AIR POLLUTION Air pollution is anything that contaminates our air or affects its composition. Polluted air can contain dust and chemicals, such as smoke from chimneys, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen monoxide. Even carbon dioxide, naturally produced through respiration, is considered a pollutant when found inexcess amounts. When the air is not clean, the entire environment is affected because both plants and animals depend on air to breathe. Breathing unclean air causes health problems, even in humans. Over long periods of time, air pollution may damage the ozone layer and affect global climate through the greenhouse effect. It is important for us to realize that pollution is not isolated. Toxins fromthe United States can travel by air currents across the oceans and harm our friends overseas, and we all share a common atmosphere. The solutions that we decide upon must be implemented on an international scale. It is not enough to prevent pollution at home; we must prevent pollution globally. Causes Air pollution can be created through many ways. Combustion, the burning of fuel, and respiration, asimilar process in animals, produces carbon dioxide and water when burned completely and cleanly. Too much carbon dioxide may contribute to the "greenhouse effect." Unfortunately, that is not the only consequence of combustion. Fuel is usually not burned cleanly or completely because it may contain impurities, other chemicals which produce dangerous pollutants, and may not be burned efficiently.Fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas, contain such impurities. Pollution such as carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and hydrocarbons are produced by polluters such as vehicles, especially in heavy city traffic, and factories. The result is smog and other atmospheric pollution. Sulfur dioxide leads to acid rain, which can spread to the water as well.Effects Air pollution can make eyes burn and cause headaches. It can make it difficult to breathe and increases the risk of lung cancer. Carbon monoxide is a toxin; it is poisonous when inhaled. Chlorofluorocarbons deplete the ozone layer, which absorbs UV radiation. This may weaken immune systems and increase the chances of skin cancer and eye diseases. The United States EPA, EnvironmentalProtection Agency, banned CFC's in aerosol sprays in 1978. Smog was a mix of smoke and fog. Now, it also includes pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Smog aggravates respiratory ailments. The primary cause of the destruction of the ozone layer is thought to be chlorofluorocarbons, found in refridgeration systems, fire extinguishers, and propellants in aerosol cans. Depletionof the ozone layer increases the area of surfaces reached by UV radiation. The National Academy of Sciences indicates that a 1 percent reduction in ozone levels would raise 10,000 more cases of skin cancer in the United States alone. A treaty drafted in Montreal, Canada, in 1987 by 42 nations would freeze CFC production at 1986 levels by the end of 1989. The "Greenhouse Effect" Carbon dioxide formsa "blanket" around the earth, trapping solar radiation and reflecting it back to Earth. This may be enough to raise the earth's temperature 2 to 6 degrees Celsius or 2.6 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit. OCEAN POLLUTION Ocean Pollution is a problem that directly affects ocean organisms and the natural balance. It indirectly affects human
health and resources. Oil spills, toxic wastes and thedumping of other materials all contribute to the broad term 'Ocean Pollution'. Because oceans cover over 70% of the surface of the earth, water sources are the perfect carriers of pollution. Thus allowing for pollution to spread rapidly and to go all over the world via inter-connected seas. Oil Pollution: Oil pollution is one of the highest publicized forms of Ocean Pollution. The majority of oil...