Air pollution is a global issue that requires international collaborating and cooperating. Statistics reveal that human activities produce a tremendous amount of contaminating substances. These processes also cause climate change and global warming. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the video that describes the issues of air quality and climate change and discuss these problems to highlight the main aspects.
The Quality of the Air
Our atmosphere is composed of various gases like nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, and others. However, nitrogen and oxygen make up most of the air. The air quality has a significant impact on people’s health as the average person breathes in over 3000 gallons of air per day. Approximately a quarter of the US’s population resides in areas that do not meet environmental requirements. Different chronic diseases are caused by low-quality air. Some of them are asthma, lung diseases, and cancer. In addition, air pollution contributes to high death rates. It also affects the environment, causing acid rains and climate change.
One of the essential gases is nitrogen as it is necessary for crops to grow. However, nitrogen fertilizers that are widely used in the farm industry contaminate the environment. Oxygen is needed by all plants, animals, and humans. During respiration, it is converted to carbon dioxide that is used by plants for photosynthesis. Another important component of our atmosphere is ozone. Our planet has the ozone layer that protects the Earth from UV rays. However, there are many ozone holes caused by the use of CFC’s and refrigerants. Due to these ozone holes, the level of radiation in the atmosphere has increased. There is a technological solution to this issue. New types of gases that do not affect the ozone layer have been invented and are widely used instead of CFC’s and other refrigerants.
There are six criteria pollutants defined by EPA. These are sulfur dioxide, NOX, methane, lead, ozone, and particulate matter. The main sources of these contaminators are factories, electric utilities, power plants, and automobiles. The effect of thermal inversion causes forming a dense cool layer of air near the earth with warmer air above that catches pollutants. Thermal inversion traps mass of smog, pollution, and dirty city air.
Another important aspect is the greenhouse effect. It is a natural process in which some of the sun’s energy reaches the earth’s surface. It regulates the temperature, making our planet livable. However, greenhouse gases emitted by people’s activities increase the greenhouse effect that causes global climate change. This is manifested in the rise in sea level, flooding on coastlines, and the spread of diseases.
There are many laws that regulate the level of air pollution in the US. The Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, the Clean Air Act of 1963, the Motor Vehicle Pollution act of 1965, and other normative acts were established to set the standards of air quality. Due to these acts, the emission of mentioned above pollutants decreased by 60%.
Some changes relating to improving air quality were made on a federal level as well. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations issued several acts that regulate the operating of power plants and motor vehicles. However, some programs failed to comply with international standards.
Air quality is a prominent issue and certain measures are to be taken. Socioeconomic changes made automobiles highly affordable. The number of cars on the road has dramatically increased, and now automobiles are the greatest polluter. Therefore, it has become necessary to switch the entire transportation regime. However, there are other important pollution reduction strategies like voluntary actions by industries and open burning laws. Hence, it is necessary to make more efforts to implement such methods throughout the world.