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Air Pollution

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Air Pollution due to Transportation

Recently there has been a great emphasis in the media on pollution. In general, it seems that governments and citizens are becoming more aware of the impacts of pollution worldwide. One of the most significant forms of pollution is air pollution. Air pollution is a major concern. Transportation is the 3rd major contributor to air pollution. Air pollution caused by cars and airplanes do a lot more damage to the world than most people are aware of. Education is the key to bringing about change to the air quality of our generation.

A. Scientific background

Air pollution consists of many types. Smog, acid rain, ozone layer, and the green house effect destruction all cause serious problems for people and the environment. Smog and acid rain are caused by the release of noxious gases, like carbon monoxide. The ozone layer is being destroyed by another form of air pollution, Chlorofluorocarbons, even though these were band in 1995 people now use hydro chlorofluorocarbons, which destroy the ozone more slowly (maybe take this out?). Burning fossil fuels cause another type of air pollution that releases very small particles into the air.

The three main forms of fossil fuels are natural gas, coal, and oil. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form, and are made by layers of organic matter made into sediments over time. Eighty percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels (, 2/2/07). Crude oil is a dark sticky liquid made from hydrogen and carbon. Oil wells are used to dig deep into the earth’s crust to get the oil. “Oil provides about 40 percent of the energy Americans consume and 97 percent of U.S transportation fuels.” (, 2/2/07).

B. Impacts

One of the major damages fossil fuels cause that is due to its combustion. When fossil fuels are burned, like when we drive a car, the gasses that it gives off are contributing to air pollution. These gasses are: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons. Caron monoxide is a toxic gas that can cause respiratory problems. If breathed in, it can accumulate in the lungs making it harder to breathe or causing heart problems, or even death. Nitrogen oxides also cause lung problems, like bronchitis and pneumonia, and also are responsible for smog in the air. Sulfur oxides that mix with water vapor in clouds to make acid rain. When the acid builds up it can make areas of land unlivable for plants and animals. Hydrocarbons also make smog. (, 2/05/07)

Not only does burning of fossil fuels from transportation cause air pollution that results in respiratory problems for people, but this air pollution also increases the global temperature. Global warming is a serious problem in the world today. The “Greenhouse Effect” is when the Earths temperature rises, and certain gasses in the atmosphere and trap energy from the sun. Since the earth is getting hotter, more people are dying, and were using more electricity for air conditioning.

Car Statistics

Cars are the largest contributor to pollution in the world (site and date). Fossil fuels combustion, as it occurs in motor vehicles, has been identified as the largest contributor to air pollution in the world. Bay area is 51% of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere comes from transportation.

Plane Statistics

Airplanes contribute to air pollution as well. Airplanes give off black carbon, sulfate, and many more air polluting substances



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