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Air Pollution

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by

Jeffrey Ali

on 6 June 2013

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Transcript of Air Pollution

How does air pollution directly affect us? Because breathing in polluted air is similar to smoking cigarettes, many of the health concerns are similar such as asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. However, it is obesity that is becoming a much larger problem in polluted cities. A 2011 study by Harvard researchers found a “consistent and significant” relationship between Type II diabetes and exposure to fine particulate matter. Ohio State University professor Qinghua Sun later carried out an experiment involving rats which confirmed these findings. In other words, citizens in most US cities are literally getting fatter with each breath. by: Jeffrey Ali Air Pollution What is air pollution? Air pollution occurs when harmful chemicals, particulates, or materials are released into the air. These pollutants cause the air to become unhealthy resulting in serious problems for organisms as well as their environment. Some of the main contributors include... Cars, trucks, and airplanes which use combustion engines that release carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and gaseous oxide. This type of air pollution creates smog as seen in this photo of Los Angeles. Factories, office buildings, and power-generating stations which burn fossil fuels, resulting in air pollution. The burning of oil and coal also contributes to smog. Why should we be concerned? Air pollution is a topic that must be addressed because of acid rain and medical conditions such as asthma which are direct consequences. In the US it is especially important that we clean up the air soon, or we could end up like China, where the air is so polluted that wearing a mask has become the norm in many cities. In addition, if left untreated and in its current state, air pollution is predicted to become the #1 killer in the world, with more deaths than Malaria and unhealthy water combined. Acid Rain In addition to health concerns, air pollution also leads to acid rain which damages ecosystems. Acid rain primarily comes from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which are released into the atmosphere through volcanic eruptions, organic decay and fossil fuel emissions. Acid rain kills trees and pollutes the water, harming the organisms within. In addition, acid rain deteriorates statues and buildings. Conclusion A great amount of progress has been made in reducing the levels of pollution in the air since the Industrial Revolution. In the US this is mainly thanks to the Clean Air Act, which allows the Environmental Protection Agency to limit the pollution factories can legally release. However, this is not enough; there is still much more work to be done not only in the US, but in countries such as China and India. Working together, we can make the Earth's air healthy once more. Acid rain can also have much deeper effects. In a study done by Cornell researchers, it was shown that Wood Thrushes in an area were indirectly affected by acid rain. While the acid rain did not harm the birds, it did rob the soil in this area of the nutrients essential for any snails to survive. The Wood Thrushes were thus unable to consume any snails, their main source of calcium, and their eggs were fragile and easily broken, leading to a decrease in population. The process of acid rain
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