Air Pollution Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTION Air — страница 2

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American-owned factory during a thermal inversion caused at least 3300 deaths.INDOOR AIR POLLUTION Pollution is perhaps most harmful at an often unrecognized site inside the homes and buildings where we spend most of our time. Indoor pollutants include tobacco smoke; radon, an invisible radioactive gas that enters homes from the ground in some regions; and chemicals released from synthetic carpets and furniture, pesticides, and household cleaners. When disturbed, asbestos, a nonflammable material once commonly used in insulation, sheds airborne fibers that can produce a lung disease called asbestosis.Pollutants may accumulate to reach much higher levels than they do outside, where natural air currents disperse them. Indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2 to 5 times, and

occasionally more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are especially harmful because people spend as much as 90 percent of their time living, working, and playing indoors. Inefficient or improperly vented heaters are particularly dangerous.POLLUTION CLEANUP AND PREVENTION In an effort to enforce pollution standards, pollution control authorities measure both the amounts of pollutants present in the atmosphere and the amounts entering it from certain sources. The usual approach is to sample the open, or ambient, air and test it for the presence of specified pollutants. The amount of each pollutant is counted in parts per million or, in some cases, milligrams or micrograms per cubic meter. To learn how much pollution is coming from

specific sources, measurements are also taken at industrial smokestacks and automobile tailpipes. Pollution is controlled in two ways: with end-of-the-pipe devices that capture pollutants already created, and by limiting the quantity of pollutants produced in the first place. End-of-the-pipe devices include catalytic converters in automobiles and various kinds of filters and scrubbers in industrial plants. In a catalytic converter, exhaust gases pass over small beads coated with metals that promote reactions changing harmful substances into less harmful ones. When end-of-the-pipe devices first began to be used, they dramatically reduced pollution at a relatively low cost. As air pollution standards become stricter, it becomes more and more expensive to further clean the air. In

order to lower pollution overall, industrial polluters are sometimes allowed to make cooperative deals. For instance, a power company may fulfill its pollution control requirements by investing in pollution control at another plant or factory, where more effective pollution control can be accomplished at a lower cost.End-of-the-pipe controls, however sophisticated, can only do so much. As pollution efforts evolve, keeping the air clean will depend much more on preventing pollution than on curing it. Gasoline, for instance, has been reformulated several times to achieve cleaner burning. Various manufacturing processes have been redesigned so that less waste is produced. Car manufacturers are experimenting with automobiles that run on electricity or on cleaner-burning fuels.

Buildings are being designed to take advantage of sun in winter and shade and breezes in summer to reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling, which are usually powered by the burning of fossil fuels.The choices people make in their daily lives can have a significant impact on the state of the air. Using public transportation instead of driving, for instance, reduces pollution by limiting the number of pollution-emitting automobiles on the road. During periods of particularly intense smog, pollution control authorities often urge people to avoid trips by car. To encourage transit use during bad-air periods, authorities in Paris, France, make bus and subway travel temporarily free.Indoor pollution control must be accomplished building-by-building or even room-by-room.

Proper ventilation mimics natural outdoor air currents, reducing levels of indoor air pollutants by continually circulating fresh air. After improving ventilation, the most effective single step is probably banning smoking in public rooms. Where asbestos has been used in insulation, it can be removed or sealed behind sheathes so that it won t be shredded and get into the air. Sealing foundations and installing special pipes and pumps can prevent radon from seeping into buildings.On the global scale, pollution control standards are the result of complex negotiations among nations. Typically, developed countries, having already gone through a period of rapid (and dirty) industrialization, are ready to demand cleaner technologies. Less developed nations, hoping for rapid economic