Right to breathe
Rapporteur-Farbod Dehghani: as more machine came to our lifes, the improve of our performance more. But there is a problem: machines and factories creates what can seriously put our health in danger: smug.
Today airpollution is one the most humans important problems. So many people especialy in under developing countries are breathing unhealthy weather.
Air lets our living planet breathe—it's the mixture of gases that fills the atmosphere, giving life to the plants and animals that make Earth such a vibrant place. Broadly speaking, air is almost entirely made up of two gases (78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen), with a few other gases (such as carbon dioxide and argon) present in absolutely minute quantities. We can breathe ordinary air all day long with no ill effects, so let's use that simple fact to define air pollution, something like this:
Air pollution is a gas (or a liquid or solid dispersed through ordinary air) released in a big enough quantity to harm the health of people or other animals, kill plants or stop them growing properly, damage or disrupt some other aspect of the environment (such as making buildings crumble), or cause some other kind of nuisance (reduced visibility, perhaps, or an unpleasant odor).
Industrialized countries have worked to reduce levels of sulfur dioxide, smog, and smoke in order to improve people's health. But a result, not predicted until recently, is that the lower sulfur dioxide levels may actually make global warming worse. Just as sulfur dioxide from volcanoes can cool the planet by blocking sunlight, cutting the amount of the compound in the atmosphere lets more sunlight through, warming the Earth. This effect is exaggerated when elevated levels of other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap the additional heat.
Most people agree that to curb global warming, a variety of measures need to be taken. On a personal level, driving and flying less, recycling, and conservation reduces a person’s "carbon footprint"—the amount of carbon dioxide a person is responsible for putting into the atmosphere.(1)
Air pollution harms human health and the environment. In Europe, emissions of many air pollutants have decreased substantially over the past decades, resulting in improved air quality across the region. However, air pollutant concentrations are still too high, and air quality problems persist. A significant proportion of Europe’s population live in areas, especially cities, where exceedances of air quality standards occur: ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM) pollution pose serious health risks. Several countries have exceeded one or more of their 2010 emission limits for four important air pollutants. Reducing air pollution therefore remains important.(2)
Effects of Air pollution
1. Respiratory and heart problems: The effects of Air pollution are alarming. They are known to create several respiratory and heart conditions along with Cancer, among other threats to the body. Several millions are known to have died due to direct or indirect effects of Air pollution. Children in areas exposed to air pollutants are said to commonly suffer from pneumonia and asthma.
2. Global warming: Another direct effect is the immediate alterations that the world is witnessing due to Global warming. With increased temperatures world wide, increase in sea levels and melting of ice from colder regions and icebergs, displacement and loss of habitat have already signaled an impending disaster if actions for preservation and normalization aren’t undertaken soon.
3. Acid Rain: Harmful gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are released into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels. When it rains, the water droplets combines with these air pollutants, becomes acidic and then falls on the ground in the form of acid rain. Acid rain can cause great damage to human, animals and crops.
4. Eutrophication: Eutrophication is a condition where high amount of nitrogen present in some pollutants gets developed on sea’s surface and turns itself into algae and and adversely affect fish, plants and animal species. The green colored algae that is present on lakes and ponds is due to presence of this chemical only.
5. Effect on Wildlife: Just like humans, animals also face some devastating affects of air pollution. Toxic chemicals present in the air can force wildlife species to move to new place and change their habitat. The toxic pollutants deposit over the surface of the water and can also affect sea animals.
6. Depletion of Ozone layer: Ozone exists in earth’s stratosphere and is responsible for protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Earth’s ozone layer is depleting due to the presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydro chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. As ozone layer will go thin, it will emit harmful rays back on earth and can cause skin and eye related problems. UV rays also have the capability to affect crops.(3)
Solution for air pollution
1. Cleaning Smokestacks and Exhaust Pipes
The leading sources of air pollution are power plants, factories, and vehicles. They constantly emit fumes and gaseous waste into the atmosphere. In power plants and manufacturing industries, electrostatic smoke precipitators that use static electricity to trap soot and dust from the gaseous waste leaving the smokestacks is a significant technological cleaning measure which can be used to control air pollution.
Flue-gas desulfurization (FGD), commonly referred to as scrubbing, is as well another means of providing a technical solution to Sulfur Oxide emissions. Scrubbing is a process that chemically eliminates the sulfur oxide gasses leaving the smokestacks. Power plans can also be retrofitted with carbon capturing technologies that trap emitted carbon dioxide.
Vehicles with gasoline powered engines are fitted with catalytic converters on the exhaust pipe to reduce the exhaust gas emissions. Constant improvements to gasoline that combusts cleaner and production of more energy efficient cars have been an additional strategy for reducing vehicle emissions. All these processes and methods are called emission reduction strategies.
2. Laws and Regulations
Some national and state or international policies can be used to control air pollution. Legislation and regulations always offer a fantastic measure for tackling the air pollution menace. Many cities and countries that were once heavily polluted have substantially attained clean air mainly due to the institutionalization of anti-pollution laws.
In England, for instance, following the 1952 smog tragedy that claimed thousands of lives in London, the government launched its Clean Air Act of 1956 which placed limits on burning coal and required industries to build higher smokestacks. In the United States, a series of Clean Air Acts have been passed to curb air pollution.
International cooperation and organizations such as the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), and environmental programs have also devised clean air acts and directives to reduce air pollution. Examples include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Air Acts. A number of states and governing actions or policies can also be undertaken to reduce emissions. Quality air control protocols and standards such as the installation of pollution control devices or buying emission allowance can be used effectively as execution strategies for reducing the adverse effects of air pollution.
3. Use of Renewable or Green Energy Sources
Fossil fuel and coal are the main contributors to air pollution. Therefore, opting for alternative or renewable energy sources to produce power presents a practical solution to air pollution. Alternative energy sources include wind energy, geothermal energy, solar energy, and hydro-power. If people can harness a variety of these energy sources instead of relying on fossil fuels or coal energy, air pollution can reduce more than threefold.
Natural gas, fuel cells, and batteries can as well substitute the use of fossil fuels as cleaner energy sources. Still, it is important to evaluate correctly some of these alternative energy sources because aside from their benefits, some of them come with different environmental and economic costs. Essentially, investing more in renewable and sustainable energy sources reduces pollution at the same time protects the future.
4. Individual Level Prevention Methods
Multifarious ways can be used at the individual level to reduce or prevent air pollution. Foremost, individuals who are aware of the causes and effects of pollution can encourage family, friends, or colleagues to use the bus, train or bike when moving from one place to another. For shorter distances, it is even better just to walk or ride a bike. By doing so, there will be lesser vehicles on the road and as such, less emission.
Energy conservation by using energy wisely is also a viable individual measure for reducing air pollution. The logic here is that high amounts of fossil fuels are burned to produce the energy used for cooking, heating, or lighting. In this sense, saving energy cuts down air pollution. Another measure is re-using some of the utilities we depend on such as plastic bags, papers, or bottles because their production creates loads of pollution.(4)