Understanding and Preventing Air Pollution

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Understanding and Preventing Air Pollution Air pollution is a major problem affecting the entire world. In the United States some progress has been made in reducing air pollution through the Clean Air Acts passed by the Congress. Still there is a lot to be done. To prevent air pollution it is important to understand how the air is being polluted, how it impacts on the ecosystem and what we can do about it. Earth is surrounded by layers of gases known as atmosphere. The layer closest to the earth is called the troposphere. It extends up to ten miles above the surface of the earth. Over the troposphere is the stratosphere which extends from ten to forty miles above the earth ( Gutnick pg. 9). Ozone is a part of the stratosphere that blocks the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching the earth. Over the stratosphere is the ionosphere which extends up to 400 miles ( Sandak pg. 37 ). In the ionosphere, the gases are broken into individual electrically charged particles called ions ( Gutnik pg. 9 ) Air, as we know, is the mixture of gases in the troposphere closest to the surface of the earth. It is mainly composed of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), carbon dioxide (0.02%), argon and other rare gases (0.08%). Air pollution takes place when undesirable gases and particles mixes with the air to cause harmful effects on living and non-living things ( Becklake pg. 6 ). There are many types of air pollutants which can be put under three basic categories. These are - gaseous, particulates, and aerosol. Gaseous pollutants is any harmful gas that mixes into the air. Gaseous pollutants could be divided into four major groups. These are - carbon based gases, sulfur based gases, ozone, and nitrogen based gases ( Gutnik pg. ... ... middle of paper ... ...ouraging use of renewable energy, recycling wastes, planting and preserving trees, and last but not the least by taking birth control measures to reduce population growth, particularly, in developing countries. Bibliography: 1. Becklake, John Green Issues - Thinking for the Future: Pollution Gloucester Press, New York, 1990 2. Earth Negotiations Bulletin Kyoto Conference http:// www.iisd.ca/linkage/vollz/enb1276e.html, 1997 3. EPA Administrators Air Pollution / OAR http://www.epa.gov/oar/, 1996 4. Gay, Kathlyn Air Pollution Franklin Watts, New York, 1991 5. Gutnik, Martin The Challenge of Clean Air Enslow Publishers, Inc., New Jersey, 1990 6. Passacantando, John “A Pothole in the Ozone Layer” Washington Post March 1998: A22 7. Sandak, Cass A Reference Guide to Clean Air Enslow Publishers, Inc., New Jersey, 1990
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