Air pollution is a serious growing problem. Years of plaguing the atmosphere with gases and exhaust is taking its toll on the planet. If steps are not taken immediately to stop or even slow this process soon, there will be dire consequences.
What is air pollution? Air pollution is the result of undesirable chemicals and gases being expelled into the atmosphere by various sources. There are several causes of air pollution, one, and the largest, of these being vehicles. Vehicles account for 57% of all pollution in the world. Each day, Americans alone purchase millions of gallons of gasoline for their vehicles.
The next largest source of pollution in the atmosphere are industrial establishments. Factories pump tons upon tons of filthy gases high into the sky, where it collects and damages the atmosphere. Scientists have discovered an area over Antarctica where there are signs of depletion of the ozone layer, the layer of the atmosphere that filters harmful ultraviolet rays, as a result of this pollution.
Air pollution is not noticeable in small towns, but in large cities, specifically with a population of over 50,000, air pollution is evident. In a metropolis such as Los Angeles, there are so many sources of pollution that it is visible. Fog mixes with smoke to create smog ,which collects over the city and creates a “greenhouse effect”, trapping warm air between the layer of pollution and the ground, making the space between the two a higher temperature than areas outside the city.
Air pollution is also responsible for global warming. Global warming is the warming of the planet as a result of air pollution, causing the rising of temperature around the world, which causes climate change and melting of the polar ice caps. The polar ice caps contain most of the earth’s fresh water. As a result of the melting, the ocean levels rise and cause flooding in coastal cities. In the city of Amsterdam, Netherlands this flooding has been an issue and steps have been taken to block the advance of water. Although, this is a temporary fix and only the stopping of air pollution will prevent this from occurring.
There are several ways to slow air pollution. Taking simple energy conservation steps in and around the home such as using as little resources as possible and recycling drastically reduces the resources used.
Energy-conservative vehicles such as the new Hybrid technology vehicles, which use a balance of electricity and fuel, produce less than ¼ the pollution than normal vehicles and get better mileage than normal vehicles do, resulting in a great reduction of air pollution.
New sources of energy also lower the amount of fossil fuels that enter the atmosphere, thus lowering air pollution. Solar power is one power source that is being used more frequently to power cities with electricity. Solar power is also becoming more popular to heat houses instead of furnaces and fuel. One day, even cars may be powered by the sun.
Another environment-safe source of electricity lies in the wind. Windmills that were used hundreds of years ago to grind grain and pump water are now generating energy. The windmill is an excellent source of energy, but it has its disadvantages. One disadvantage of windmills is that they do not generate nearly enough electricity to power a large city such as Los Angeles or Chicago. It would take hundreds, maybe thousands of wind-powered generators to provide such power hungry cities with sufficient electricity.
One more power source that does not pollute the earth is hydro-electricity. Hydroelectric generators are clean, efficient, and reliable. The electricity is generated by building a dam and placing tunnels at the bottom with large fans and generators. The flow of water can be increased or decreased at will, and they put out a large amount of electricity.
These are only a handful of the steps that can be taken to reduce the effects of air pollution. The supplies of fossil fuels that reside deep within the earth are not limitless, and their will deplete soon if humanity continues to be wasteful and careless.