Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Air pollution - Definition

Air pollution is another burning ecological problem. Air pollution comes from variety of different sources like factories, power plants, cars, buses, trucks, wildfires, etc... Air pollution doesn't only affect air, but also threatens the health of humans, trees and animals and is destroying the ozone layer which protects us from dangerous ultra-violet radiation. Statistically speaking, every day average individual breathes more than 3,000 gallons of air and since many people live in urban areas full of smog this affect their health causing them lot of health problems.

Worldwide air pollution is responsible for large numbers of deaths and cases of respiratory disease. According to World Health Organization 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution. There are many diseases caused by polluted air like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies which are causing death to the large number of people. Usual symptoms are difficulties in breathing, wheezing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions and respiratory system and the cardiovascular system are the two most affected areas.

Many people think that factories and power stations are the biggest air pollutants, but that is not true, because the biggest air pollutants are mainly automobiles and other vehicles. Of course, factories and power stations also have significant effect on air pollution. The worst disaster caused by polluted air was Bhopal disaster that happened in Bhopal, India in1984 when a Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant released 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, that killed between 2500 and 5000 people and around 500,000 people were exposed to the leaking tables of whom approximately 20,000 people to this date, died as a result from this exposure.

There is some progress in air pollution control technologies and urban planning strategies to reduce air pollution, but it's biggest problem are large costs required for these technologies although these costs are really negligible compared to the expenditures that are coming as a result of air pollution like medical costs for treating the people that were unlucky enough to caught some disease caused by air pollution.

So what to do in order to stop air pollution? Get rid of our cars? We all know that's impossible, but reducing their number and using more public transportation that could be done, although very unlikely in current situation. Make some new type of car, that doesn't cause air pollution? Even harder because car manufacturers are very strong force in the industry. Reduce the use of the fossil fuels and their dangerous emission of greenhouse gases which is not only causing the air pollution but also the global warming as well? Unfortunately there is still almost negligible transformation rate from the fossil fuel to the renewable energy sources and fossil fuels are still dominating factor in the world industry. Cost of all this is very big, namely our health which will to momentary predictions suffer in years to come because of air pollution.

This is just one example of air pollution, a major ecological problem that will become even bigger in not that distant future.

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