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Essay/Term paper: Air polution

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society

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AIR POLUTION

Problem The first thing people see, in the morning, when they walk outside is
the sky or the colored sun. Is this world giving us the privilege of seeing the
natural colors of the sun through all the layers of pollution within the air
(Dinanike 31)? Not only are beautiful sights such as this hidden behind the
pollution this world causes everyday, but an increase in diseases, infections
and death occurs. What causes pollution? What can we do to prevent it, and get
rid of it? Is it fair to the children of the future to have to suffer the
consequences that pollution causes? Why not take care of the problem now?
Factory and business owners have the ability to prevent air pollution. Air
pollution is the presence in the atmosphere of harmful gases, liquids, or solids.
Air pollution, known as smoke pollution for many years, resulted from coal
combustion (Hodges 526). Smog has been a problem in coal-burning areas for
several centuries. Smog finally decreased when coal combustion was replaced by
oil and gas combustion. Air pollution is caused by a number of different types
of pollutants. The first type, particulate matter, consists of solid and liquid
aerosols suspended in the atmosphere. These arise from the burning of coal and
from industrial processes. Atmospheric particles can scatter and absorb sunlight
which reduces visibility. Particles also reduce visibility by attenuating the
light from objects and illuminating the air causing the contrast between the
objects and their backgrounds to reduce. Not only does it effect visibility, but
it hastens the erosion of building materials and the corrosion of metals,
interferes with the human respiratory system, and brings toxic materials into
the body. The small particles cause chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma,
emphysema and lung cancer (Hodges 59). The second type is sulfur oxides which
come from the burning of coal and industrial processes. Damage to materials, to
vegetation, and to the human respiratory system are caused by the acid nature of
oxides. Small quantities of sulfur oxides can increase illness and mortality
(Hodges 59). The third type of pollutant is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is
a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas against which humans have no protection.
Carbon monoxide comes from the exhaust of gasoline-powered vehicles and
secondarily from industrial processes (Hamer 45). Hemoglobin, which is in the
blood, combines with carbon monoxide and carries less oxygen to body tissues
causing health and heart effects. Some health problems come from the exhaust
fumes leaking into the interior of the automobile. "Several hundred Americans
die from CO poisoning each year. Sodium oxide levels below .25 ppm have been
associated with increased morbidity in New York as measured by hospital
admissions. In all cases in which adverse health effects have been noted the
elderly patients have been affected severely" (Hodges 60). The fourth type is
hydrocarbons which are chemical compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen.
Hydrocarbons also arise from gasoline-powered vehicles and from industrial
processes. Hydrocarbons are an important part of the production of photochemical
smog (Hodges 61). The last type is nitrogen oxides that come from high-
temperature combustion, such as that occurring in motor vehicle engines,
electric power plants and other fuel usage. Nitrogen oxide contributes to
acidity in precipitation and production of photochemical smog. Nitrogen oxide is
also dangerous it causes serious illness and deaths even if the exposure to NO2
is short. "The gas was responsible for 124 deaths in a fire at Cleveland's Crile
Children Hospital on May 15, 1929, when x-ray film containing nitrocellulose
accidentally caught fire and produced NO2" (Hodges 63).

Solution As one can surely see these types of air pollutants are harmful to our
atmosphere, environment and personal health. Factory owners can help prevent all
of these effects. Researchers have found different ways to remove these
pollutants from the air. One device designed to remove hydrocarbons from the
atmosphere "is an improved low pollution invisible flare burner which comprises
a tall stack lined with ceramic. Primary air is introduced under pressure in a
tube below and coaxial with the stack. The top of the tube contains a burner for
the vented hydrocarbon gases" (Sittig 227). Within this device different air
mixtures provide means for complete combustion of the vented gases with low
emission of smoke and light. Another method wherein gases contaminate with
vapors from volatile organic liquids are recovered by containing the vapor-
containing gas in an absorbed tower with a sponge oil which absorbs the vapors.
Both methods can successfully remove hydrocarbon (Sittig 348). A method has been
discovered for removing nitrogen oxides from gases. An ionizing radiation allows
the noxious gas pollutants to enable a collection of the particles or mist
electrostatic precipitators (Sittig 409). In the book, How to Remove Pollutants
and Toxic Materials from Air and Water, it reports: to remove sulfur oxides and
particulate matter from waste gases comprises crosscurrent contacting of the
waste gas stream with a moving bed or supported, copper-containing acceptor in a
first zone removing in subsequent separate zones the particulate matter and the
sulfur oxides from the acceptor in a subsequent zone before introducing it back
into the first zone for further removal of sulfur oxides and particulate matter.
Sittig 565 Another air pollutant which is able to be reduced is carbon monoxide.
Factories simply have to change their coal or oil combustions to natural gas
combustion. Afterburners can cause the combustion of CO. This combustion is a
source of heat as in blast furnaces (Sittig 415).

Action The government should take action passing a restriction on equipment
within factories and businesses. The inspection should consist of requiring four
different conditions or devices: a flare burner, an ionizing radiation,
crosscurrents contacting of the waste gas stream with an acceptor, and change
all combustions to natural gas combustions. Like most laws, if one device or
condition is not present then the company should be fined a large sum of money.
In order for the company to continue staying open the missing devices or
conditions should be present within the following two weeks. Many restrictions
are made for businesses and factories, but what is more important than the
health of our people. Action should be taken right away. Important advantages to
passing extra restrictions on factories and businesses are involved within this
action. Not only will the factories realize how much pollution they have caused
without these conditions, but they will prevent hurting the health of others.
Each of these devices are exactly what we need in order to stop air pollution.
Save the children of tomorrow and the environment of today by doing something to
prevent air pollution.

Justification Each method mentioned above can be used in factories all over the
world. The question is does it cost a lot of money? Yes, it does. In order to
apply all of the above methods it can cost the factory and businesses millions.
The estimated costs are $800,000,000 alone from public sectors. For private
sectors it can cost up to $17,000,000,000. Reducing pollution might cut salaries
for many workers due to the cost of expenses which would rise (Hodges 582). The
estimations of the cost of devices to reduce pollution are accurate, but what
about the money it takes to repair the damages caused by air pollution? The
annual total for air pollution is $16 billion in the U.S. The amount spent
dealing with air pollution leaves less money for our government to give to
researchers to find cures for diseases, military expenses, or for government
debt. It is like throwing away money just because factory and business owners do
not want to take the time and money and invest in new methods and devices to
prevent air pollution. $240 million goes to cleaning equipment dirtied by air
pollution each year. For livestock and agricultural crops 500 million is used
for damages. Millions are used a year for medical costs, cost of fuels wasted in
incomplete combustion, and maintenance of cleanliness in production of foods and
beverages. $18.6 billion worth of damages are done due to motor vehicle
pollution (Hodges 568). It might seem to cost a lot of money to prevent air
pollution, but as one can see it may cost more to repair the damages from air
pollution.

WORKS CITED

Dinanike, George. "Sunset in the Comfort of a Laboratory." New Scientist 19
October 1991: 31.

Hamer, Mick. "Pollution Leaves a Cloud over Life in the City." New Scientist 13
May 1989: 45.

Hodges, Laurent. Environmental Pollution Second Edition. New York: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 1977.

Sittig, Marshall. How to Remove Pollutants and Toxic Materials from Air and
Water. Parkridge, New Jersey: Noyes Data Corporation, 1977.

World Wide Web Site. URL:
http://www.cyberstore.ca/greenpeace/ozone/ozonehome.html "Greenpeace."
November 2,1994.



 

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