Declining Air Quality

Declining Air Quality
The declining air quality can be held responsible for many things such as city smog and the greenhouse effect. Such problems are very definite in America since they are one of the top air?pollutant?creating countries in the world. The original list of air pollutants created by US industries was made up of arsenic, asbestos, benzene, beryllium, coke oven emissions, mercury, radionuclides (radioactive isotopes), and vinyl chloride. In the 1990?s this list was expanded to include 189 substances, and by the end of the 1990?s regulations were put in place for the ?major sources?, which require the emission of no more than ten tons of any of these substances and no more than twenty five tons of any combination of them per year.
Air pollution that worsens the global air quality is mostly generated by the wealthier, more populated nations. America has a population of 275,372,000, making it one of the most populated countries; it is also the most powerful nation in the world. As a result almost every household in the United States own a car or two. Cars are major contributors to the ozone hole and when almost every household in one of the most populated countries in the world own one, the level of air pollution emitted would be paramount. As a result, many of the major cites in the US such as New York, Miami and Los Angeles have very bad smog that reduce visibility and increase health risks. In Los Angeles, for example, the smog causes eye and chest irritations for residents and exacerbates asthma. Attempts have been made to clear the smog, but no reasonable success has been achieved. There have been measures taken to stop the problem from getting noticeably worse, but it is not a long term option.

The smog in LA is caused fundamentally by the Californian sun. The heat of the sun creates a layer of warm air that acts as a seal, trapping the cold air in the basin of the Los Angeles harbour. This effect traps all of the industrial pollution and the car exhaust above the city. The millions that live there are all exposed daily to harmful levels of carbon monoxide. It is not yet known what the long term effects of this will be.

Due to this hazard to human health the Los Angeles authorities have been urged to cut down on pollution, which means burning fossil fuels more completely and restricting the industries, all at the cost of millions of dollars. To the citizens, they have not done this satisfactorily. So they keep campaigning, but the government still cannot meet their standards. This develops into an endless loop that generates anger at the government, but the government is already doing its best to cut down on the pollution.

Map of Los Angeles, region over Los Angeles Country high in ozone, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. Ozone and nitrogen oxide invades the lungs and makes breathing difficult and irritating while carbon monoxide reduces blood oxygen levels and is lethal in large amounts.

The long term solutions the government is offering are all too far away from the present. For example, one of these solutions is to replace most, if not all, fossil fuel burning power plants with solar generators. The problem with this is that the best, most expensive of our solar power generating technology can only capture twenty five percent of the sun?s energy. Not only is this not nearly enough to support a city like Los Angeles, it is far too expensive. The government would have to replace the conventional generators slowly because of the lack of funds, and even after they have finished the replacements the maintenance cost of the solar panels would bring the government to bankruptcy. At the moment all the government can do is prevent the problem from getting worse. This is no easy job within itself. The government would have to set emission levels that the major industries could follow without deterring much of their production. The pollution in the air does escape eventually, so setting the right restrictions would balance the amount of pollution released into the air with the amount escaping. However, if the government does not want to slow the production of the industries, the balance would be very delicate. So the pollution levels would still build, just at a slower pace.

Los Angeles is not the only city with such problems. Other cities such as Beijing and Tokyo also have accumulated smog. However, we just do not have a long term solution to the smog yet, so we must wait for the technology to advance until we can clear the smog.

Part B: My Personal Response

As a Global citizen I feel that this issue has not gotten the attention it deserves from the world. If we keep up our level of emissions of harmful gasses it will grow to become a bigger killer than smoking. The mere fact that some countries have refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol is a red alert signal that our awareness of this issue, as a whole world, is far from enough. Frankly, I am afraid that the amount of materialism that makes up our modern society will someday be the end of us. If people can still think of making money when the future of not just our species, but every single creature on the face of the planet is at stake.

In Los Angeles, the government is setting the restrictions as high as possible so the industries can still provide them with the stream of finances they so crave. What is frightening here is that millions of people in that city are suffering from deterioration of their lungs from the smog. The haze of industrial waste that hangs over the city could be killing every resident slowly, yet we don?t know because the government has not bothered to fund a research program, they have not even tried to provide the citizens with minimal relief from the poisoned air.

I feel that every person in the world should do something to save our planet from a bleak future. We should use refrigerators that emit no greenhouse gases, install solar hot water systems and drive electric or hybrid cars, if we must drive at all. If every human being on this planet did one of these things much of our current problems would be solved. This is what being a responsible Global Citizen is about.

Declining Air Quality 8.7 of 10 on the basis of 3645 Review.