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World Issues Essay

1153 words - 5 pages

Pollution is the contamination of any feature of the environment andattached to it are certain characteristics. It is the addition of a substance orsubstances at a faster rate than the environment can accommodate.Certain pollutants like arsenic and mercury have natural levels in naturebut only if these levels exceed certain critical values, will it be consideredpollutants. Pollutants are not only chemicals but also forms of energy likeheat, sound and radioactive rays. To be a pollutant, a material has to bepotentially harmful to life. Air pollution is a problem that has existed sincehumans first used fire. Two major causes of air pollution include exhaustfumes from cars and trucks and pollutants produced by human activities,which result in a number of health risks. In order to improve our air quality,we must work together as a nation and do our part to attain cleaner air.Our air is colorless, odorless and tasteless, making it barelynoticeable unless air is polluted with particles of dust, smoke, pollen orunpleasant odors. Many pollutants can not be seen or smelled, whichallows gases to combine with other substances or gases, creatingcompounds that are harmful to living things and inanimate objects. One ofthe major human produced air pollutants is sulfur dioxide, which isreleased from industries, power plants and home heating. Smoke andashes also pour from the coal being burned from factories, shops,electric power plants, and home fireplaces. Out of six pollutants, nitrogendioxide is the pollutant linked with the most number of early deaths andhospitalizations. Its major sources have to do with motor vehicle exhaust,heat and power generation, nitric acid, explosives and fertilizer plants. It isin the air that we breath that is causing many deaths and diseases, whichcontinues to affect us everyday.Across the nation, chemical and petroleum companies release themost pollutants into the air. These pollutants leak from storage tanks orponds or escape from windows and ventilating systems. Metal makersand paper and plastic companies also emit large amounts of toxicpollutants into the atmosphere. New laws require companies to clean uptheir acts by passing the first Clean Air Act in 1963, which provided fundsfor state and local agencies to establish regulations for air quality. TheU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority to identifyhazardous air pollutants and set standards for the amounts of thesepollutants that may be emitted without endangering public health. Thecontrols that the Clean Air Act has on releasing toxic pollutants must beeffective enough to reduce cancer risks to 1 in 10,000. If the standard isnot met then the industries are to be shut down.Cars and trucks are a great contribution to air pollution in manyplaces. It has come to the point where we have a huge dependency onautomobiles to get us from point A to point B. The fumes that are beingemitted from the exhaust pipes of idling cars are turning our air gray. Thecause of...

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