Air pollution: adversary of the Earth
You could go days without food and hours without water, but you would only last a few minutes without air (if that is what). As human beings, on average, we breathe more than 3,000 gallons of air each day. In addition to consuming so much air in 24 hours, over the course of 365 days humans are able to inhale exactly 1,095,000 gallons of air throughout the year. That’s a huge amount of air that humans not only need, but also demand as a means of survival in everyday life, if you ask me. Better yet, wouldn’t it be beneficial to us as human beings if we lived in an unpolluted environment / economy? The only possible logical answer to that question would have to be a solid and powerful “Yes!” But, the popular question “oh so” remains the same, why should you care about air pollution? When all is said and done, it is common sense to realize that you must have air to live.
Air pollution comes from many different sources including: factories, power plants, dry cleaners, cars, buses, trucks, and even windblown dust and wildfires. Today, motor vehicles are responsible for almost half of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that make up smog. Additionally, motor vehicles are responsible for more than half of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and about half of the toxic air pollutant emissions in the United States. Motor vehicles, as well as non-road vehicles, are now responsible for 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions nationwide. Between the years 1970 and 2005, the total number of miles per vehicle that people travel in the United States has increased 178 percent and continues to gradually increase at a rate of two to three percent each year. As a result of America’s evolution from driving simple cars in overly modern pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks of the 1970s, these oversized vehicles typically consume more gas per mile and many of them pollute three to five times more than automobiles. .
Breathing polluted air can burn your eyes and nose. Due to breathing in polluted air, it can irritate your throat and make it difficult to breathe. In fact, pollutants, like tiny particles in the air, can trigger breathing problems, especially in people with asthma. In today’s society, nearly 30 million adults and children in the United States have been diagnosed with asthma. People with asthma can be severely affected by air pollution. On the contrary, air pollution can also aggravate the health problems of the elderly and others with heart or respiratory diseases. In a broader look, some toxic chemicals released into the air, such as benzene or vinyl chloride, can cause cancer, birth defects, long-term injury to the lungs, as well as brain and nerve damage. And in some cases, breathing in these highly toxic chemicals can even cause the fatal attraction of death. The health, environmental and economic impacts of air pollution are significant. Every day, air pollution causes thousands of illnesses that cause lost days from work and school. Air pollution also reduces the yields of agricultural crops and commercial forests by billions of dollars each year.
Air pollution is not only a threat to our health, it also damages our environment. Toxic air pollutants and chemicals that make up acid rain and area or ground level can damage trees, crops, other plants, wildlife, lakes, and other bodies of water. Additionally, these pollutants can also harm fish and other forms of aquatic life. In addition to damaging the natural environment, air pollution also damages buildings, monuments, and statues. Not only does it reduce the distance that can be seen in national parks and cities, but it even interferes with aviation.
Although the national air quality has improved in the past 20 years, many challenges remain in protecting public health and the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protects human health and the environment through the regulatory process and voluntary programs such as Energy Star and Commuter choice. (The Clean Air Act is a federal law that covers the entire country.) Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA sets limits on the amount of pollutant allowed in the air anywhere in the United States. This helps ensure basic health and environmental protection from air pollution for all Americans. Additionally, the Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to limit emissions of air pollutants from sources such as steel mills, utilities, and chemical plants. Individual states or tribes may have stricter air pollution laws, but they may not have lower pollution limits than those set by the EPA. The EPA’s primary goal is to have clean air to breathe for this generation and those to follow. Over time, the Clean Air Act will continue to reduce air pollution, but some of the Act’s provisions will take time to have their full-time impact.
There are many ways that we, as the people of the United States, can help reduce the earth’s adversary, air pollution. At home we can save energy by turning off the lights and appliances when leaving the room. Buy Energy Star products, including energy efficient lighting and appliances. Keep wood stoves and fireplaces in good repair at all times. Recycling paper, plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans are also productive ways in which we can reduce air pollution. By doing this, we will conserve energy and reduce production emissions. When buying a car, truck or van, choose efficient and low-polluting vehicle models. Choose products that have less packaging and are reusable. Buy rechargeable batteries for frequently used devices. When it comes to driving your vehicles, keep your tires properly aligned and inflated. In summer, fill gas tanks during the cooler hours of the afternoon to reduce evaporation. Avoid spilling gas. When possible, use public transportation, walk or bike. Make regular engine adjustments and car maintenance checks (especially for spark plugs). Use energy-saving grade motor oil. Report smoking vehicles to your local airline agency. Last but not least, join a carpool or van to get to work. All of these suggestions can and will help reduce air pollution. In doing so, we have to come together and establish a steep decline to limit the amount of air pollution caused by (to a significant extent) we, the people of the United States of America.