AIR POLLUTION THROUGH FOSSIL FUEL BURNING
Since the time of the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuel has been widely used to power machinery such as trains, power plants and the earliest designs of cars. Around that time frame, many developed countries have used this breakthrough to industrialize their own countries. But, despite all the advancements the Industrial Revolution has done for each of these now famous countries, they were not able to realize that they were already making serious damages to the world and only found out all about it when the disasters became worst. According to a recent study cited by O’Driscoll and Vergano (2007), the reliance on the use of fossil fuels in almost everything today is the main cause of global warming as it induces more carbon dioxide to be released in the air that then introduces change throughout the environment. The study, noted in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, denotes that even if the world would find a way to stop burning fossil fuels, the damage has long been done and can no longer go away just by eliminating the use alone . But why exactly did air pollution escalate into this problem just because humans continue to use fossil fuel to power the items and materials that makes life a little easier?
According to Casper (2009) when fossil fuels are burnt, it induces the release of CO2 that traps heat in the atmosphere and increases the world’s methane and nitrous oxide levels which also contributes to the heat increase. The black carbon or the smoke that comes out from the exhaust of cars also contributes to the heat added in the atmosphere and noted as one of the main reasons why global warming exists today.
Cars are the main source of carbon monoxide emissions and they also produce nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide, elements that also harm the atmosphere and create pollution. Nitrogen oxides form the smog seen in cities while sulfur oxides produce oxidization in the fuel. With all these components found in fossil fuels, it causes people to be under a brown cloud filled with chemicals every day even without them realizing it. Many have been diagnosed with certain respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies because of their continuous exposure to the harmful elements in the air caused by fossil fuel smoke. Although studies such as the one noted by O’Driscoll and Vergano state that the damage has already been done even if there is a way to reduce the effects of fossil fuel to the atmosphere, adding to the current situation may be prevented.
In the US Environmental Protection Agency (2008) webpage and in the National Center for Environmental Economics (2009), the establishment of the US Clean Air Act of 1963 and the amendments to the said act enabled the government to cover all types of air production from major sectors contributing to the produced by the country and create necessary systems and procedures in reducing the country’s air pollutant output. The act enabled the government to create agencies such as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards Board and the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants to maintain standards of the US government’s guidelines to control air pollutants and setting limits on the amount of chemicals to be included in major necessities that may cause air pollution in its own way.
Looking at the advantages the Act has done in combatting the problem of air pollution, it has not only reduced the death and debt toll of the federal government but it has also has helped the government re-earn its investment in the field of reducing air pollution and continuously improve the campaign against air pollution. The government has also created special departments such as the US Office of Transportation and Air Quality that monitors air pollution from cars and encourages the use of other modes of transportation to reduce emissions. ,
Casper, J. (2009). Fossil Fuels and Pollution: The Future of Air Quality. New York: Infobase Publishing.
National Center for Environmental Economics. (2009, May 28). The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act 1990 to 2010: EPA Report to Congress. Retrieved from http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eerm.nsf/vwRepNumLookup/EE-0295A?OpenDocument
O'Driscoll, P., & Vergano, D. (2007, March 1). Fossil fuels are to blame, world scientist conclude. USA Today. Retrieved from www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2007-01-30-ipcc-report_x.htm
United States Environment Protection Agency. (2008, December 19). US Clean Air Act. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/oar/caa/title1.html