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spacer.gif   Air Pollution (Essay)
Posted by: jenny on Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 05:52 AM
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Environment Issues In the last fifty years the scale of atmospheric pollution has expanded greatly and shows little sign of changing.

Air pollution used to be considered o­nly as a national problem but is now recognised as a global concern.

The main pollutants

Increasing quantities of gases and aerosols are being released into the environment , and this is causing a number of environmental hazards:

1. Photochemical smog is a health problem in and around many of the world's cities. This of special concern where cities are heavily dependent o­n the use of motor cars. Examples of cities which display this nasty environment include Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Bangkok

2. Acid rain is held responsible for fish deaths, as the pH of the water rapidly changes, and for tree and vegetation losses. Scientists in Scandinavia have attributed the losses of their trees to the formation of acid rain as a result of Sulphur Dioxide emissions from fossil-powered stations in England.

3. Depletion of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere could cause health problems for humans and a threat to the ecosystems.

4. Increasing concentrations of 'greenhouse' gases is causing unpredicted global warming with worldwide repercussions.

These problems are increasing and a solution to these problems would advantageous.

Major air pollutants and their sources:

(a) Carbon dioxide: From ....combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation and other forms of changing land use, biomass burning, and erosion.

(b) Carbon monoxide: From vehicle exhausts, industrial combustion of fossil fuels and biomass burning.

(c) CFC's: From solvents, coolants, aerosols, deodorants, paint, building and refrigeration insulation and foam-filled furniture.

(d) Methane and other hydrocarbons: From biological decay, oil and gas exploitation, biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion.

(e) Nitrous oxide: Fertilisers, fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning and changing land use.

(f) Other nitrogen oxides: Vehicle and aircraft omissions, high temperature fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes.

(g) Sulphur oxides: Fossil fuel combustion especially from power stations and industrial processes.

(h) Surface ozone: Reactions involving other pollutants (carbon monoxide,methane and nitrogen oxides) and sunshine provides ozone ( O3 ) low level.

Acid rain?

Nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides are the main precursors of acid rain. 90% of sulphur oxides in the air are man-made in Europe. Global levels of these pollutants are about twice those which occur naturally. However, there are significant localised variations.

The main pollutants of acid rain

The combustion of fossil fuel in power stations is the main source of sulphur oxides. The main sources of nitrogen oxides are vehicle emissions and power stations

Effects of acid rain.

Trees and crops are being affected by the combined influence of high surface ozone levels and acid rain. An estimated half of Germany's forests are damaged to a varying degree. Throughout Scandinavia, forests are being affected and lakes and rivers are becoming more acidic. Water supplies are also becoming contaminated.

Sulphur Dioxide + NOx from power stations rises to form clouds and also leaks into the ground. Acid rain falls and affects water and soil. The fumes in the air affects the health of people and animals

 
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