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Air Pollution Essay

1514 words - 7 pages

Air Pollution is major problem that is yet to be solved. We as humans depend on the air around us to live, without it we would die. Although we rely on this as an essential source for living, it is still littered and polluted with chemicals. Pollution of the atmosphere and the air around us is becoming more "popular" everyday. "If there are other particles or gases in the air that are not part of its normal composition, we call this "air pollution" and the particles or gases are called "air pollutants." Very small amounts of certain air pollutants can cause serious health and environmental problems. We can see some air pollutants such as the reddish-brown haze in smog; however, other air ...view middle of the document...

Currently carbon dioxide is responsible for 57% of the global warming trend. Nitrogen oxides contribute most of the atmospheric contaminants. "The supply and use of fossil fuels accounts for about three-fourths of humankind's carbon dioxide emissions. The burning of oil, natural gas and coal produces most of the energy used to produce electricity, heat houses, run automobiles and power factories" (Air Pollution). There are no ways of repair the damaged that has been done, but one could take necessary steps in making sure they do not contribute to make the situation worse.Another reason one must understand air pollution and how it affects the earth is because of the damage it does to plants. "With the destruction and burning of the rain forests more and more CO2 is being released into the atmosphere. Trees play an important role in producing oxygen from carbon dioxide. "A 115 year old Beech tree exposes about 200,000 leaves with a total surface to 1200 square meters. During the course of one sunny day such a tree inhales 9,400 liters of carbon dioxide to produce 12 kilograms of carbohydrate, thus liberating 9,400 liters of oxygen. Through this mechanism about 45,000 liters of air are regenerated which is sufficient for the respiration of 2 to 3 people". This process is called photosynthesis which all plants go though but some yield more and some less oxygen. As long as no more wood is burnt than is reproduced by the forests, no change in atmospheric CO2 concentration will result.Pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and peroxyacl nitrates (PANs), cause direct damage to leaves of crop plants and trees when they enter leaf pores (stomates). Chronic exposure of leaves and needles to air pollutants can also break down the waxy coating that helps prevent excessive water loss and damage from diseases, pests, drought and frost. "In the midwestern United States crop losses of wheat, corn, soybeans, and peanuts from damage by ozone and acid deposition amount to about $5 billion a year"" (Socha). We need to low pollution to keep our crop plants and trees healthy.Lastly, during the past hundred years, air pollution has become a major, persistent problem. "Pollutants are dispersed throughout the world's atmosphere in concentrations high enough to gradually cause serious health problems. Serious health problems can occur quickly when air pollutants are concentrated, such as when massive injections of sulfur dioxide and suspended particulate matter are emitted by a large volcanic eruption." "When inhaled, air pollutants affect the respiratory tract and lungs, but may also travel through the bloodstream and distress vital organs. By depositing themselves in the environment, these chemicals may also contaminate food and water" (Pollution). "All ages of humans are affected, and current scientific research shows a connection between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and particulate air pollution. Adults and children with asthma are especially...

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