below This is an image of the Po River Valley in Italy. Its the same problem as the Himalayas. The tall Alp Mountain range block air masses from moving past, trapping air pollution in the region.