Air and Water Pollution Paper
Air and water pollution occur everywhere, and there are several different types of pollutants. Much can be done to help lower or stop pollution altogether, the first step is educating everyone on pollution and its effects on the environment. The following paper will discuss a few pollutants, their sources and their effects on the environment.
Nitrogen oxides are formed when nitrogen gas, a normally inert gas, combines with oxygen under certain conditions. Nitric oxide (NO), Nitrogen dioxide (NO) and Nitrous oxide (NO) make up the nitrogen oxides. The two major sources of nitrogen oxides are fuel combustion in power plants and automobiles and processes used in chemical plants. They are primary pollutants, or pollutants that are directly injected into the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxides inhibit plant growth and they are involved in photochemical smog and acid deposition (Berg & Hager, 2009). In humans, short-term exposure at concentrations greater than 3 parts per million (ppm) can measurably decrease lung function. Concentrations less than 3 ppm can irritate lungs. Concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm cause lung irritation and measurable decreases in lung function in asthmatics. Long-term lower level exposures can destroy lung tissue, leading to emphysema (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2011).Nitrogen oxides also corrode metals and fades and deteriorates textiles. It is also associated with global warming because it is considered a greenhouse gas.
Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming because they absorb and hold infrared radiation, or heat energy, given off by the earth (Berg & Hager, 2009). The sun emits the infrared radiation and it travels to the earth. Most of this energy is absorbed by the earth, but some of it, 20 to 30 percent reflects off of the earth and into the atmosphere. The energy is then absorbed by particles in the atmosphere or leaves the atmosphere and goes into space. This is a...