Air pollution is nothing new. Ever since the discovery of fire, less-than-desirable substances have been vented into the air. One of the first air-pollution regulations dates back to the fourteenth century, when King Edward I banned the burning of sea coal in lime kilns. U.S. air-pollution regulations have their roots in British Common Law. But regardless of those efforts, air pollution continues to be a serious local and world-wide problem. Pollution is the pressure within the air of one or more substances that are harmful to human health, welfare, animal or plant life, or property. In the past with air pollution we included mainly the outdoor pollutants, although in recent years this is not the case. Today we separate pollutants in to two categories. Primary pollutants, because they come directly from various sources, and secondary which are by-products of chemical interactions of the primary pollutants within the atmosphere.
Although air pollution might be thought of as unwanted gases in the atmosphere, two of five primary pollutants are really solid substances called particulates. Soot has always been a sure indicator of a polluted atmosphere, but other than soiling and a negative psychological effect, soot can’t settle into the lungs and cause serious diseases. Thick ,black smoke coming out of a stack is that what we think causes the pollution, but what really creates the damage is what we can’t see. Particles like this are called suspended particles. They come from many incomplete burning and can consist a variety of substances. The most harmful type of particulate is so small that that it is microscopic. All the particulates are harmful for several reasons. When inhaled, they can damage the interior of the lung; they can also be poisonous. Sometimes gases will glue to their surfaces and in a process called adsorption they can reach the lungs. All these particles are mainly products of combusti!
Only 13% of the total is generated by transportation. Industrial sources account for nearly three times as much as 37%. Fires account for just about as much particulate emissions as transportation. That amount is matched by combustion from sources, which include the generation of all heat and electricity. When coal was the main source to generate energy, power plants and homes accounted for much greater contribution. The switch to oil and nuclear power has lowered those concentrations, but it hasn’t been without its own problems. In addition to health-related problems, particles can damage materials through corrosion and erosion, as well as soiling. Particles can also impact the weather, through changes in visibility, and even in enhancing precipitation. Studies around major urban areas show an increase in precipitation and in thunderstorms with hail downwind from downtown areas. The weather modification is localizes but definite, and may be related to an increase in the large condensation nuclei that the particles provide.
Lead particulates are brutal primary pollutant. Their presence in the atmosphere has diminished sharply during the past 29 years. Since 1975, the concentration of lead has decreased by more than 90%, which can be directly linked to the elimination of lead from gasoline. Another primary group of pollutants consists of the surfur oxides(Sox), and the major contributor is SO2, a sulfur dioxide, which I am very against because it is so harmful to our environment. This is generated whenever sulfur is burned, most often where fuel with a high sulfur content is used. Coal can have very high sulfur concentrations, as can some oil. Overall, coal and oil are the major sources for sulfur oxide pollution. The vast majority of this type of air pollution comes from generation of heat and electricity. These stationary sources account about 80% of all sulfur oxides. Transportation’s contribution is minor, about 5%. The rest comes from industry.
Sulfur dioxides cause damage to vegetation and material. Plants lose their chlorophyll which is the plants food factory. But the most damage appears when sulfur oxides combine with other substances. Because of its solubility, sulfur dioxide becomes a major contributor to acid deposition. Leaves are bleached and show damage. Tree growth is stunted and vegetation dies. Damage to vegetation occurs at concentrations lower than what is harmful to people. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless , tasteless, non-corrosive, highly poisonous gas of about the same density as that of air. It is very flammable, burns in air with bright blue flame. Its melting point is at-205.0° C and boiling point is at -191.5° C
So I have gave you a few reasons why air pollution is so harmful to us and to all living things on earth. I am very against it cause I dont want my kids to have to deal with it in the future. I would love to see some things change in the near future. Lets hope it does.
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