Air is the most important thing to us. We couldn’t survive any more than we would hold our breaths forever. Our air needs to be clean and filled with oxygen. If we continue cutting down trees, where will we get our oxygen? If we continue polluting our air, how will it get clean? Air is 99.9% nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and inert gases. Do you really want to poison that?

There are many types of air pollution, such as black carbon pollution, smog, acid rain and the Green House Effect. Black carbon pollution is the pollution of air in which we burn particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. The most common release of particles is the burning of wood and charcoal in fireplaces and barbecues. It can also be caused in the burning of fuels in automobiles, homes and industries as a huge part of air pollution. Black Carbon pollution has been a problem since the Industrial Revolution and the development of the internal combustion engine. Mankind has become so dependent on burning fossil fuels that the sum of all combustion-related emissions now constituents a serious and widespread problem, not only to human health, but also to the entire global environment.

Another part of air pollution is called smog. Cities are the most common place for smog. Summer inversions are most likely to create smog. The combination of smoke and thick fog. Today, smog also refers to a condition caused by the action of sunlight on the exhaust gases from automobiles and factories, or photochemical smog. Weather conditions such as a lack of wind (thermal inversion) may cause smog to build up in an area. A thermal inversion occurs when a layer of warm air settles over a layer of cool air that lies near the ground. This condition prevents the smog from rising and scattering. Mountain ranges near cities may also trap in smog. Heavy concentrations of smog are poisonous. In 1948, 20 people died and nearly 6,000 became ill from a photochemical smog over Donora, Pennsylvania. Smog also destroys plant life. In addition, smog causes building materials to deteriorate faster than usual. Moisture in air condenses on smoke particles produced by the burning of coal, forming tiny smog droplets. Photochemical smog involves the action of sunlight on hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides in the air. These compounds are chemicals released as emissions from automobiles and certain industrial processes. When activated by sufficient sunlight, the compounds undergo a chemical reaction that produces gases called oxidants. Ozone forms the most abundant oxidant in photochemical smog. it can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and damage the lungs. Other oxidants in smog include nitrogen dioxide and peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN).

Sources:

http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/acidrain/what/index.html

http://www.bcsc.k12.in.us/staff/laugerh/web/pathfinder.htm

http://www.lbl.gov/Education/ELSI/pollution-main.html


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