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AIR POLLUTION

(Chace Essay)

Air pollution results mainly from the incomplete combustion of several fuels, such as
coal, petrol and wood. The chief sources of pollution from combustion are furnaces
in factories, engines in vehicles and burning of trash. Thus, pollutant gases are
mainly introduced into the air due to human activities.Basically, the industrialization
of society, the introduction of motorized vehicles, and the explosion of the population
are factors contributing toward the growing air pollution problem. Some main
components of air pollutionThe primary air pollutants found in most urban areas are
carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, lead, and particulate
matter (both solid and liquid). These pollutants are dispersed throughout the world's
atmosphere in concentrations high enough to gradually cause serious
health problems. Sulphur dioxide is the major pollutant due to human activities
In addition, air pollutants may damage the ozone layer in the earth"tms upper
atmosphere. The cool air, together with the pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, is
thus prevented from escaping. This results in the warming of the earth"tms surface,
commonly known as greenhouse effect. Sulphuric acid is a component of acid rain,
which leads to water pollution, in turn causing the death of aquatic organisms in
several lakes and rivers, and damaging property. Some gases, such as carbon
dioxide, allow sunlight to reach the ground, but prevent the sunlight"tms heat from
rising out of the atmosphere. Air pollution may also affect climate. For example, an
estimated 4000 deaths has been attributed to the killer smog in London in 1952.
Various methods of reducing pollution from motor vehicle engines have also been
developed. Solutions to curb air pollutionCatalytic convertersThese mechanisms are
now fitted to motor vehicles to remove some of the polluting materials produced in
the engines of these vehicles. At high concentrations, sulphur dioxide has damaging
effects on both plants and animals. These devices include filters that trap the gases
and particulate that would otherwise be released into the air with waste gases. Smog
is basically a mixture of fog and smoke. For example, several types of devices have
been developed to prevent harmful gases and particulate from leaving industrial
smokestacks. In certain parts of America, smelting works have produced such high
concentrations of sulphur dioxidethat entire plots of vegetation have been
destroyed. What are the health and environmental effects of air pollutionStudies
have shown that people exposed to toxic air pollutants at sufficient concentrations
and durations may have an increased chance of getting cancer or experiencing
other serious health effects.