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Air and Water Pollution

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Air and Water Pollutions
Andrew Binder
ENV/100
March 17th, 2014
Barbara Plourde

Air and Water Pollutions
Skin rashes, eye and throat irritation, emphysema, typhoid fever, and cancer are a few health issues that have been connected to water and air pollution. Pollution is defined as the releasing of harmful products or substances into the environment (Webster Dictionary, 2013). Pollution causes negative changes in the environment that effect plant and animal life, sources of water, and the ozone layer. Nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide are two types of air pollutants. Pesticides and waste run- off from factories, refineries, and waste treatment facilities are two types of water pollutants.
Primary and Secondary Air Pollutants
There are two types of air pollutants primary and secondary. Gas and other hydrocarbon fuels in combustible engines produce primary pollutants like nitrogen oxide (Pearson- Education, 2014). When there is sunlight, nitrogen oxide combines with hydrocarbons. When they combine they form secondary pollutants, (Pearson- Education, 2014). Nitrogen oxide also reacts to oxygen to form a secondary pollutant called nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide colors the air and blends with other chemicals and atmospheric water vapors to create smog. Primary air pollutants enter the atmosphere directly through natural processes or human activities (Berg & Hager, 2009). Nitrogen oxide enters directly into the atmosphere from combustible engines it is considered a primary pollutant. Nitrogen dioxide is considered a secondary pollutant because it is formed when a primary pollutant such as nitrogen oxide react to other chemicals or natural components in the atmosphere (Berg & Hager, 2009).
Air Pollutions Effect on Layers in the Atmosphere The two levels of the atmosphere most affected by pollutants is the troposphere and the stratosphere (Carnegie Mellon University, 2003). The troposphere is the layer closest to the earth’s surface. The troposphere’s constant motion can have both positive and negative effects on society. The troposphere helps dilute pollutants which help to reduce the impact locally. On the other hand, when it disperses the pollutant it moves the pollutant to areas of lower pollution. The stratosphere is located just above the troposphere and is composed mostly of dry stable air. Unlike the troposphere, pollutants do not disperse in the atmosphere and remain for long periods of time (Carnegie Mellon University, 2003). The atmosphere is made up of mostly of nitrogen and oxygen, with some argon (Carnegie Mellon University, 2003). There are several other types of trace gases, this means they occur in minute amounts. It is important to know the concentrations of those chemical compounds compared to human generated chemicals that can enter the atmosphere (Carnegie Mellon University, 2003). The major components are oxygen and nitrogen. Other components such as argon, CO2, NO, and O3 are produced in small amounts in natural processes (Carnegie Mellon University, 2003). Nevertheless, technological and industrial activities like automotive traffic have begun to affect the balance of circulation and radiation absorption in the troposphere. The effects can range from smog to problems such as global climate change (Carnegie Mellon University, 2003). Chlorofluorocarbons are chemicals that do not occur naturally and rise into the stratosphere and cause disruptions to the ozone layer. The amount of greenhouse gases has increased by 25% since 1850 (M. Lallinilla, 2013). Carbon dioxide is responsible for 82% of the United States greenhouse gas emissions (M. Lallinilla, 2013). Most scientists believe the greenhouse gases are responsible for climate changes and global warming. Furthermore, the combined effects of industrial activity and the increasing global temperatures can have a catastrophic impact on plant, animal, and human survival on earth (M. Lallinilla, 2013).
Sources of Water Pollution and their Effect on Water Resources and Aquatic Life There are two sources of water pollution direct and indirect sources. Direct sources include, run- offs from factories, waste management, and refineries. Indirect sources include chemicals that enter into the water supply via the ground and rain. The ground contains the excesses of fertilizers and pesticides, and industrial wastes indisposed of in the wrong manner (Rubin, 2011). Effects of water pollution on water resources and aquatic life include poisonous water and animal foods, unbalanced river and lake eco-systems that cannot sustain biological diversity, and acid rain causing deforestation (Rubin, 2011). Insecticides and pesticides get into lakes and cause the fish to become high in mercury. IF consumed the high levels of mercury in the fish can cause a person to become sick and is sometimes fatal. Furthermore, contaminates from run-offs is causing dead zones in places such as the Gulf of Mexico where no animals can survive due to lack of oxygen.
Effects of Poor Water Quality on Humans and the Environment and Way's to Resolve the Problem Water pollution from pesticides causes reproductive damage in the wildlife in ecosystems (Go Green Academy, 2013). Water run-off from sewers and fertilizers is causing an increase in algae growth this causes a depletion in oxygen. With low levels of oxygen most indigenous organisms die off causing an ecological imbalance in lakes and rivers. Ingestion of contaminated water can cause minor and major health issues for humans including cancer (Go Green Academy, 2013). Eco- systems are destroyed by rising temperatures in the water, which affects coral reefs by the bleaching effect due to warmer temperatures. Furthermore, the warm water forces indigenous water species to relocate to cooler areas of water; this causes a damaging ecological shift in the affected area. There are several ideas to help reduce or eliminate water pollution. The major solution is in the hands of the citizens of the world. Everyone must do his or her part to help reduce pollution including recycling, walking, or riding a bike, being socially and environmentally conscious. Conclusion
Air and water pollution is a global problem. Nitrogen oxide is a primary air pollutant but when it mixes with other chemicals in the atmosphere it produces secondary pollutants such as Nitrogen dioxide. Water pollution comes from direct and indirect sources and can cause major ecological issues such as global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer. Both air and water pollution can cause physical harm and even death to humans and destroys animal and aquatic wildlife.

References
Berg, L. R., & Hager, M. C. (2009). Visualizing Environmental Science (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2003). Environmental Decision Making, Science, and Technology. Retrieved from http://telstar.ote.cmu.edu/environment
Go Green Academy. (2011). causes and Effects of Water Pollution. Retrieved from http://gogreenacademy.com/causes and effects of water pollution
Pearson Education. (2014). Air Pollution. Retrieved from http://www.infopleae.com/encyclopedia/science/airpollutionsources

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