March 17, 2013
Air and Water Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of harmful contaminants released into the environment (Green student, 2013). Air and water pollution can cause numerous health issues in society ranging from respiratory problems to cancer. It not only effects humans it also impacts every organism on the planet. Pollution can reduce the overall productivity of crops, which when combines with other environmental stressors, such as drought can cause plants to decline or die (Berg & Hager, 2009). Pollution affects animals and plant life, earth’s lakes, and other water sources, Earth’s atmosphere, and it can cause health problems in humans. This paper will cover air and water pollution as well as discuss two specific pollutants of air and water, along with analyzing their effect on the environment.
Some air pollutants are caused by humans, such as factories, cars, and fossil fuels. Other sources of pollutants come from natural sources, such as volcanoes, fires, and pollen. There are two types of air pollutants, primary, and secondary. A primary pollutant is an air pollutant that is emitted directly from a source and retains the same chemical form (Greenfacts, 2013). Secondary pollutions are not directly emitted, but forms when other primary pollutants combine and react in the atmosphere (Greenfacts, 2013). Two of the most common types of primary pollutions are carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Air pollution comes in many forms, including liquid state, gas state, and solid state. When carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide mixes with other pollutants, they can become hazardous to society and the environment (Greenfacts, 2013).
Carbon oxides forms two well-known oxides, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide (Encyclopedia, 2013) Carbon monoxide is a very scary gas, it can hurt, or kill someone very quickly. Since this gas is odorless, colorless, and has no taste people do not even know that they are in danger. Carbon monoxide also decreases the ability for blood to transport oxygen throughout the body, thus causing tremendous headaches or loss of consciousness (Berg & Hager, 2009). Carbon dioxide is of the primary greenhouse gases that are emitted through human activities (EPA, 2012). The main source of this gas is fossil fuels that are used by automobiles and factories (EPA, 2012).
Nitrogen oxides are gases that are made up of a chemical interaction between nitrogen and oxygen when an energy source makes extreme heat (Berg & Hager, 2009). These gases can cause problems with plants and cause respiratory problems in humans, and animals. Nitrogen oxide contributes to global warming and the ongoing problems with the ozone layer. Human related sources are responsible for 96% of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere (US Convention on climate control, 2013). The three main sources are livestock manure, artificial soil fertilization, mobile, and stationary sources of fossil fuels (US Convention on climate control, 2013). Much like carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides are commonly released from manufacturing plants, and motor vehicles. The large increase of both these gases into the environment has caused an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Atmospheric concentrations of these gases have been rising over the centuries because of the industrial revolution (NOAA, 2010). Due to the uneven balance between emissions and absorption of such gases, these greenhouse gases will continue to increase in the atmosphere and with this comes a rise in temperature, which one day could be very dangerous to the world and its inhabitants.
Water pollution is defined as the any addition of harmful chemicals to any natural water resources (Dictionary.com, 2013). There are a number of water pollutants, human waste, factories, acid rain, and agriculture. Agriculture is among the leading cause of water pollution in the United States (Grace, 2013). Water