Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Quality of Air We Breathe

Accordingly, air pollution in the U.S. stems not only from the pollution originating from the country’s sources of air pollutants but also includes air borne pollution coming from global sources. Hence, tracking which source is the greatest contributor to air pollution, presents difficulties. The air moves along with the pollutants thus, the levels of pollution will differ from one place and one moment to another.   

This being considered, it would be best to place greater concentration on the sources of air pollutants in general. The most powerful emitters of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are the power plants, cars and trucks, and industrial smoke stacks. Most of the pollutants travel while in the air and eventually forms the acid rain that we now know of. As soon as they precipitate, it rises in the form of rain or snowfall and goes back to the ground.

The major sources of mercury pollution are the coal-fueled power plants and industrial waste incinerators. All these sources include carbon dioxide in their emission hence; it remains the most inexhaustible of all the greenhouse gasses that has continued to damage the Earth’s atmosphere.

The American Lung Association’s listings of the most air polluted state are based on the number of hospital admissions within a particular area; this admissions or hospital visits pertained to treatment of patients for health problems linked to long or short-term exposure to particulate matters that pollute the air. The statistics included deaths aggravated by the said type of air pollution. Hence, the state with the most number of health cases linked to air pollution reported, qualifies as the area with the highest level of pollution.

In the U.S., the consensus is that, California still holds the title of being the state with the highest level of air pollution. In fact, four of California’s metropolis, San Bernardino, Riverside, Bakersfield, and Fresno lead the pack of California’s collective cities and counties listed in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report as of 2006. Liberty, Pittsburgh comes in next as the first area outside of California to have the highest level of air pollution while Dearborn, Michigan holds the title to being the second area outside of California to have high level of air contaminants. 

Certain political views blamed the Bush administration for the worsening of the air pollution in some state. Certain changes in the enforcement of policies to ensure air quality involved relaxing inspection requirements. Under the relaxed rule, states are required to inspect pollution sources only once in every five years, in spite of the presence of factories that were previously monitored to have given off tons of harmful pollutants during the past years.

America’s children are reportedly paying the price for this disregard in ensuring clean air in our environment. Asthma has become prevalent   and now a major health issue since medical statistics shows asthma as the leading cause of children’s hospitalization during the past years. Parents are now faced with the dilemma of forcing their kids to stay indoors.

However, indoor air pollution is another issue.

Read a related article about Air Pollution in the U.S.  

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