The Complex Challenge of Air Pollution Control and Its Impact on Air Quality
Air Quality is a measurement of the pollutants in the air. It’s a description of the healthiness and safety of the atmosphere surrounding Earth. Air pollution comes from many different sources. There are stationary sources such as factories, power plants, and smelters. Smaller sources such as dry cleaners and degreasing operations.
Sources of Air Pollution
Mobile sources such as cars, buses, planes, trucks, and trains Naturally occurring sources such as windblown dust and volcanic eruptions. All these sources contribute to air pollution. Air Quality can be affected in many ways by the pollution emitted from these sources. These pollution sources emit a wide variety of pollutants. The EPA has these pollutants classified as the six principal pollutants: ‘criteria pollutants.’ The six criteria pollutants are ozone, particular matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur oxides (SOX), and lead. These pollutants are monitored by the EPA, as well as national, state, and local organizations. The Clean Air Act is a United States federal law designed to control air pollution on a national level. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) is responsible for setting standards, also known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), for pollutants that are considered harmful to people and the environment.
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Challenges and Global Perspective
Ozone causes sunburn, lung damage, asthma, plant and ecosystem damage, and respiratory illness. Particulate matter causes visibility impairment, respiratory illness, atmospheric deposition, and aesthetic deposition. Sulfur dioxide causes respiratory illness, heart disease, visibility impairment, acid rain, plant and water damage, and aesthetic damage. Nitrogen oxide causes smog, water quality deterioration, visibility impairment, global warming, acid rain, respiratory irritation, ground-level ozone, and toxic chemicals.
Lead causes brain damage, heart disease, and animal and plant damage. Carbon monoxide causes chest pain, vision problems, inability to work or learn, nervous system death, and buildup of smog. Ground-level ozone is made by chemicals (VOC and NOX), heat, and sunlight. During the summer, there is a lot more heat available than during the winter. Since heat and sunlight are needed to make ground-level ozone, the highest amount of ground-level ozone would take place in the summer. Lead is also becoming another issue in gasoline. In third-world countries, the presence of lead will affect not only us as humans but also other living organisms.
It affects human health in many ways, including damaged organs, damaged nervous system, and heart disease. The other living organisms that irritate plants and animal life. Animals experience the same effects as humans, and for plants, lead slows the growth of vegetation. Governments are concerned with the safety of our huge population, and they don’t want a gasoline accident to occur. The mid-section of North Carolina (Greensboro and Charlotte) exceeds the standards of the Clean Air Act, while most of the rest of North Carolina doesn’t reach the standard.
- “Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution” by Beth Gardiner
- “The Air We Breathe: A Natural History of Air” by Andrea Barrett and David S. Rotenstein
- “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy” by Anna Clark